Who doesn’t love a fast network? At home, it means you can download all 12 seasons of The Great British Baking Show in the same time it takes to bake a loaf of banana bread. For your business the stakes are a little higher, the speed and stability of your WLAN can be the difference between a successful company and a failing one.
At Federated Service Solutions, our business is built on making sure your network runs smoothly. In our 10+ years of creating top-notch enterprise WLAN networks, we’ve seen these four easy-to-make mistakes slow networks to a sloth-like crawl – making them our…Four Deadly Sins.
1. Bad Network Configuration
Common sense? Yeah. But you’d be surprised how often we see simple mistakes in a network configuration that have a cascading effect on the rest of the network – specifically when it comes to speed and stability. Designing a high-performing network is part art and part science. It starts with understanding the type of network needed to support your daily business operations.
For instance, car dealerships can’t solely rely on ethernet because they have to support technicians working on vehicles in the service area. These techs are likely using multiple mobile devices as they move from vehicle to vehicle. This makes it important to have separate networks to support the service area, the dealership showroom, internal offices, and of course a guest network for customers in the waiting area.
What to do: This same sort of strategic configuration can begin when you ask your team, “What are our expectations and needs for Wi-Fi?”
Once you’ve outlined your company’s needs, work with your IT team to see if it aligns with your current configuration. Easy places to begin are reviewing signal strength settings and the number of SSIDs and VLANs to evaluate how traffic is moving.
Every business is unique which is why there is no easy mode when it comes to configuring your network. Sometimes it will be as simple as setting up separate networks for guest traffic and internal traffic, other times it can be much more complex.
2. Poorly Positioned APs
Large networks require multiple (sometimes many, many) Access Points (APs). Poorly positioned or blocked APs can slow down your Wi-Fi connection and affect the users closest to that AP. There are several things that can negatively impact your APs including:
- Building materials (sheetrock, insulation, triple-paned glass, brick, and metal)
- A high density of people/crowded rooms
- Outside interference from neighboring networks (such as a business next door)
- Being positioned too closely together
What to do: Take a complete inventory of your access points, conduct a wireless survey, and reposition your APs for maximum performance. You can also perform spectrum, passive, and active site surveys, request a WLAN performance assessment from a trusted IT company, or even upgrade to Wi-Fi 6!
3. BYOD Is Out Of Hand
We’re living in a Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) world. The upside of BYOD is that companies don’t have to provide devices to every employee and employees can use their preferred technology.
The downside? Too many devices on your network can slow it down and expose your network to security threats or compromise sensitive company data. Not to mention, Phil in Accounting is probably playing Wordle on his Android instead of balancing your books. Thanks, Phil.
What to do: Draft a BYOD policy. Set up a separate network for guest devices or specifically for employee-only devices. Consider either a whitelist or a blacklist security policy where you have tighter control over who’s logging onto your network. Enact bandwidth limits, and make sure that your firewall rules are properly configured to support your employees’ bandwidth use.
4. Aging Hardware
If your network is sluggish, it could be your security protocol, or it could be that you’re using outdated hardware wireless N or below. Aging security protocols like WEP (if you’re on WEP you have bigger problems, and we’ll keep you in our thoughts) or WPA2 have limited data rates and will bog down your network.
What to do: Consider upgrading some of your hardware (if you have the budget) to get lightning-fast speeds, and implement a WPA3 protocol. WPA3 is more secure than its predecessors, thanks to Simultaneous Authentication of Equals (SAE), which replaces the Pre-Shared Key (PSK) method of WPA2.
Wireless Enterprise Design For High Performance
Think your company might be making some of the Four Deadly Sins of Enterprise Networking? We specialize in improving Enterprise WLAN performance including network management, conducting wireless predictive design and planning, wireless heat mapping, and site coverage verification.
This means we can’t help you download all 12 seasons of The Great British Baking Show at home any faster, but we can make sure your company’s network is as fast as possible.
Contact us to get a consultation scheduled, or to learn more ways to improve network speed within your budget.