“Our wireless sucks. I’m truly embarrassed, when my client asks for internet access in our boardroom. I’m constantly having to reconnect to the wireless. IT must not realize this is important to me.”
Your users are likely thinking these things – if not yelling them at you and most IT organizations don’t have a great remedy to the situation. So, why does your wireless suck?
Reason 1: Wireless Sprawl
Years ago, most organizations once reserved wireless for the boardroom and meeting spaces. Over time as demands from users increase (often executives), more and more access points we’re purchased put into production and logically, it seemed, the more we buy the better the coverage should get.
The wireless plan itself may be faulted and results in dead zones or patchy coverage throughout the office experience. The band-aid fix at the time to keep users at bay results in a less than adequate coverage model to move forward with. As organizations continue to grow and shift their physical layouts such as a new lunch room or a simple change such as cubical configurations – this has a ripple effect on a once “good enough” wireless approach – we term this as Wireless Sprawl. Another, result of band-aid rollout brings together some good access points (recently enabled with AC protocol) and some potential dinosaurs making it especially hard to predict a user experience and manage it.
Reason 2: Device Ratios & BYOD
Even a few years ago it made sense to assume that each user will connect with one device. Today, the device count has grown exponentially from a 1:1 ratio to 5:1, in some scenarios, having a dramatic impact on the performance of a wireless infrastructure. Simply consider a normal user with corporate provisioned Laptops, Smartphones and potentially a tablet brought from home. Now IT must provision for a threefold minimum of devices.
Now, get ready for BYOD? This is where IT may simply throw in the proverbial management towel and open up internet access creating potential holes in their network possible security threats. In other situations, IT simply locks down wireless so it can’t be accessed and faces the challenge of supporting guest access.
As the device ratio rises and BYOD proliferates within organizations, IT is faced with more devices to deal with and plan for wireless experiences.
Reason 3: New APs Doesn’t Mean Better Experience
Gut reaction to this would often lead one to believe that simply overhauling and replacing all the white boxes on the wall will make this problem go away. Think again. Assumption hinges on the fact that you’ve got the right coverage model based on traffic, user density and device ratios. Also, consider advances in wireless technology and controllers as well as other parts of the network play a much larger role in the user experience.
These reasons reflect some of the most common scenarios why your wireless may “suck” and come directly from our technical community of engineers throughout North America. A tried and proven method to remedy this entire situation comes in the form of a Wireless Site survey which allows you to better understand:
- The state of current coverage and ideal roadmap for placement
- Visibility to misconfigurations, optimization and remediation steps
- How to provision most effectively based on your unique floor plan and office environment
- How to develop a roadmap for the future (know exactly how and where to expand strategically)
To learn more about how Softchoice conducts wireless site survey’s or even if you have a question drop Richard a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, feel free to let us know your wireless woes and battle stories below.