How to choose the best channel for WiFi networks

How to choose the best channel for WiFi networks

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How to choose the best channel for WiFi networks can be tricky. When deploying a wireless network, Network Engineers need to select the right channel to improve WiFi coverage and performance significantly. 

WiFi instability and signal interruptions are very often tied to the choice of the channel applied. Issues like reduced range or sudden drops in transfer speed are the mainstream problems of any high-density WiFi deployment. This, of course, might depend on the wireless environment in which a new network is deployed. 

Therefore, before designing and implementing WiFi networks, it’s essential to ensure that the impact between a network previously deployed and converging WLANs is minimized 

To prevent all these issues with your networks, when planning for the right channel, we suggest taking into account two key factors: IP and Channel plan.

What is the IP Plan, and how does it work?

An IP plan is a document developed by Network Engineers to show how IP addresses will be distributed among network devices based on network design to support the required services.

The IP plan allows you to:

  • Determine the number of IP addresses required to provide the specified services to customers.
  • Maintain reachability between the different network segments.
  • Facilitate future expansion and modification of the network.

 

The first aspect to check concerns the presence of IP conflicts. IP conflicts occur when two or more networking devices have the same IP address (layer 3) and can communicate within the same WLAN (layer 2). Thus, the sender doesn’t know who should deliver the specific IP packet due to the conflict. It is like if two units claim to be the receiver of the specific package, and there is no way to know who will be chosen.

Therefore, it’s crucial to know the WLAN’s design, how it’s partitioned into collision domains, and how many NAT levels are cascaded. The typical situation in an environment where a DSL router is installed is that such router has a WAN port with a public IP, dynamically provided by the ISP. An IP class is shared among all LAN ports, such as 192.168.1.1/24. It means clients connecting to the LAN ports will receive an IP address between 192.168.1.2 and 192.168.1.254.

In these cases, it is best to leave the added AP configured to work in DHCP mode (with dynamic IP), which means it will receive an IP address in that range, behaving precisely like other clients.

To know the exact IP addresses assigned to WiFi clients, you can check the DHCP Lease Table, available in the DSL router configuration tool.

If your DSL router has a WiFi interface, the same criteria must be applied, as the SSID is usually connected to the LAN ports and shares the same DHCP range. If you need to assign a static IP to the added AP, it’s important to check the DHCP range of the DHCP server built into the DSL router.

This operation is usually accomplished by logging into the web interface or DSL router configuration tool.

The static IP assigned to the new AP connected to one of the router LAN ports must not be included in the DHCP RANGE; otherwise, an IP conflict is likely to occur between the AP and a network client receiving that IP from the DHCP server.

The Channel Plan to reduce interference

A proper design and deployment of a wireless network must include a channel plan, pivotal for high-performance WLANs.

Whether you are using a static channel plan or a dynamic channel assignment, there are a few things to consider beyond choosing the best channel for that network. One of the most important is deciding the correct channel width to use.

The IEEE 802.11 standard defines wireless networks’ operation in the frequency ranges of 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz. (Learn more here https://www.tanaza.com/blog/5ghz-vs-2-4ghz/).

WiFi channels are the smaller bands within each WiFi frequency band. The 2.4 GHz band is divided into 14 channels (1-14), according to the standard and depending on the availability of each country’s regulations. Each channel could be up to 40 MHz wide. The two frequencies combined allow for channel width from 20MHz to 160MHz. Although, there are 14 channels available in 2.4GHz, and only 3 of them don’t “overlap” or interfere with each other: 1, 6, and 11. 

However, channels 2-5 interfere with 1 and 6, while 7-10 interfere with 6 and 11.

For instance, when a station (access point, or client device) needs to  transmit something, it must wait for the channel to be free. Therefore, only one device can send data at a time. When overlapping channels (2-5, 7-10 at 2.4 GHz) are in use, any station on those channels will transmit regardless of what is happening on the other channels, causing performance downgrade. This type of interference is described as Adjacent Channel Interference (ACI).

A Co-Channel Interference (CCI), on the contrary, occurs when two or more APs in the same area operate on the same channel. This essentially turns both cells (the coverage areas for an AP) into one large cell. Any device that has something to transmit must wait for the other devices associated with the same AP. But also wait for all the devices related to the other APs on the same channel. 

Indeed, CCI will also reduce performance even if not as severe as ACI. The reason behind this behavior is that multiple devices are attempting to access wireless media on the same channel, forcing stations to wait longer before they can transmit.

Due to the limited amount of available spectrum, it’s safer to use only non-overlapping 20 MHz channels, although the possibility to use 40 MHz was added in 802.11n.

In the 5GHz band, there is much more spectrum available. Each channel occupies its non-overlapping slice at 20MHz. As with the 2.4, 802.11n gave us the ability to use 40 MHz channels. From there, 802.11ac now allows 80 MHz and even 160 MHz wide channels. These wide channels are created by joining 20 MHz channels together, using the center frequency to indicate the channel.

So why not set your APs to the widest channel available?

Let’s assume we have decided to use 80 MHz channels for our deployment. We just went from 9 non-overlapping channels to 2. This means that half of the APs we have implemented will occupy the same part of the spectrum. Now, for APs on opposite ends of the facility that can’t communicate with each other too loudly, this isn’t a big issue. 

The situation changes for the APs close to each other. These APs and any associated devices become part of the same cell, slowing everything down. All devices must then wait their turn to access the network.

The best way to accomplish this is to have as many channels as possible to distribute. Even though a 20 MHz channel doesn’t achieve the higher data rates shown on 80 MHz, users can still achieve acceptable speeds.

For most enterprise-grade deployments with many APs, choosing narrow channels will give the spatial reuse you need for your WLAN to perform at its best and improve the user experience. However, the best practice is to do a quick survey and check which channels are already in use on-site to choose the right channel for your network. There are many free tools for Windows, Mac, Linux, to do this kind of process.

For example: in a venue with a WiFi DSL router in place, the site survey might provide the following result:

– SSID A / location 1 / channel 1 / power 4/5
– SSID B / location 2/ channel 11 / power 3/5
– SSID C / location 2 / channel 9 / power 5/5

In such a situation, the best channel to use is 6, which does not overlap with neighboring SSIDs. If possible, we suggest to turn off the WiFi of the DSL of the venue where the AP is being added and remove unnecessary interference. If this SSID is active, it should be considered as a source of interference.

For instance, Tanaza allows the band selection with which you can decide whether to transmit the SSID only at one frequency or whether on both frequencies (only 2.4Ghz, 5Ghz, or dual-band).

In the Tanaza platform, radio selection is automatically set to ‘standard channel selection’. However the user can edit it manually, allowing the individual radios to be turned off.

As the interference sources can change over time, it is recommended to use remote channel management tools to change the channel when needed. The Tanaza dashboard includes a tool to easily change the channel automatically.

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Cloud WiFi Management Software for Enterprise

5GHz vs 2.4GHz – What is the best WiFi frequency for business?

https://www.tanaza.com/blog/how-to-optimize-wifi-network-infrastructure/

How to optimize WiFi network infrastructure

How to Optimize your WiFi Network Infrastructure


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Network Administrators need to adequate the WiFi network infrastructure deployments in terms of coverage, capacity, and bandwidth requirements to cope with the increasing demand for connectivity.

This blog post will delve into the main 6 steps network administrators should undergo to design and implement future-proof, scalable, and reliable networks to effectively fulfill the data traffic demand.

1. Define the number of access points needed

As a first step, network administrators should evaluate how many and what type of access points they need for the infrastructure they are going to implement. Whether it is small or large scale, indoor or outdoor deployments. 

First of all, you need to understand all the network requirements to provide a suitable design to avoid further site analysis and use additional access points after the WiFi infrastructure is deployed.

It is paramount to consider:
– what kind of applications will be handled in the network
– what technologies WiFi infrastructure will you support
– the number of devices that will connect to the WiFi network simultaneously
– where are the most relevant areas on the site that need WiFi coverage

Finally, consider power constraints: if you use PoE+, you are allowed to support higher performing access points.

If you want to calculate the number of access points for network deployments, please read our article Network Capacity Planning – Wireless Capacity vs. Coverage.

Tanaza supports a wide range of indoor and outdoor multi-vendor devices, and it has its cloud-managed line of Tanaza Powered Devices. You have the flexibility of choosing the most suitable brand of access points for your network deployments.

2. Control the WiFi network using a survey test

The second step is beneficial to assess your network’s environment by running a WiFi survey test. This will help you to provide a robust and reliable WiFi experience. For instance, multiple access points in the same area – i.e., surrounding buildings- might be using the same channel or an overlapping channel in the 2.4GhZ band, which might lower your WiFi network’s propagation signal while generating interference. 

Furthermore, physical obstacles like trees, water, reflecting surfaces, building materials, or devices, like garage door openers, microwave ovens, cordless phones, and Bluetooth devices, are potential sources of interference that can negatively affect the WiFi network performance. By relying on the right network stumbler or survey tool with the capability of detecting coverage and capacity, you will be able to identify such interferences, solve these issues pretty quickly, and, accordingly, determine the best place where to deploy your access points. Also, knowing where your signals are and the adjacent APs is core to running your network secure and reliable.

Finding why your APs are performing badly can have the same effect as changing a channel or removing an object that produces interference.

The WiFi site survey is a fundamental component of the planning and design process before installing a new wireless network. However, it can also be used to check and improve existing infrastructures. Here are just some of the advantages of having a WiFi site survey:

  • Identify and overcome potential issues before the installation rather than restore the equipment later on.
  • Designing a made-to-measure network system is helpful to meet the specific WiFi needs of the business.
  • Save time and money by avoiding bad choices that could have otherwise been made through a lack of important info.
  • Choose the most efficient WiFi equipment for the size of the design.
  • Give businesses the security that the option selected for the network’s plan has been the best to maintain a more reliable wireless network and expand performance levels.

Those types of tools will allow you to examine and analyze your WiFi networks to better plan, troubleshoot, and deploy them.

3. Monitor the WiFi network infrastructure

It is essential to monitor networks and intervene in disconnections or troubleshooting the access points to keep an optimal and well-performing WiFi infrastructure. You should regularly monitor your WiFi network infrastructure to rely on the predictable performance, especially when dealing with high-density environments. One of WLAN deployments’ main issues is uncontrolled bandwidth usage, causing congestion and connectivity problems.

Usually, there should be a setup of bandwidth limits in any deployment location, so there’s a constraint on the data’s flow. For this reason, multiple devices allocated in a single area must share the bandwidth. Some devices request more bandwidth than others. That’s why greater bandwidth is necessary if proper speed must be maintained on different devices.

Tanaza, for instance, features an easy-to-use remote monitoring tool that effectively monitors bandwidth, by constantly checking upload and download speed, bandwidth utilization, and the devices’ load percentage. 

In order to limit the bandwidth usage, Tanaza allows you to set up a maximum number of concurrent clients per SSID and the maximum bandwidth per SSID. Furthermore, our network monitoring software remotely checks the real-time status of your devices from a centralized dashboard and sends automatic and customizable alerts if it detects outages within your network. Furthermore, Tanaza’s platform guarantees high security and reliability levels by separating the encrypted management traffic and the client traffic on different networks.

If you want to know more about measuring bandwidth requirements, read this article: How to monitor bandwidth in WiFi Networks.

4. Enhance your WiFi infrastructure’s security

Network operators should make sure that guest users can easily access WiFi networks. WiFi infrastructures must let users easily authenticate to connect to a network’s SSIDs, but, at the same time, instantly block unauthorized users trying to access the network’s management system. 

Different tools can help to prevent a WiFi network from malicious attacks.

The Internet is an environment that is easily exposed. To ensure greater network security, it is necessary to protect the Internet environment with the right encryption mechanisms. Therefore, creating a granular policy to ensure that users are protected from malicious and untrustworthy websites becomes essential in designing networks within high-density environments.

Web content filtering allows you to configure a content filtering system throughout the network to ensure users’ safe browsing. Thanks to this tool, businesses can block inappropriate websites’ navigation, for example, pornographic content, betting sites, and malware sites.

Identifying and implementing an easy-to-use authentication and encryption strategy will make your network more secure.

Operators can set up “user authentication” to control users’ access to the network. 

Captive portals are often used for open wireless networks when authentication, payment, or acceptance of a license agreement or user policy is required. 

A captive portal may be the right solution to control and manage broadband Internet access resources on the network facility. Also, paired with a Walled Garden, which can direct users’ navigation paths within particular areas to allow and/or prevent access to specific contents –typically used to restrict Internet access. 

Tanaza features a built-in responsive and easy to set up splash page, allowing guest users to authenticate in seconds. You can access SSIDs with password encryption even in the presence of a captive portal. An access point can have from 1 to 8 SSIDs, and each one lands on a web page of your choosing, allowing you to view different splash pages to guarantee a different experience according to the needs of your business.

Tanaza gives the possibility to create a personalized Walled Garden to reach any domain you want. Suppose you select a list of websites that users can visit even without providing their personal data. In that case, Internet browsing is limited to a fixed number of pages, allowing everyone to access basic services without authentication.

5. Opt for a scalable network capacity

Many people expect to connect simultaneously to the same network in a dense wireless environment. So, it is important to design a flexible WiFi infrastructure to deploy the necessary capacity when needed.

A scalable solution is an answer to meet the higher user-density demand. It will allow you to manage a given number of access points and later upgrade them when WiFi users’ density and the related data traffic increase. In this way, your WiFi network infrastructure can effectively handle an unlimited number of connected clients.

Remember that most access points support the latest technologies and maximum data rates defined as per the standards. However, the average access points’ throughput available is usually driven by other aspects like client device capabilities, concurrent users per access point, type of technologies to be supported, and bandwidth.

Most of all, client device capabilities can affect throughput as client devices supporting only standard technologies will have lower throughput than a client device supporting newer ones.

When assessing client device throughput requirements, you can run a survey on client devices to determine their wireless capabilities. In that survey, you should identify the supported wireless bands of those devices (e.g., 2.4 GHz vs. 5 GHz). Also, check on the supported wireless standards (802.11a/b/g/n/ac) and the number of spatial streams each device supports.

To ensure the quality of WiFi experience in a high-density environment:

  • Make sure to have around 25 client devices per radio or 50 client devices per AP. 
  • Better having a channel width of 20 MHz to reduce the number of access points using the same channel.
  • Client devices do not always support the fastest data rates. Therefore, based on the manufacturer’s advertised data rate, estimate the client device’s wireless throughput capability. A common practice is to consider about half of the data rate. Based on that value, reduce further the throughput by 30% for a 20 MHz channel width.

For instance, Tanaza benefits from unlimited scalability as it helps you manage from a few to thousands of access points, so you can scale networks when you need it. Therefore, it’s easier and faster for businesses to deploy WiFi networks.

Learn more about planning networks for capacity.

6. Improve your network’s frequency spectrum efficiency

As WiFi is becoming more and more congested, it is essential to maximize the limited WiFi radio frequency spectrum used to provide your deployment with the right network reliability. You can add more access points to handle the increased data traffic across a channel, or you can operate not only the 2.4GHz band but also the 5GHz band. 

There are different factors to consider that can help you choose the best frequency, depending on the network’s needs: interference and congestion.

Interference can slow down a network considerably, reduce its scope, and create congestion in the network. When multiple devices operate on the same frequency, there is usually interference that can affect the signal and reduce the connection speed. For this scenario, 2.4GHz is more convenient if you need to provide a better scope on your devices, have many walls or other objects where you need coverage.

Instead, the 5GHz band’s shorter waves make it less capable of going through walls and solid objects. In general, 5GHz WiFi frequency experiences fewer interferences from other devices than WiFi connections using 2.4GHz. 

Therefore, if your WiFi network is located where there are many interferences from other devices, it will slow down your connection; thus, we would suggest steering your devices to the 5GHz frequency. If you install high-density deployments or locations with a high possibility of interference, choose dual-band devices or 5GHz devices, like the DCN WL8200-I2, DCN WL8200-I3, Comfast CF-WA350, all supported by Tanaza.

For example, Tanaza features an automatic channel selection tool that’s very useful when it comes to overlapping channels. Set the channel as “automatic,” and the system will consequently find and assign the best channel to your device each time it reboots.

Read more about selecting the right channel to avoid interferences in this blog post: 5GHz vs. 2.4GHz – What is the best WiFi frequency?

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Related articles:

 

Cloud WiFi Management Software for Enterprise

5GHz vs 2.4GHz – What is the best WiFi frequency for business?

https://www.tanaza.com/blog/how-to-monitor-bandwidth/

Reduce Operating Costs of Wi-Fi Networks

How to reduce operating costs with remote WiFi Network Management


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Wireless is evolving, accelerated by IoT devices, more connections, and more bandwidth-hungry applications. Future WiFi networks will need more wireless capacity and reliability as the IoT marketplace is changing rapidly. This, however, puts a lot of pressure on the network’s infrastructure, and Service Providers need to find the best solution to cope with the demand while keeping network deployments costs down. 

Managing such a complex ecosystem can be stressful and confusing when too much time and money is wasted on daily tasks. Networks are expensive, and just a few businesses can operate without them. However, even if networks are essential for business operations, the money invested in them is always seen as a sunk cost.

Many companies believe that the initial investment of network deployments ends at the time of purchase. Most people do not consider that the initial investment is only a small percentage of the costs they will have to face for use and maintenance.

Gartner, Inc. shows that only 20% of the total expenditure is reflected in the purchase of hardware, software, operations, and administration costs. In contrast, the remaining 80% is invested in what is defined as indirect costs, e.g., end-user operations like technical support or maintenance costs. Thus, the price of WiFi networks goes above and beyond the initial investment.

Five ways to reduce the operational costs of WiFi networks

1. The cost of vendor lock-in

One of the most significant barriers that MSPs and Solution Providers can face when deploying networks is the equipment’s high cost. Some solutions require specific tools in terms of hardware (brand/model), which can represent an essential cost if you need to change the hardware at some point.

Choosing closed software and hardware technologies can lead to huge OpEx, which might increase CapEx very quickly. Nonetheless, the movement of Open-Source is gaining momentum in the networking space. Enterprises are moving towards software-defined networks developed on open-standards.

This means that organizations are not locked into a single vendor when purchasing networking equipment, which can be a substantial cost-saver factor.

The more complex networks become, the more they cost to operate and maintain. A multi-vendor software can solve these difficulties because it lets you choose to work with different brands and models, including your WiFi devices.

2. On-premises system-based

Another obstacle to the growth of MSPs could be the up-front cost of the on-premises infrastructure maintenance to keep the networks up-and-running. Instead, with a software-as-a-service approach, users can easily manage networks remotely, scale businesses, and pay only for the services used. 

In this way, users can reduce not only up-front costs and maintenance costs but also CapEx by adopting a “pay-as-you-go” subscription approach.

3. Overlooked hidden costs

As mentioned above, the subscription model can replace CapEx expenses with a budget-friendly pay-as-you-go approach. This model can have many advantages and could fit your enterprises’ needs. But, its impact over time must be correctly estimated. 

Like ordinary maintenance, these costs should be previewed into a long-term analysis that compares both the purchase and subscription model’s real costs for any network investment you are planning.

Vendor’s bundling packages during the sales process also deserve a review. In a full package, users theoretically can rely on enhanced value through added features and multiple components, which is fine if the bundle package has everything. If not, the likelihood of paying for not used features is high, which will cause higher prices in the operating costs.

4. Total cost of ownership

TCO – the total cost of using and maintaining an IT investment over time – is often ignored and unbudgeted, presenting an inaccurate spending analysis. TCO in WiFi networking considers the initial purchase costs and the additional costs that arise over time and depend on the units wasted.

Although the TCO cannot be the only element to be considered in a company’s technological choice, it still remains one of the fundamental causes of underestimating very high operating costs.

5. 24/7 Support and Monitoring

According to the Enterprise Management Associations (EMA) ‘s research, Network Engineers and Operators use numerous monitoring and troubleshooting tools in their daily activities. Managing networks implies to provide 24/7 support and to be always available for customers. 

Nevertheless, if you are an MSP that deals with many clients from multiple locations, this can be a significant costly problem. Consider the transportation costs to get to the customer’s premises to install, troubleshoot, or reboot a device or even upgrade the firmware. Therefore, no matter which WiFi management software you use, to reduce costs and time, make sure the software you choose allows you to operate and monitor the networks remotely.

Remote monitoring as a solution

We recommend relying on a management platform with remote monitoring capability to reduce WiFi networks’ operational cost. It will allow you to manage all your networks and hardware equipment fast and efficiently from one place, without going on-premises.

The WiFi remote monitoring technology allows you to instantly access your equipment and operate networks based on that information. Moreover, you have a full 24/7 overview of the networks and get notifications of any critical operational issues on the system as they occur.

Moreover, it allows you to reduce costs by centralizing your IT staff or adapting your organization to make it more efficient. Managing your WiFi infrastructure remotely gives you the opportunity and the time to focus on your projects, like improve your product and service, innovate, deliver excellent customer service, etc.

Tanaza the WiFi cloud management solution

Tanaza is a cloud-based management solution to operate WiFi networks. It allows the remote deployment, configuration, and troubleshooting of WiFi networks from an intuitive and responsive dashboard.

Tanaza works with all access points powered with TanazaOS, the Linux-based operating system for multi-vendor devices. Also, it has a well-crafted selection of Tanaza Powered Devices that come with the Tanaza software already installed to give customers a plug & play experience.

The Tanaza platform allows users to manage and control thousands of networks and organizations from one dashboard. Apply in bulk centralized network-wide configurations, limit bandwidth, stir devices to different channels, create and manage multiple SSIDs, and much more.

Tanaza gives users the freedom to use multiple brands’ access points, reducing CAPEX considerably. In this way, by reusing the existing WiFi infrastructure, Tanaza enables customers to lower the WiFi networks’ up-front investment.

Furthermore, Tanaza reduces OPEX throughout the whole life cycle of the access points, from installation to configuration and maintenance, allowing to save up to 60% in costs in 5 years. Additionally, it removes the need for physical hardware controllers installed on-premises.

Lastly, Tanaza takes care of many operations, including server maintenance, back-up, security patches, and fixes, and ensures high availability of the system for minimum downtime and productivity losses. 

Tanaza is a WiFi cloud management software suitable for indoor and outdoor deployments of medium and large scale. Test the platform and experience all the features available within Tanaza with our free interactive demo.

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Cloud WiFi Management Software for Enterprise

Cloud WiFi management software for Enterprise


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What is a cloud WiFi management software?

A cloud WiFi management software is software for WiFi professionals that allows you to manage WiFi networks remotely. Cloud-based means that the network is configured from a centralized platform accessible from the Internet.

This type of software makes it easier to monitor networks and intervene in disconnections or troubleshooting of the access points. All software updates are pushed via the cloud. The cloud management service is typically hosted in the cloud by a 3rd party as a subscription-based purchase model. Furthermore, WiFi administrators/managers can control their WiFi deployments via the cloud.

Cloud management technology is undoubtedly a full-blown reality today. People want to connect to the networks instantly, anytime, anywhere. ISPs and MSPs worldwide are now adapting and equipping themselves with this technology to provide a complete service that offers customers a good WiFi connectivity experience.

What are the options to manage a network?

Today, any company needs to manage information and data through networks while addressing the growing demand for connectivity. The way to manage networks ranges from manual configuring individual devices through a command-line interface to more sophisticated centralized management platforms that allow you to overview the whole network and configure and monitor thousands of devices.

Network administrators have different options to choose from

  1. On‐premises controller‐based WiFi architectures with built‐in the capabilities of the network equipment. This model adds further capital costs and another physical element to install and maintain. 
  2. Cloud-based/hybrid, centralized management platform deployed as a separate tool offered by the equipment vendor. Usually, this option provides a total lock-in of the network infrastructure, forcing users always to deploy the same brand of devices. Typically, users incur higher CAPEX and OPEX with this option.
  3. Cloud‐based centralized management third‐party platform. Usually, this option provides lots of flexibility as the platform is independent of the device manufacturer. It provides an over-the-top software layer that, in general, is compatible with multiple brands. This option allows users in the long term to save in CAPEX and OPEX while cherry-picking device brands and avoiding the complexities of vertical solutions that imposed locked-in.

 

How to choose the most suitable solution for your business’ network depends on the business’ characteristics. Nonetheless, good management software is essential in any organization, small or large. Besides, most of the company’s daily operations depend on reliable, secure, and performing networks.

Cloud vs. On-premises – What is the best option to manage a network?

Cloud-based centralized management is the best alternative to the on-premises controller-based WiFi models. Network administrators don’t have to deal with on-site servers. They can easily manage and access the networks via the cloud, allowing them to check the entire network’s status and operate them remotely.

In this way, organizations can provision, manage, optimize, and troubleshoot an enterprise-level network via a single dashboard over the Internet. Cloud gives IT the troubleshooting tools to react more quickly to any potential issues and prevent any network anomalies right away.

Cloud-based centralized management considerably reduces the cost and complexity of IT infrastructure management.

With a cloud-based centralized management solution, businesses can:

  • Reduce CapEx and OpEx considerably
  • Access quickly to the network’s data.
  • Increase or decrease resources and requirements according to the business needs.
  • Updates, handling, and maintenance of the software is done by the provider. New features and functionality are developed continuously and automatically delivered through the platform.
  • Back-up and recovery of data are less expensive and faster, thanks to the cloud capabilities.
  • Cloud provides a broad set of policies that can guarantee your business security.

 

Cloud-based centralized management platforms provide virtually unlimited compute and storage capacity, making it ideal for utilizing advanced technologies. The cloud service may be free, freemium, or subscription-based. Therefore, differently from the hardware controller with higher CAPEX cost, the cloud-based centralized management solution gives businesses more adaptability to their budgets. Lastly, it allows taking advantage of new technologies that might be way too expensive in terms of resources and costs.

What are the options to manage a network from the cloud?

Tanaza – an ideal partner to manage your WiFi networks from the cloud

Tanaza WiFi cloud management is the right alternative to the outdated on-premises systems and hybrid-cloud deployments. Tanaza relies its cloud platforms on the robust Amazon Web Services (AWS), guaranteeing the highest security levels available on the market while running on a powerful cloud infrastructure.

The Tanaza platform is an intuitive and responsive cloud-based WiFi management software that makes the deployment, configuration, and remote monitoring of networks a child’s play. The core technology, TanazaOS, is based on the solid and powerful Linux-based Operating System, compatible with multiple brands of WiFi access points.

The Tanaza WiFi cloud management platform offers remote provisioning, monitoring, and troubleshooting of every device. Also, network admins can manage the settings of tens, hundreds, or thousands of WiFi access points from a single cloud controller platform. Also, enable SSIDs, configure IP addresses, set radio power and channels, and more from one single dashboard. 

The platform is designed to enhance efficiency when deploying large-scale WiFi Networks. 

Network admins can set the network’s basic configurations, applied by default to all the cloud-managed access points in that network. And reconfigure access points without rebooting them or restarting the services —all from the Tanaza dashboard.

Furthermore, Tanaza provides its infrastructure as a Public Cloud Software-as-a-Service that is perfect for optimizing costs and as a Private Cloud solution for high-tier Service Providers and operators. Cloud services provide virtually unlimited compute and storage capacity, making it ideal for utilizing advanced technologies. 

Are you ready to manage your WiFi networks from the cloud?

Cloud-managed networking is rapidly growing in popularity. According to Omdia, enterprises, on average, expect to spend 36% of their IT budget on off‐premises cloud services in 2020, up from 22% in 2018. It’s time to think differently about managing your network deployments.

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5GHz vs 2.4GHz – What is the best WiFi frequency for business?

5GHz vs 2.4GHz – What is the best WiFi frequency for business?


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5ghz vs 2.4ghz - Understand the differences in 30 seconds
2.4 GHz - PROs and CONs
PROs

– Coverage: 2.4GHz offers coverage at a longer range. It covers a larger area and provides a more extended range.

– Interference: 2.4GHz is more convenient if you have many walls or other objects where you need coverage. The waves used by this frequency are better suited for longer ranges and transmission through obstacles. 

– Cost: 2.4GHz access points are cheaper than the ones supporting 5GHz.

CONs

– Speed: 2.4GHz transmits data at slower speeds, with lower data rates.

– Congestion: Users can experience higher congestion, as many devices use the 2.4GHz band. This will cause discontinued connections and slower speeds. 

– Overcrowding: 11 free radio air and channels available in the 2.4GHz band, depending on the country’s standards, less than the 23 available in 5GHz.

5 GHz - PROs and CONs
PROs

– Speed: 5GHz band sends data at faster speeds, with a higher data rate.

– Less congestion: 5GHz WiFi frequency experiences fewer interferences from other devices because fewer devices use 5GHz frequency.

– Less overcrowding: 5 GHz has more free radio air and channels, i.e., 23 working channels vs. 11 in the 2.4GHz band, depending on the country’s standards.

CONs

– Coverage: 5GHz provides a smaller coverage area.

– Interference: 5GHz band’s shorter waves make it less capable of going through walls and solid objects. This happens because, at higher frequencies, waves attenuate stronger. Hence, the signal is easily affected by multiple obstacles.

– Cost: the cost of access points supporting 5GHz is higher. This is because 5GHz is newer in the market.

5GHz vs 2.4GHz, what is the best WiFi frequency? The answer would depend on your network needs. When designing a WLAN, you might wonder about the best WiFi frequency for your network deployments. This article will help you understand when it is best to use 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz band frequency to provide a well-performing wireless experience.

5GHz vs 2.4GHz – A brief explanation about the WiFi frequency

A frequency band is how wireless data is transmitted between devices. These bands are radio waves that transfer the data, and they can be either 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz. The primary difference between 2.4 and 5GHz bands is the range (coverage) and the bandwidth (speed) that these bands provide. For instance, the 2.4GHz band offers coverage at a longer range; however, it transmits data at slower speeds. Instead, the 5GHz band gives less coverage but sends data at faster speeds.

5GHz vs 2.4GHz – How to choose the right WiFi frequency for your business?

Coverage area vs. data rate

The 2.4GHz frequency band covers a larger area and provides a more extended range than the 5GHz band, but with lower data rates. Instead, the 5GHz band provides a smaller coverage area than the 2.4 GHz band but with a higher data rate.

Speed

The GHz range that a wireless device uses does not necessarily determine the maximum speed of the WiFi. The environment in which the network will be set up is what really should be considered.

For instance, the 2.4GHz band usually supports up to 450 Mbps or 600 Mbps, depending on the device type, however as so many devices use the 2.4GHz band, the resulting congestion can cause discontinued connections and slower speeds.

Instead, the 5GHz band can bear up to 1300 Mbps. It tends to be less overcrowded than the 2.4GHz band because fewer devices use it and because it has more channels for devices to use than the 2.4GHz. The maximum speed would depend on the wireless standard the access point supports, i.e., 802.11b, 802.11g, 802.11n, or 802.11ac.

When comparing the 2.4GHz band with the 5GHz, the latter provides a lower coverage. Thus, when the frequency increases, its ability to penetrate solid objects (like walls) decreases, reason why the 5GHz band was used mostly in outdoor deployments at the beginning. But at the same time, the higher the frequency, the faster the data is transmitted. Therefore, the 5GHz band carries more data and sends it faster. Then, if your priority is to provide an excellent WiFi speed performance, your choice should lean to the 5GHz band, instead.

Interference

The other thing to check for is potential interference with the WiFi network’s frequency range. Interference can slow down a network significantly and reduce its scope as well. For instance, for the 2.4GHz band, the two most obvious sources of wireless network interference are wireless telephones and microwave ovens. Instead, for the 5GHz band, cordless phones, radars, digital satellite and perimeter sensors are the most common sources of interference.

When multiple devices operate on the same frequency, there is usually interference that can affect the signal’s characteristics at the receiving point and reduce the connection speed. Your WiFi connection on a particular frequency band can also be faster or slower because of other devices’ interference.

The waves used by the 2.4GHz band are better suited for longer ranges and transmission through walls and solid objects. Therefore, 2.4GHz is more convenient if you need to provide a better scope on your devices or have many walls or other objects where you need coverage.

On the other hand, the 5GHz band’s shorter waves make it less capable of going through walls and solid objects. This happens because of electromagnetic waves’ peculiar characteristics: at higher frequencies (5GHz), waves attenuate stronger. Hence, the signal is easily influenced by multiple obstacles like walls, floor, ceiling, doors, and others.

Overall, 5GHz WiFi frequency experiences fewer interferences from other devices than WiFi connections using 2.4GHz. Therefore, if your WiFi network is located where there are many interferences from other devices/appliances, it will slow down your connection; thus, we would suggest steering your devices to the 5GHz WiFi frequency. But, if you want to deliver more signal coverage, then use the 2.4 GHz frequency instead.

As a side note, when using the 5GHz frequency band, the client device (smartphone, tablet, laptop, or USB adapter) must support this frequency.

Congestion

When multiple devices attempt to use the same radio space, overcrowding happens. A negative connotation of the 2.4GHz band is its significant congestion driven by the high use of this band not only for WiFi but also for other devices, like garage door openers, microwave ovens, cordless phones, and Bluetooth devices.

On the other hand, the 5GHz band is not so overcrowded, and it has more free radio air and channels, i.e., 23 working channels vs. 11 in the 2.4GHz band. Consider that channel availability depends on the country in which the deployment is located, which results in higher stability and connection speed.

Cost

Finally, you should be aware that the cost of access points supporting 5GHz is higher than supporting 2.4GHz. This is because 5GHz is newer in the market. Furthermore, many 5GHz devices also support 2.4GHz radios.

A solution for 2.4GHz and 5GHz WiFi frequency

As previously said, nowadays, most modern access points support single, dual, or even triple bands. Our Tanaza Powered Devices are dual-band, which means that the access point can broadcast both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz frequency at the same time, essentially providing you with two WiFi networks and the best of both signals.

The Tanaza Powered Devices with dual-band can be:

  • Selectable dual-band. A selectable dual-band device offers a 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz WiFi network, but you can only use one at a time. With Tanaza you can ‘tell’ the access point which band should use.
  • Simultaneous dual-band. A simultaneous dual-band device broadcasts separate 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz frequency at the same time, giving you two frequencies that you can choose from when doing the network setup. With Tanaza, you can also assign the same SSID to both bands, so the access point only sees a single network, even though both bands are operating. The advantage of having both bands running simultaneously usually outweighs the cost difference.

Lastly, the tri-band access points broadcast three networks simultaneously—two 5 GHz signals and one 2.4 GHz signal. The reason for this is to avoid network congestion. If you have multiple devices that use a 5 GHz connection heavily, you might benefit from spending a bit more on a tri-band device.

Discover the Tanaza Powered Devices

Explore our curated selection of WiFi access points and enjoy a Tanaza out-of-the-box experience.
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Related articles:

How network disaggregation allows you to reduce your CAPEX OPEX costs

https://www.tanaza.com/blog/network-capacity-planning/

How to monitor bandwidth in WiFi Networks

How to monitor bandwidth in WiFi Networks


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When building a WLAN infrastructure, you need to make a precise analysis of the bandwidth requirements to balance performance and cost correctly. Bandwidth plays a fundamental role in the design and maintenance of a functional network.

In this article, we will present why it is important to consider and appropriately monitor the bandwidth requirements of the WiFi network you are going to deploy, to perform the most reliable network experience.

 

What is the bandwidth? And, the network bandwidth?

Bandwidth is the capacity of a channel to transmit data. During the transmission, the information is sent in a binary system, a language that encodes data using only two symbols (often defined as “1” and “0”, or “on” and “off”), each of which is called a bit.

The basic unit of this language, the byte, is composed of 8 bits. The bandwidth determines, therefore, the number of bytes that can be transmitted on the connection. The unit of measurement is the bits per second (bps). For example, a low definition video lasting 15 seconds, weighing 1 Megabyte, can be downloaded from an Internet site on your computer in 3-5 minutes if the connection is made via modem (56 kbps) or ISDN line (from 64 to 128 kbps). The same action takes a few seconds instead if the connection is broadband, like the one with the optical fibers (over 1000 Gbps).

Network bandwidth is the capacity of a network communications link to transmit the maximum volume of data from one point to another over a computer network or Internet connection in a given amount of time, usually one second. Bandwidth has the same meaning of capacity, and defines the data transfer rate.

Bandwidth, though, is not a measure of network speed.

As a matter of fact, the words “bandwidth” and “speed” are often misused as synonymous. The explanation of this misunderstanding can be, in part, due to their use in advertisements by ISPs that refer to speeds when they mean bandwidth. Indeed, speed refers to the rate at which data can be sent, while the definition of bandwidth is the capacity for that speed.

Why is it so important to check network bandwidth requirements before deploying a network?

Bandwidth can be compared to the volume of water that can flow through a water pipe. If the pipe is bigger, the water can flow in a massive quantity through it at one time. Bandwidth functions in the same way. So, the more bandwidth a data connection has, the more data it can send and receive at one time.

Consider that in any kind of deployment location, there are bandwidth limits. This means that there is a constraint to space for the data to flow. Therefore, multiple devices in a single area must share the bandwidth. Some devices request much more bandwidth than others. Greater bandwidth is absolutely necessary if proper speed must be maintained on different devices.

When do you need to calculate bandwidth?

Streaming, gaming, and other high usage activities demand a certain amount of bandwidth speed to get the best experience without buffering or lag. And the more bandwidth your network can deliver, the faster your devices will run.

Before you start designing your WiFi network, you should follow some steps to achieve your bandwidth goal.

1. Estimate how many devices will be connected to your WiFi network simultaneously

The majority of mid-high end wireless access points and wireless routers can have 255 devices connected at a time. Nevertheless, just because you can hypothetically connect 255 devices to a single WiFi router/access point doesn’t mean you should.
Each computer or device added to your network will degrade the bandwidth available to the other devices using the same connection. All those devices share the same wireless network and the same Internet connection from your broadband service provider. In this case, the congestion isn’t necessarily with the wireless connections. Still, it is with the amount of traffic or bandwidth that can pass through the Internet router to your broadband service provider.

Example
If you want to estimate how many concurrent devices will be connected, consider, for example, a hotel with 18 rooms for 2 people each. The hotel has 36 guests if it is fully-booked. If each guest has 1.2 devices, you have around 43 devices in total. We can assume that only 20 of 43 can be connected or generate significant traffic at the same time.

2. Calculate the application bandwidth requirement

Your bandwidth requirements also depend on the usage of the Internet your guests perform while being connected to your WiFi network. Some Internet applications, such as web browsing and instant messaging require low bandwidth, whereas other applications, such as video streaming and VoIP calls, require high-level bandwidth usage.

To implement a high-performance WLAN, network designers must consider external variables, such as the applications’ requirements in bandwidth and throughput networks.
Tanaza offers a useful way to calculate the bandwidth requirement of a network. We have created the tool “Access Point Selector” to suggest the ideal access point per location and application type. However, it’s also helpful to estimate the required bandwidth per-user connection. You can try it here.

In the image below, you can check the bandwidth needed and the throughput required for the mainstream applications, such as messaging, e-mails, social media, video calls, VoIP calls, web browsing, file sharing, and video streaming.

Network Bandwidth Need

Or if you want to go more specific, the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) provides a set of guidelines for Mbps needed based on digital activity.

Alternatively, you can measure the bandwidth requirements by usage. The chart below compares minimum download speed (Mbps) needs for light, moderate, and high household use with one, two, three, or four devices at a time (such as a laptop, tablet, or game console).

Network Bandwidth Need by Usage

So, let’s keep the hotel’s example fully booked with a maximum capacity of 36 guests. Assuming each guest has 1.2 devices, you have around 43 devices, of which 35 are connected to the network simultaneously. All of them are browsing different applications.

If you are using our Access Point Selector tool, in a hotel with 35 concurrent users employing chatting/messenger services, e-mail, social media, web browsing, and video streaming, you will have, as a result, an estimated bandwidth per user of 3.33 Mbit/s. This means that the hotel would need at minimum: Location bandwidth – 117 Mbit/s.

3. Calculate network bandwidth requirements

As previously said, the measurement unit for bandwidth is bits per second (bps). But, modern networks have greater capacity. They are mostly measured in millions of bits per second (megabits per second, or Mbps) or billions of bits per second (gigabits per second, or Gbps).

Furthermore, bandwidth connections can be symmetrical when the data capacity is the same in uploading or downloading data, and asymmetrical when download and upload capacity are not the same. In asymmetrical connections, upload capacity is usually smaller than the download capacity.

In addition to testing, you have to calculate how much bandwidth is needed to run all your networks’ applications. To understand how much capacity you need, you must calculate the maximum number of users who might be using the network connection simultaneously and multiply that number times the bandwidth capacity required by each application.

To calculate the bandwidth need required you can use the following formula:

(Application Throughput) x (Number of concurrent Users) = Aggregate Application Throughput

Going back to the hotel example,

(3.33 Mbps) x 35 concurrent users = 117 Mbps

Note: the result you get here might exceed the bandwidth that the internet service providers offer.

When calculating your bandwidth needs, it’s a theoretical demand upper bound estimate that can help you to calculate the number of access points needed to support the bandwidth demands in a specific location.

If you want to calculate the number of access points needed in a deployment, check our latest article Network Capacity Planning – Wireless Capacity vs Coverage.

If you are deploying wireless networks, read also WiFi network design – What to take into consideration when designing WLANs, there are many factors to consider to plan out your network deployments thoroughly.​

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