Problem of the Week: Understanding How Your Network Performs When It’s Busy

It’s important to understand how well your Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN) performs when it’s at its busiest, as this shows the true strengths and weaknesses of a network.  

WiFi is a resilient protocol, which means it has the ability to continue providing an acceptable level of service even when there are issues or challenges at play.  For example, even if poorly configured, the network will continue to perform okay, as long as only a few client devices place demands on it. You might not even be aware of any issues.  This changes when a large number of devices all try to use the WiFi at the same time. This is when problems will be exposed.

To avoid being caught unawares, follow these steps.

Step 1: Discover your network’s busiest time.  This could be when students or employees first arrive in the morning; during presentations or standardized testing; or at any other time.  To get the data you need, use Wyebot’s award-winning Wireless Intelligence Platform (WIP). WIP automatically creates and displays graphs with data on Access Points, Wireless Clients, Client Distribution, and Airtime and Client Utilization.  Data can be viewed from the past day, week, or month, making it easy to see when the network was at its busiest.

Step 2: Schedule network tests to run during high demand periods.  WIP’s network tests measure many network components, including wireless throughput, response times of internal servers (DHCP, RADIUS, DNS), and the response times of external websites.  The tests can be scheduled to run and monitored remotely. The results will tell you if your users can expect a strong wireless experience. Any issues are reported automatically along with suggested actionable solutions and you can be alerted if there is anything out of the parameters that you set. 

Step 3: Run the same network tests during off-hours to compare the results between busy and slow times.  This lets you see how users impact the network, and will help you plan for any necessary network expansion and improvements.

Use WIP to proactively monitor your network and ensure optimization no matter the demand.

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