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Are mobile devices clogging up your wireless network?

1/02/2013 in Technology

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An advanced wireless network is one that is managed centrally. This is designed to resolve the following problems:

  • Patchy coverage
  • Slow wireless connections limiting new devices
  • Having to reconnect as you ‘roam’ through your office
  • Staff, guests and subcontractors uses the same wireless network regardless of their security requirements or bandwidth needs.

We recently gained accreditation as an implementer of Ruckus wireless solutions and have been deploying this technology to our customers. Ruckus devices use lots of very clever technology to resolve the limitations of traditional wireless networks:

  • They reroute signals as the environment changes. If a neighbour plugs in a new access point that impinges on your network the Ruckus system will reconfigure itself on the fly to keep your connection working optimally. One of the most likely reasons for wireless interference is people. So as people move around your office the Ruckus access points will redirect the wireless signal to avoid them.
  • Advanced wireless networks are ‘meshed’. This means that they can route traffic between themselves. This improves speed and reliability. As you add access points to your network they connect with as many of the existing access points as possible. So the more you add the more powerful your network becomes.
  • They can be deployed without the need to install a cable. This is achieved using a ‘Smart Mesh’. Ruckus access points connect to each other and route the signal wirelessly.
  • Most new mobile devices are able to connect at two different frequencies – 2.4 and 5GHz. Simpler access points, however, can only receive on one of those frequencies – usually 2.4GHz. This means that newer devices are not able to take advantage of their enhanced capability. An advanced wireless network is able to handle connections on both frequencies at the same time and will encourage new devices to connect optimally keeping older devices on the older frequency.

The use of your business wireless network is growing whether you are aware of it or not. As your staff brings in their phones and tablets their traffic is passing onto your business network and connecting through your Internet connection. Existing simple wireless networks do not have the capabilities to control and manage this traffic. Without something more advanced technically we, and our customers are blind to the extent of the problem.

We are advising our customers to ensure that they decide how they want staff to connect mobile devices to their network and that they include this in their staff handbook, policy or T&Cs. Whether you actively allow personal devices or don’t want them on the network at all, you’ll need a clearly communicated policy in place. This then forms the basis of a discussion as to whether your wireless network could do with an upgrade.