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4 Tips for Better Wi-Fi Coverage in Large Areas

Large organizations are tasked with providing reliable, high-performing Wi-Fi throughout large network areas. Here are four tips to improve coverage

Your enterprise depends on a strong, seamless Wi-Fi connection—73 percent of Americans said they couldn’t imagine life without the internet in a survey published by Ipsos Global. Businesses and their clients depend on wireless technology and the ability to connect from anywhere, and to stay connected throughout mission-critical transactions.

Unfortunately for large organizations such as universities, hospital systems, or sizeable businesses, many obstacles and network issues can get in the way of high-performing, adequate coverage in wide areas.

Network planning isn’t doing your organization any good unless you’re getting the coverage you need. Here are four tips for expanding and improving coverage in a large network area:

1.  Positioning equipment efficiently

Access point placement is a huge factor in your network coverage and performance. Wireless signals must be distributed properly and efficiently to combat issues like drops and slowdowns as users move throughout the space.

Performing a site survey helps you to understand the best placement possible for access points, and these surveys are especially crucial for large organizations. Factors to keep in mind during site surveys are the building’s materials, cabling plans, and highly congested areas.

Beyond placement, another tip is to make sure the access points that you use are enterprise-grade and not consumer-grade. Otherwise, you simply won’t have the support needed for the many different devices and a larger network area.

2.  Wireless bridges

Wireless bridges that extend from point to point may also help you expand your network coverage throughout large areas. These bridges extend an internet signal received from a wireless router and send it to other wired devices to “stretch” the network. Note that wireless bridges don’t provide connectivity themselves—they just allow you to expand the signal.

3.  Evaluate your frequency

Consider which frequency your network is on: 2.4GHz or 5GHz. The 5GHz band is less commonly used and thus may provide better throughput and faster transfer speeds. This may cause you to conclude that 5GHz is the way to go for your network performance and Wi-Fi quality.

The 5GHz band doesn’t normally reach as far as the 2.4GHz signal, however, so you may be better off on the latter frequency for larger coverage areas.

4.  Continuous network monitoring

One of the best things you can do to improve your coverage and increase performance is to take advantage of wireless network monitoring. Because there’s so much that can go wrong with your network at any given moment with all of the new devices entering and exiting its boundary each day—given all of the opportunities for interference—you need to have visibility into what’s happening at all times.

7SIGNAL’s wireless network monitoring solution continuously tests and monitors your network for issues. What’s more, the platform assesses and captures the user experience on client devices, rather than only looking at a handful of centralized metrics.

Wireless network monitoring is a solution for obtaining adequate coverage, and it also helps with other top Wi-Fi problems, including congestion, co-channel and radio interference, roaming, and WLAN configuration.

7SIGNAL runs on cloud architecture, so you have access from anywhere and you don't have to worry about costly storage, software, server, and backup upgrades. You’ll have the visibility you need into Wi-Fi performance, you'll improve the end-user experience, and you’ll minimize the risk of service disruption.

Maximize or expand Wi-Fi coverage the right way

Because your organization needs coverage for a large network area, you can’t afford to overlook these four considerations when creating your plan. Make sure your access points and other equipment are placed efficiently, try out wireless bridges, make sure you’re on the best frequency for coverage and implement a wireless network monitoring solution to assess and fix performance.

7SIGNAL® is a leader in enterprise Wireless Network Monitoring. The 7SIGNAL platform is a cloud-based Wireless Network Monitoring (WNM) solution that continuously troubleshoots the wireless network for performance issues – maximizing network uptime, device connectivity, and network ROI. The platform was designed for the world’s most innovative organizations, educational institutions, hospitals, and government agencies and is currently deployed at Booz Allen Hamilton, IBM, Kaiser Permanente, Walgreens, Microsoft, and many others. 7SIGNAL continuously monitors the connectivity of over 4 million global devices. Learn more at www.7signal.com.