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Top Tips For Improving The Speed And Performance Of Your Wireless Network

Sep 1, 2008
If you have become sick of Windows notifying you about a weak signal with your wireless network, there is no need to give up on the technology entirely. Many businesspeople may have cursed the day they changed to wireless, however, following a few simple tips can make the entire experience a lot smoother for you. Positioning, parts, options and upgrades can all help improve your wireless network. If your network performance monitoring says there is room for improvement, here is how to do it.

The cheapest options, and those which will be investigated first by your information technology consultants, are those of positioning of the router. Your router, or wireless access point, should be in a central location. If it is against an outside wall of your building, simple physics tell you that the signal will be weaker on the other side of the structure. The closer the router or wireless access point is to the computers that will be using it, the better the signal will be.

Sometimes there is not much you can do about the positioning of your router within your building. However, you can manage your network performance more effectively if you move your router off the floor, and away from walls and metal objects. Filing cabinets are a common culprit in offices, as are metal desks. Walls and floors will not help either - position your router on a table or desk if possible, and in a location central to the room where you can.

If you have the standard antenna with your wireless connection, you have an omni-directional one. If the only possible position for your access point is against the outside of your home, then half the signal will be sent outside. Replace the antenna with a hi-gain antenna that focuses the signal in one direction for better network performance management.

If your PCs have card-based wireless network adapter, you could consider replacing these with USB network adapters with external antennas. Some, such as the Hawking Hi-Gain Wireless USB Network Adapter can provide significant range gains. This is not generally necessary on laptop computers, however.

Wireless repeaters are another option - these are placed halfway between your access point and your computer, and give you an instant boost to your signal strength.

If you are still having trouble, try changing the channel on your wireless device. Just like on the radio, in different positions some stations have interference or feedback, and others come through clearly. The same is true for your wireless channels. Experiment until you find the one that works best in your business.

You may also have high levels of wireless intereference from other wireless devices in your office. Your information technology consultants will be able to recommend devices that use a different frequency to your wireless computer network, helping reduce noise.

Something to think about when you are setting up your wireless network, is that your monitors will see better network performance if you choose equipment from the same vendors. If you choose D-Link equipment, stick with that throughout, etc.

Finally, as with all technology, there are levels within the technology differentiated by both price and performance. If you want to manage your wireless network performance better, choose 802.11g equipment, rather than the cheaper, older and less effective 802.11b equipment. Ask your information technology consultants to help you upgrade, or with choosing new equipment.
About the Author
Datacraft is the leading independent IT services and solutions company in Asia Pacific. Datacraft combines an expertise in networking, security, Microsoft solutions, storage and contact centre technologies, with advanced skills in consulting, integration and managed services, to craft IT solutions for businesses.
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