What if a wireless AP controller fails

It can be incredibly frustrating when encountering wireless connectivity issues such as poor Wi-Fi during VoIP video conferencing in your home, office, or manufacturing facility. There are many reasons why you might get poor wireless connection. In this article, you will find the factors that lead to poor wireless network connections, as well as solutions to extend the signal and range of your wireless network for a better experience.

Why do you have a weak wireless signal?

Whether at home or in the office, a weak wireless signal is always annoying. Before we move on to the methods of expanding the wireless network, it is important to understand the reasons for the weakening of the wireless signals so that you can act appropriately.

Distance and restrictions

Distance and interior walls are the key factors that can lead to sluggish radio signals. As a rule of thumb, a traditional home wireless router operating at 2.4 GHz will have a maximum indoor signal range of 150 feet (46 meters). Every time a signal hits obstacles or passes the interior walls or metal frames, it becomes weaker. In particular, if the signal passes through the thicker walls, the signal can be more severely affected than the other end devices that are at the same distance from the router.

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Router or access point manufacturers always state the maximum capacity of the devices that they can connect at the same time. In practical use, however, the capacity is limited by certain practical factors and cannot reach the maximum capacity as advertised. When end devices or users access a single wireless router or access point in a given geographic area, they share the same wireless network and internet connection, which is one of the main factors that slows down the wireless network speed significantly.

As more and more devices connect to the wireless network, it may reduce the available bandwidth of the other devices. In corporate campus networks in particular, where there are a large number of different end devices that support different uses, access points are required that support a larger number of devices.

Device interference

Device interference reduces your signal-to-noise ratio and thus also the data rates. The devices that cause RF interference can be wireless devices, cordless telephones, microwave ovens, and others. 2.4 GHz is the legacy band in which most wireless routers and access points run. In the conventional 2.4 GHz band, there are only three channels that do not overlap. And most popular cordless phones and microwave ovens use 2.4 GHz, which can affect the 2.4 GHz band used by Wi-Fi, effectively slowing the connection down and reducing signal strength.

How can a wireless network be expanded?

Solution 1: Put the routers or APs in the right places

Whether at home or in the office, it is fundamental to keep the range that routers or APs can handle as large as possible. Make sure that you have placed the routers or APs in the center of the devices and that there are as few walls or other obstacles as possible.

Solution 2: set up Wi-Fi extenders / repeaters

If you've placed the wireless router or AP in a central location but there are still corners out of range, a Wi-Fi extender or repeater is an easy and inexpensive way to extend the range of the wireless network by adding more Expand hardware without having to lay cables. Although they are named differently, their function is almost the same: they pick up an existing wireless signal, repeat it, and forward it to the location's dead zones.

The advantages of these devices are that they are inexpensive and accessible. Just place them at the edge of the coverage area, then they can receive the signal from AP and forward it to the outdoor units. It should be noted, however, that these Wi-Fi extenders are actually only extending the range of the wireless network, not your Wi-Fi signals. Hence, there is no such thing as business-grade extenders as they only support a limited number of devices at a time and the Wi-Fi signal can degrade if devices are connected at the same time. As an aside, old routers can also be configured to be an extender if the router can use open source firmware.

Solution 3: upgrade your wireless devices

Many may wonder if at some point they should replace my old router or add a new access point. Every year there are tons of new access points or routers with new wireless technology.

Wi-Fi 6 technology is 30% faster than Wi-Fi 5. In the meantime, dual-band technology is gradually becoming common for routers or APs as they combine 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz signals and supports a greater range and a higher signal by separating network traffic between devices with different bandwidths. When a network congestion occurs to 2.4 GHz, dual-band Wi-Fi APs allow the 2.4 GHz end-users to seamlessly switch to 5 GHz, reducing the load on network traffic and expanding the wireless network signals. If you've had those old wireless devices for nearly four or five years and urgently need to upgrade the network, then these Wi-Fi 6 devices are for you. Remember to take capacity into consideration and have an accurate number of APs as congestion within capacity is often the case in a high-density corporate campus network.

Solution 4: configure a wireless distribution system (WDS)

A Wireless Distribution System (WDS) is a system that can expand wireless networks with wireless APs without wires. You are able to bridge two access points to create the area that wireless signals in your home or office cannot cover. In a WDS, an access point can act as a wireless base station that connects to the Internet and connects to customers wirelessly or by cable. Another access point receives the wireless signal from the wireless base station and sends signals to the other clients, whereby the first access point cannot be reached due to the short range.

Solution five: create a wireless mesh network

A wireless mesh network is often viewed as the upgraded version of WDS, although there are still many differences between them. In a mesh network system there are dozens or hundreds of routers or APs that are distributed and function as individual nodes. The main advantages of wireless mesh networks are flexible coverage and self-healing capabilities. If one point fails, it enables communication to be routed through another point. All nodes communicate with each other to expand wireless signals and Wi-Fi coverage.

Mesh networks are more dynamic than WDS networks. Unlike a WDS system, where one AP is only wirelessly connected to another AP, mesh nodes support multiple wireless hops before connecting to a node that is on the network. Note, however, that if one mesh node reaches another, throughput can be cut in half. In order to avoid such cases, it is possible to add further nodes to the network backbone and to place the node APs in optimal locations.