Better WiFi through Site Survey

Creating a better WiFi signal or WiFi connection throughout a home or office is usually possible. However, there are many factors that can and do affect Wifi connections. To get the best WiFi performance, a site survey, also known as a site analysis, is the first step.

On some site surveys I’ve been able to identify a major problem within two minutes. Sometimes the fix is easy — reconfigure hardware or settings. Sometimes the fix requires new or different hardware combined with additional planning.

I’ve been doing wireless Internet since 1998, before WiFi emerged as a standard for a wireless connection to the Internet. Over the years — from Times Square to Seattle helping people and offices with wireless Internet and WiFi connections to the Internet — I’ve encountered all kinds of situations where improved WiFi was possible — after analysis and planning. Here are many of the reasons I’ve encountered where a WiFi site survey helped optimize Wifi.

  • WiFi users often have unrealistic expectations of WiFi, e.g. fast WiFi can increase the ISP’s speed
  • WiFi users often don’t understand how the layout of a space can affect WiFi
  • WiFi users often make WiFi worse while attempting to make it better.
  • WiFi users can overlook existing assets that could be used
  • WiFi users often don’t realize that WiFi is radio
  • WiFi users often don’t understand the physics of radio
  • WiFi users often purchase the wrong equipment to solve the problem
  • WiFi users often place equipment in the wrong place
  • WiFi users often buy more equipment than necessary
  • WiFi users often don’t understand how certain kitchen appliances can disrupt WiFi
  • WiFi users often confuse Internet and WiFi
  • WiFi users often confuse WiFi connection quality with WiFi speed
  • WiFi users don’t understand how a WiFi extender works
  • WiFi users don’t understand the consequences of daisy-chaining routers
  • WiFi users don’t understand the difference between router, switch, and access point
  • WiFi users don’t understand the difference between WiFi frequency bands
  • WiFi users don’t understand the difference between eternet cables and how they can affect WiFi throughput
  • WiFi users don’t understand the difference between ISP throughput and WiFi throughput
  • WiFi users don’t understand that more transmit power can impair, rather than improve, WiFi connectivity
  • WiFi users don’t always understand that increasing the transmit power in the access point does not always help create a better WiFi connection to a remote WiFi enabled device
  • WiFi users often don’t understand how ethernet cable can enhance WiFi

— Bruce Miller

Check out Wifi Misconceptions for more information.