WiFi is arguably the greatest and most frustrating technology development in the modern workplace. The ability to wirelessly connect to the internet provides a freedom and flexibility never before experienced. At least as long as you can pick up the WiFi signal.
The frustration comes when your WiFi connection is so weak or slow it takes internet pages longer to load than it used to on dial-up. It’s especially embarrassing when your clients start complaining because your video conference calls keep freezing.
“With wireless now the preferred, default, and increasingly only access in the majority of in-building, campus, metro-scale hotspot and wide-area settings, achieving optimal performance is a key objective for IT departments.”
Don’t let slow WiFi affect your office productivity. Take a look at these 9 ways you can boost your office WiFi network.
1. Bring your wireless router into the light
It can be frustrating to carry on a conversation through a closed door. Words are muffled, and you lack the clarity that you get from a face-to-face conversation where you can see expressions and better detect nuances.
The same idea applies when your router dwells in a closet. The closed closet door blocks signals from traveling freely, so bring your wireless router into the light. However, do keep it away from your super-awesome office aquarium. Like a closed door, water also acts as an impediment to your office WiFi signal.
2. Place the router in a central location
Who uses the WiFi, and where are they? The router needs to be in a location central to those users.
As a general guideline, you can place the router in the middle of your office and call it a day. However, if most of the folks in your office use Ethernet cables, then it’s even more important to put the router where the WiFi-specific users are. Common locations include conference rooms and collaborative meeting rooms.
3. Take the router to new heights
Your router may be too low, so give it some height.
In fact, don’t be afraid to put it on the ceiling.
The majority of routers broadcast their signals downward, so these metal, concrete or wood floors are likely to block some signals, plus the signal isn’t what it could be for the floor above the router.
4. Give the router quality alone time
Many times the WiFi router is located in the same place as your servers and other technical equipment. Unfortunately, too many other pieces of electronic equipment could be interfering with your routers signal strength. Your router will flourish when it gets alone time.
5. Uglify the router’s antennae
The laptops in your office have internal antennae that are probably horizontal. Signals work best when antennae are parallel to each other, so check that one of the router’s antennae is horizontal as well. Keep the other router antenna vertical so it’s parallel to the vertical antennae in cellphones and other ultra-mobile devices.
Sure, this adjustment leaves the router looking all kinds of weird, but the results speak for themselves. Rock out your router antennae with one parallel to the floor and one at 45 degrees.
6. Take the road less traveled
Your building may have multiple WiFi networks.
The more businesses under the roof and in the neighborhood, the more potential there is for WiFi channel congestion.
To take a lesser-congested road, ensure that your router is set to auto-check for the best channel. You’ll also need WiFi stumbler tools because the channel that auto-search finds can later become jam-packed.
7. Promote wise usage and prevent theft
Folks in the park next to your building may be using your office WiFi network, and Josh in accounting could also be using it to feed his Netflix bingeing habit. And how about your WiFi password? Is it easy to guess? You’d be surprised at how easily hackers can penetrate routers. That’s a serious concern for offices in which information needs to be kept confidential (pretty much any office!). Set clear rules about how employees are supposed to use the WiFi and keep an eye on any potential abuses.
One more thing: Many routers are set from the start to prioritize basic internet access and file transfer over content streaming and the like. Check to make sure yours is, and tweak the settings for video conferencing if your business does a lot of that.
8. Restrict your guest network bandwidth
What if it’s not Josh in accounting who loves to stream stuff but your clients in the waiting room? Many businesses use a guest network for clients, customers, and other visitors, and heavy use of that network can affect your main network. Restrict your guest network bandwidth so that your main network remains happy.
9. Check for cold spots in the office WiFi network
A smartphone app such as Wi-Fi Sweet Spots helps identify any cold spots in your office WiFi network. With that information in hand, the solution may be a simple matter of moving your router to a new position. In some cases, you may need to extend your network or upgrade your router.
If the above steps fail, it might be time to bring in the professionals. Contact your managed IT services provider for help making your WiFi network the best it can be.