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Common Connectivity Issues With Wireless AP

31 May 2023, 23:43 GMT+10

Chances are you're among the five billion people across the globe who connect to the internet on a regular basis.

Yet, the odds are also high that you've suffered from unreliable or intermittent wireless connectivity.

A prominent contributor to these headaches?

Wireless Access Points (APs). Despite their significant role in today's connected world, APs often become a source of pain due to common connectivity problems.

To make things easier for you, we've written a guide that unmasks these usual suspects and that delves into the labyrinth of Wireless AP connectivity issues. Keep reading if you'd like to find out more.

Access Point Placement Problems

One of the most common causes of wireless AP connectivity issues is access points that are inconveniently located. Here is what you need to know about this type of issue.

Hallway Placement

When a wireless Access Point (AP) is placed in a hallway, it probably won't reach other rooms. Hallway placement might provide a weak or non-existent signal in adjoining rooms. They even might create dead zones.

Above the Ceiling

Stashing your AP above the ceiling might seem like a great idea for aesthetics. But it can come with issues.

Most ceilings are made of materials that obstruct WiFi signals. Plaster, metal, and concrete can all absorb or reflect signals, reducing your WiFi's power.

It's like trying to talk through a thick wall, your voice (or in this case, your data) just won't go through clearly.

On the Wall

Mounting an AP on the wall can provide good coverage for the immediate area, but it may also create signal issues on different floors.

The vertical signal distribution may not be as effective, leaving upper or lower floors with weak signals.

Using WiFi in High-Demand Areas in a Building

Have you ever noticed your WiFi slowing down in a crowded conference room? That's because too many devices are trying to access a single AP.

It's a classic case of demand outweighing supply. This will lead to slower speeds and less reliable connections.

So, how can you tell this is happening? You might notice videos buffering more than usual, web pages taking longer to load, or video calls becoming pixelated.

These are signs of a congested network struggling to keep up with the demands.

Not Testing Signal Strength

Testing WiFi signal strength isn't as scary as it sounds. But, if you overlook it, you may not realize that your AP isn't reaching all the corners of your space.

To test your signal strength, you can use apps or software that give you a visual "map" of your WiFi coverage. When you see gaps, it's time to rethink your AP placement or consider adding more APs.

Not Assessing Outdoor Access Points

WiFi isn't only for inside buildings. Outdoor APs help provide coverage in exterior spaces like patios or open-air cafes. If these aren't addressed, you'll have signal drop-offs when you step outside.

Outdoor APs have to withstand the elements, so they're more robustly made and usually need special enclosures.

Remember, you can connect outdoor APs to your network using a 24 Port PoE Switch. This device not only connects multiple APs but also provides them with power. This has the potential to simplify your setup.

Non-Overlapping Signal Patterns

Non-overlapping signal patterns can become a major issue when setting up multiple APs in a given area.

WiFi operates primarily on two frequency bands: 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz. The 2.4 GHz band has only three non-overlapping channels (1, 6, 11), while the 5 GHz band has more.

If APs are set on overlapping channels, they essentially compete for airtime, resulting in interference and degraded performance. This is similar to having two radio stations broadcast on the same frequency.

The signals collide and become a jumbled mess. Therefore, correct channel planning is essential to prevent overlapping signals and to ensure optimal WiFi performance.

Troubleshooting AP Connectivity Issues

Resolving connectivity issues with your wireless Access Points (APs) doesn't have to be intimidating. A couple of effective strategies will help you tackle these problems head-on.

First, consider the positioning of your AP. Maybe it's tucked away in a closet, or possibly it's hidden above a ceiling tile. If so, you're limiting its reach.

It's best to place the device out in the open, high up on a shelf, or mounted on a wall. But be careful of too many obstacles or reflective surfaces, like mirrors and windows, as these can interfere with the signal.

Next, if you've placed your AP in a high-traffic area, like a busy office, you might find the signal isn't as strong as it should be. This can be due to the high demand on the AP.

In this case, adding an additional AP or moving the existing one to a more central location can improve the situation.

Also, don't forget to check your signal strength. You can do this using various apps or software available online. These tools can show you how strong your WiFi signal is throughout your location, helping you identify weak spots.

Common Wireless AP Connectivity Issues

It can be frustrating if your WiFi signal is slow when you're trying to use the internet. The good news is that there are several simple things you can do to solve wireless AP connectivity issues.

You should first take time to learn about the most common reasons why people have connectivity issues.

You can then focus on troubleshooting your problem. If you can't solve the connection problem on your own, it is a good idea to get professional help.

Do you want to find out more about how wireless internet connections work? If so, make sure to check out the Technology section of our website.

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