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Optimize Enterprise Wi-Fi: A Guide to the 5 Pillars of Wi-Fi

In this article, we discuss the five pillars of enterprise Wi-Fi: Roaming, Coverage, Congestion, Interference, and Connectivity. We’ll cover what they are and how they impact productivity, revenue, operations, and forms of business risk. We also introduce you to the best Wi-Fi optimization platform on the market.

It’s difficult to imagine now, but Wi-Fi was once a luxury service. It was hard to find, relatively expensive, and a little too plodding to be of much use for routine business activities. Of course, that’s no longer the case — Wi-Fi today is practically omnipresent. It’s now an invaluable asset to the global economy that empowers individuals and businesses to be vastly more productive.

Indeed, what was once a luxury is now a necessity akin to capital when it comes to facilitating enterprise activities. Modern businesses rely on high-performance Wi-Fi networks to enable everything from seamless operations to employee productivity and customer satisfaction. This means, if businesses overlook their Wi-Fi infrastructure, they risk losing revenue in countless ways — both direct and indirect.

So, whether your network is spread out across a sprawling campus, a multi-story office building, or dynamic industrial facilities and warehouses, you need to equip yourself with the tools necessary to guarantee seamless end-user connectivity experiences. In addition, you need to familiarize yourself with the five fundamental pillars of Wi-Fi connectivity: Roaming, Coverage, Congestion, Interference, and Connectivity.

In this article, we introduce you to these pillars, explain how they impact the robustness and efficiency of your enterprise Wi-Fi network, and show you how to optimize them to assure that your network achieves its full potential.

This is what we’ll cover:

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The 5 Pillars of Wi-Fi: What they Are and Why They Matter

The five pillars of Wi-Fi are Roaming, Coverage, Congestion, Interference, and Connectivity. Together, these factors dictate the performance of Wi-Fi networks and the quality of the end-user experiences they facilitate.

For enterprise Wi-Fi networks, the five pillars are directly related to employee productivity, business operations, customer satisfaction, and more. If they are not monitored and measured, they’re extremely difficult to optimize. If they can’t be optimized, businesses can become inefficient and see their bottom-line revenue eroded on numerous fronts.

So, to help you avoid this, let’s go over the basics. Below, we briefly go over the following…

  • What Is Wi-Fi Roaming?
  • What Is Wi-Fi Coverage?
  • What Is Wi-Fi Congestion?
  • What Is Wi-Fi Interference?
  • What Is Wi-Fi Connectivity?

Let’s handle these one at a time.


Pillar 1: What Is Wi-Fi Roaming?

Roaming refers to the ability of a wireless device to seamlessly move from one access point to another without dropping the connection or experiencing significant latency.

In enterprise environments, where mobility is key, this ensures that employees remain connected, whether they're moving from one conference room to another or navigating large facilities.

Technically, roaming is orchestrated by a combination of the device (like a smartphone or laptop) and the network infrastructure. Protocols such as the IEEE 802.11k and 802.11r are designed to aid quick transitions between access points, thus ensuring continuous connectivity.

To learn more, read: What Is Wi-Fi Roaming?


Pillar 2: What Is Wi-Fi Coverage?

Coverage denotes the area over which a Wi-Fi signal is available and reliable.

In enterprise environments, it's imperative that every nook and cranny — from manufacturing floors to distribution centers — have strong Wi-Fi signals. This ensures that employees can work from anywhere within the premises without worrying about drops.

Achieving optimal coverage typically involves strategic placement of access points, consideration of physical barriers (like walls and floors), and sometimes the use of Wi-Fi extenders or mesh networks.

To learn more, read: What Is Wi-Fi Coverage?


Pillar 3: What Is Wi-Fi Congestion?

Think of congestion like traffic on a busy highway. If too many devices are trying to connect to a single Wi-Fi channel or frequency, the "speed" or performance of the network drops.

For enterprises, where hundreds of devices might connect simultaneously, managing congestion is paramount. Techniques for managing congestion include using advanced Wi-Fi standards like Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax), which offers better handling of multiple devices. Dynamic channel selection and Quality of Service (QoS) settings also help in efficiently distributing network resources among devices.

To learn more, read: What Is Wi-Fi Congestion?


Pillar 4: What Is Wi-Fi Interference?

Interference is the disruption in Wi-Fi signals caused by other electronic devices or networks. Common causes of Wi-Fi inference include devices like microwaves and cordless phones, and even other Wi-Fi networks.

In an enterprise setting, addressing interference involves selecting the right Wi-Fi channels (especially in the 2.4 GHz band where interference is common), utilizing 5 GHz frequency when possible, and conducting regular site surveys to identify and mitigate sources of interference.

To learn more, read: What Is Wi-Fi Interference?


Pillar 5: What Is Wi-Fi Connectivity?

Last but not least, connectivity encompasses the overall ability of devices to connect to the Wi-Fi network and access resources. This includes not just the strength of the Wi-Fi signal, but also backend elements like DHCP server performance, WAN link reliability, and more.

For enterprises, ensuring reliable connectivity means regular network monitoring, redundancy in critical components, and proactive troubleshooting.

To learn more, read: What Is Wi-Fi Connectivity?


How to Optimize Enterprise Wi-Fi: Master Roaming, Coverage, Congestion, Interference, and Connectivity with 7SIGNAL

In today's digitally-driven enterprise landscape, understanding the health of Wi-Fi networks and endpoints isn't just crucial — it's non-negotiable. The 7SIGNAL platform, made up of endpoint agents and Wi-Fi sensors, stands out for its unique approach to network optimization, monitoring, and diagnostics.

You can use 7SIGNAL to…

  1. Gain a Comprehensive Overview of Network Health
  2. Leverage Complementary Solutions
  3. Monitor Your Network Outside-In


1. Gain a Comprehensive Overview of Network Health

7SIGNAL is not just another monitoring tool. It is uniquely tailored to provide an overarching health metric of both the wireless network and endpoints. What sets it apart is its ability to give engineers, IT teams, and executives a macro view of the WLAN performance, while at the same time allowing them to delve into specific issues. This dual capability ensures that teams can quickly identify potential problems and then drill down to understand the root causes within the five pillars: Roaming, Coverage, Congestion, Interference, and Connectivity.


2. Leverage Complementary Solutions

One of the misunderstandings some might have is seeing 7SIGNAL as a competitor to WLAN infrastructure vendors. Indeed, a common question we receive from prospects in early discussions is: “Doesn’t my WLAN vendor already do that?”

However, this couldn't be further from the truth. 7SIGNAL complements WLAN vendors by providing added layers of visibility and diagnostic capabilities that WLAN tools don't offer. 7SIGNAL is vendor agnostic and provides independent data. It bridges the “visibility gap” between the infrastructure and end-user experience, ensuring that organizations get the most out of their Wi-Fi and endpoint investments.


3. Monitor Your Network Outside-In

Traditional network monitoring tools adopt an 'inside-out' perspective. This means they analyze network health from the viewpoint of the infrastructure itself — focusing on aspects like access point performance, back-end systems, and network pathways. While undoubtedly essential, this approach might miss out on what the end-user actually experiences.

7SIGNAL adopts an 'outside-in' perspective, a refreshing shift in paradigm. By focusing on wireless digital experiences, it provides a real-world view of how the network performs. In essence, 7SIGNAL prioritizes the user experience, giving a more holistic understanding of network performance.

This dual perspective ensures that while the infrastructure might report everything as functioning optimally, any discrepancies at the endpoint level are not overlooked. It’s like having a doctor who doesn’t just rely on medical tests but also asks the patient, “How do you actually feel?”


7SIGNAL Is Revolutionizing Enterprise Network Optimization

By providing a comprehensive health overview and allowing deep dives into specific issues, 7SIGNAL ensures that network engineers and IT teams are always a step ahead in ensuring optimal Wi-Fi performance. By complementing WLAN vendors and offering a unique outside-in perspective, 7SIGNAL is setting new standards in Wi-Fi network performance and user experience optimization.


Learn More From the 7SIGNAL Experts

We’re always here to answer your Wi-Fi questions at 7SIGNAL. Our enterprise Wi-Fi optimization platform helps you plan and execute a healthier network. Contact us to learn more.

7SIGNAL® is the leader in enterprise Wi-Fi optimization, providing insight into wireless networks and control over Wi-Fi performance so businesses and organizations can thrive. Our cloud-based platform continually tests and measures Wi-Fi performance at the edges of the network, enabling fast solutions to digital experience issues and stronger connections for mission-critical users, devices, and applications. Learn more at www.7signal.com.