How to get the most out of your office WiFi.
Of the many recent technological advances we’ve all grown used to, WiFi is one of the most ubiquitous and most finicky. Connections can be slow or unreliable, causing frustration and productivity loss for employees and visitors alike. If you’re wondering what you can do to improve WiFi speed in your office, try these steps.
1. Secure your signal.
If you’ve left your WiFi channel open to the public, you’re potentially draining your bandwidth and leaving your company exposed to data theft. Even if you have set up a WiFi password, it could let you down if it’s not long enough or if it hasn’t been updated in a while. Strong passwords can be a pain to enter into your phone, but the temporary inconvenience is worth it to keep your data safe.
As for changing your password, remember that anyone who had access to your network will still have access so long as your old passwords remain intact. That could include past employees, visitors, and anyone else who might have asked and been granted access to your WiFi since you last secured it. This might not seem like a threat, but the risk is better avoided.
2. Set up your guest WiFi.
Speaking of visitors, most guests will expect to be able to connect to WiFi while they’re at your office. Some of them may even count on WiFi access so that they can retrieve business documents from the cloud, or respond to emails during a meeting break. In any case, you will want to offer them access to a guest WiFi account rather than your company network.
This is for two reasons: first, for security, it is best to keep your company network private so that critical files aren’t exposed to anyone who happens to be visiting that day. Second, a guest WiFi network allows you to set limits on the amount of bandwidth guests consume while in your office. This isn’t to be stingy, it’s to ensure a visitor doesn’t accidentally disrupt your operations by steaming an HD video or initiating a large file download.
3. Position your router correctly.
Many businesses hide their router in a closet where it’s out of sight and clumped together with other office tech like the modem or the server. Unfortunately, this is almost the worst place to leave your router. Not only do the closet walls block the signal, but nearby technology can cause additional interference.
Instead, position your router where it will send the clearest signal to the greatest number of users. If most of your employees use a hardwired connection, then it may make more sense to have your router nearer to the conference room. You can also try positioning your router from the ceiling for better coverage. While many businesses place their routers close to the floor to keep them out of site, this also puts more barriers, such as furniture or people in the room, in the way of the WiFi signal. From the ceiling, the router can transmit a stronger signal without having to go through as many obstacles.
4. Boost your signal.
One way to compensate for all the different barriers in an office which might weaken a WiFi signal is to invest in a signal booster. These will pick up and amplify the signal from your router to reach more of the office. Position them strategically so that they can both receive a good signal from your router, and transmit it to office spaces where your router doesn’t reach.
5. Change the channel.
Routers transmit signals across different channels, but if multiple routers are using the same channel it can cause congestion. Most routers will scan for the most open channel when you first set them up and then continue using that channel even if it later becomes crowded by other routers. Check your local WiFi channels to find one with less congestion, and change the settings on your router to use that channel.
6. Improve your router technology.
If these changes don’t address the problem, then it may be time to upgrade your technology. The latest WiFi technology is the 802.11 AC Wave 2 standard, which allows for multiple inputs and outputs leading to a much better overall performance. Many of your new devices may already support this standard, so a new router will help you take better advantage of their capabilities.
However, this sword cuts both ways. If your router supports the 802.11 AC Wave 2 standard but your other internet capable devices are long out of date, they won’t benefit as much from the new router as newer devices will. Nonetheless, it will still be worth upgrading your router so that it is ready to handle new technology as the rest of your office upgrades.
We can work with your office to ensure your technology stays efficient, secure, and up to date. Contact us for a free assessment.
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