Slow Internet and Wi-Fi
Does your office Internet connection or Wi-Fi signal seem a little sluggish these days? Many little issues can combine to slow down your wireless network (or “wireless local area network – W-LAN” or “hotspot”). A slow network can be frustrating for you and your staff and can seriously hamper your businesses ability to provide good service, be effective and efficient.
In order to see how your Wi-Fi stacks up, try some of the following to see where your problem might be and what you can do to speed things up.
A little background and education on Wi-Fi:
First and foremost, Wi-Fi is not the same as Internet connection. Your Wi-Fi is your wireless network or Local Area Network that you connect to via a Wireless signal. Your Internet connection is the phone line, cable line, or fiber optic line you purchase from your internet service provider (ISP) to gain access to the Internet. They are not the same thing. For example, you can have a great Wi-Fi signal, but have slow Internet connectivity, or vice versa.
The speed of your office wireless network is determined by two factors:
Wires or LAN Cables. By wires, we mean cables made of copper, fiber and other materials that deliver the internet to your office via a device called a “router”. This is the device companies like Bell, Rogers, Cogeco, TELUS or other ISPs give you when you purchase Internet Connectivity from them.
Wi-Fi. Wi-Fi are radio waves or frequencies that magically and invisibly give you access to servers, printers, e-mail and the Internet without having to plug your machine into anything. This is the wireless local area network (Wi-Fi LAN or “hot spot”).
Many things other than Wi-Fi speed can slow down your computer, and it’s important to check your machine regularly for viruses, updates, drivers, etc.
Test the speed of your Wi-Fi signal
In order to see where your Wi-Fi stands, we need to test it for speed and latency. Using Google, search the two words “speed test.” Right at the top, you’ll be able to select http://www.speedtest.net/ from the search.
Click the green “Run Speed Test” button and you’ll see something like the image below.
The speed test measures your connection’s download speed, upload speed, and latency. The best internet connections have high download and upload speeds and a low latency. A message will appear indicating whether or not your internet speed looks good.
Download Speed. How fast information is being transferred to you
It affects things like how long it takes to download large files or display webpages with lots of images. Download speed is measured in megabits per second (Mbps).
Upload Speed. How fast information can be transferred from you
It affects things like how long it takes to post pictures to social media. Upload speed is measured in megabits per second (Mbps).
Latency. How quickly you get a response from the server
Low response times are important for real-time apps like video chat, IP Phones and online gaming. Latency is measured in milliseconds (ms).
Update your router or access points
Look at your W-Fi Access Point devices or router for any of the following numbers: 802.11a, 802.11b or 802.11g. If your router or Access Points have one of those numbers on it, we’re sorry to inform you that it’s time for you to upgrade to 802.11ac.
If you have less than ten employees who aren’t cloud-based software developers, video editors or who use the internet in ways that suggest they are already extremely aware of networking challenges and solutions, you should purchase (or, in some cases your ISP may provide as part of your service) an “AC” specified router or Access Point that is towards the top-end of a consumer-grade product. Make sure, also, that it carries a “Wi-Fi Certified” logo.
If your company has dependencies on technology, and a lot of them do, it is important to work with a professional technology services company. They will have the experience and know how to make sure you get the router and access point that are robust enough to handle the needs of your office. However, all businesses are different and yours may require multiple devices in various locations depending on the size and duties of your workers.
Wi-Fi strength boosting tips
Here are some do’s and don’ts to follow whether you have a new or old router and access points:
Do. Keep the router in a secure wiring closet, or in a central location if you don’t have wireless access points.
Do. Elevate the router or access points. Keep them in your ceilings so the Wireless signal has a larger range.
Do. Get an uninterruptible power supply or battery pack to protect your investment and network from power outages.
Do. Periodically, unplug and plug back your Internet router to reset he connection to your ISP. If you have a battery pack, make sure to disconnect it from the batter pack to force the reboot.
Don’t. Place the router or access points on the floor.
Don’t. Place the router or access points near objects that can interfere with the signal: concrete walls, microwave ovens, cordless phones, large metal objects.
Capital Isn’t Accessible?
If money is tight, and your technology is old, breaking down, and not helping you do what you need it to do, contact your technology services company. A good and reliable technology partner should be able to provide you with financing at a good rate in order to help you get the cash you need for your upgrade.
You’ve worked hard for your business, and it deserves the very best!