The Secret to Providing Consistent WiFi Coverage
Reliable WiFi has evolved from a nice-to-have perk to a critical necessity for the user experience. As consumers, we expect reasonable coverage, easy access and top speeds nearly everywhere we go. Of course, our offices are no exception.
It has taken less than two decades for WiFi to become a ubiquitous aspect of modern organizations, with customers and employees feeling entitled to speedy, reliable networks so they can stream entertainment and work anywhere.
When WiFi fails, it’s embarrassing for the network provider, and in a workplace environment, it also leads to lost productivity.
As companies accelerate their digital transformations due to COVID-19’s shelter-in-place restrictions, the latest-generation wireless network technology continues to be paramount – not only to meet today’s expectations but to ensure we have the flexibility to meet the emerging needs of the future.
Creating the right WiFi network for your workspace should be a science, not an art. Fortunately, new tools are available to create metrics, visual aids and action plans for improving the performance of a WiFi network, removing the guesswork and providing insight into areas for improvement.
Enter one of the latest developments in network management — the WiFi heatmap.
What is a WiFi Heat Map?
WiFi Heatmaps are precisely what they sound like — a means of mapping out wireless signal coverage and strength in a given area. Heatmaps provide key insight into improving the user experience and create a visual guide that’s practical for network administrators.
Without heatmaps, IT leaders may rely on less reliable anecdotal information from users — challenging for administrators and frustrating for users.
Generally, a WiFi heatmap displays a simple map of a room, floor, building or even a city overlaid by a visual representation of wireless signal strength and availability. The results of a heatmap analysis are usually shown in green, yellow and red, signifying strong to weak ranges.
Heatmaps can provide important data when planning a new network or evaluating a redesign of an existing network, allowing IT staff to use insights into the network for optimal efficiency and performance. Skilled network administrators use WiFi heatmaps to find dead zones and make adjustments to reach the desired level of wireless coverage.
Using heatmap software is straightforward and typically completely automated. Most software simply requires the user to walk the area they would like to map.
Once the mapping is complete, IT staffers can thoughtfully and systematically improve and stabilize coverage. Consider partnering with an expert team that specializes in providing an exceptional user experience to make improvements as meaningful as possible for employees and customers.
What Factors Affect WiFi Coverage?
Many aspects of an environment can affect wireless coverage. Some can be manipulated and some can’t. A WiFi heatmap can help administrators and partnering IT firms focus on what they can reasonably adjust.
Factors affecting the quality of WiFi coverage include:
- Quality, placement and configuration of the WiFi routers
- Traffic coming in from other WiFi networks
- Physical obstacles like metal appliances, walls and large furniture
- Radiofrequency interference from microwaves, cordless phones, wireless security cameras and even WiFi routers themselves
A dependable network with consistent performance must consider all the elements involved in wireless coverage. It’s also critical to improve WiFi now within existing infrastructure, in order to avoid the technical debt in IT infrastructure that can cripple corporations when it’s time to embrace the next great thing in technology.
When managing technology, it’s common to get lost in the details that detract our focus from the bigger picture: the long-term strategy of an IT organization. Infrastructure is a big part of any company’s long-term plans.
Planning for the Next Development in Wireless
It’s never too early to begin considering the next important upgrade in IT. Employees and customers are more tech-savvy than ever, and expectations for the latest and greatest are high.
With heatmaps and their consequent planned infrastructure improvements, corporations can begin considering WiFi 6 technology.
Some of the benefits of this next-generation wireless network technology include:
- Supporting higher network bandwidth
- Allowing for more user concurrency
- Improved performance and reliability
- Reducing the power drain on end-user devices
There’s no doubt WiFi 6 will be in demand in office spaces as workers and customers learn more about it.
How to Choose the Right Mapping Solution
An abundance of software and map-based WiFi analyzers are available, some free and some paid. Make sure you get the results you need by partnering with a networking expert through the process.
Choosing a firm that understands the intricacies of IT infrastructure and has experience in improving performance will help WiFi maps lead to improved outcomes.
Schedule a complimentary strategic discussion with a leading provider. Making well-informed IT decisions stem from consulting a trusted advisor and lead to better business outcomes. Forthright is a leading provider of solutions and services in South Florida. The firm leverages teams of engineers built to work together as a unit and delivers customer-centric solutions. Forthright’s methodology ensures success by guiding clients through an end-to-end process starting with advisory services, followed by implementation and backed by an above-industry-standard warranty. Whether you’re interested in our full methodology or a singular component, email us or call (561) 285-4853.