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Wireless Signal Quality

Because wireless signals travel through the atmosphere, they are subjected to all sorts of environmental and external factors. This includes storms and the number of walls, ceilings, and so on that the signal must pass through. Just how weakened the signal becomes depends on the building material used and the level of RF interference. All these elements decrease the power of the wireless signal.

If you are troubleshooting a wireless connection that has a particularly weak signal, you can do a few things to help increase the signal’s power:

  • Antenna: Perhaps the first and most obvious thing to do is to make sure that the antenna on the AP is positioned for best reception. It often takes a little trial and error to get the placement right. Today’s wireless access cards commonly ship with diagnostic software that displays signal strength and makes it easy to find the correct position.
  • Device placement: One factor that can degrade wireless signals is RF interference. Because of this, it is important to try to keep wireless devices away from appliances that output RF noise. This includes microwaves, electrical devices, and certain cordless devices using the same frequency, such as phones.
  • Network location: Although there may be limited choice, as much as possible it is important to try to reduce the number of obstructions that the signal must pass through. Every obstacle strips a little more power from the signal. The type of material a signal must pass through also can have a significant impact on signal integrity.
  • Boost the signal: If all else fails, you can purchase devices, such as wireless repeaters, that can amplify the wireless signal. The device takes the signal and amplifies it to make it stronger. This also increases the distance that the client system can be placed from the AP.

To successfully manage wireless signals, you need to know which wireless standard you are using. The standards used today specify range distances, RF ranges, and speeds. It may be that the wireless standard cannot do what you need it to.

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