5 Tips for successful Business WiFi


We have all experienced terrible WiFi, whether in a motel, caravan park or at local café: but it doesn’t have to be that way.

 It’s a matter of knowing what your guests require to experience the best WiFi connection to the internet. Then either improving on what you are already using, or design a new network completely.

 SRF Strategies—Technology Solutions can assess your current set up, make recommendations, design an upgrade or new install and provide ongoing support for the wireless network.

1. Do what is right not what is easy

 Providing WiFi for your guests is just that—it’s for your guests, and should meet or even exceed their expectations.

What do guests want? They want to have Fast internet; Free Internet; and Easy to connect to Internet.

Looking for the cheap and easy way to install and provide WiFi to your guests, is often not the best for both the guest and the business.

 2. Plan the WiFi Channels

 Whether it’s a single router with its WiFi, or 20 WiFi Access Points, set the frequency channels to avoid Co-Channel Interference and Adjacent Channel Interference, both between your devices and what your close neighbours may be using.

For the 2.4GHz opt for using channels 1, 6, and 11

 3. 2.4GHz and 5GHz

 Most modern devices can connect to both 2.4GHz and 5GHz, so design your WiFi to provide both.

The problem with 2.4GHz is that it’s crowded and over-saturated. Devices everywhere use it: Microwave Ovens, Bluetooth, Cordless Phones, etc. These all produce interference.

There are more channels available in the 5GHz band, and it provides a smaller, tighter controlled coverage pattern.

Design for 5GHz coverage, and then turn off the excess 2.4Ghz radios.

 4. 20MHz Channel Width

With 2.4Ghz using 20MHz bandwidth is a given. But in 5GHz you can choose either 20, 40 or higher channel widths.

Best practice is to use 20MHz for the 5GHz band as well. The reasons are that many devices can’t use the 40MHz channels, and  it provides a stronger received signal strength to the user.

 5. SoHo vs Enterprise Gear

  I know we all like getting something for the cheapest price that gets the job done. But with business WiFi you need to avoid the Small Office/Home Office (SoHo) equipment and use enterprise class gear.

There is a huge difference between their capabilities—RAM, CPU, antennas and management software. As well as the SoHo gear being  generally built with cheaper, poorer quality electronics.

SoHo gear is designed for home and small office with a handful of devices connecting. But a motel, caravan park or large business is not a home environment and needs to be of a higher quality and functionality.

 Extra Tips

 · Place Access Points strategically

· Avoid Captive Portals

· Factor in building construction materials

· Why throttle bandwidth—download speed?

· Validate your WiFi network—use a professional to survey the site

· Separate networks for guests and management





D-Link AC1900 versus Ubiquiti UAP-AC-M

My business is to consult and install various networking devices from Ubiquiti, and so I am all to aware of how much better and more configurable they are compared to the run of the mill routers that come with our ISP subscriptions. In my office, which is part of my home, we are connected to the internet through an older model D-Link AC1900 router. It’s between three and four years of age and has been generally a good replacement for the cheaper Netcom router provided when I connected to the NBN: more features and a better WiFi signal coverage. But is it as good as the Ubiquiti access points?

Unfortunately when I came to conduct this experiment I didn’t have a more suitable Ubiquiti Unifi Access Point on hand, so I have had to do it with a Unifi AC Mesh unit. There’s nothing wrong with this particular unit, other than its main function is to be link with one or more other units wirelessly, to give good WiFi coverage of open spaces: caravan parks, markets etc.

One major difference between the two access points being compared is the almost simple plug and play of the D-Link, compared to the time and knowledge it takes to “adopt” the UAP-AC-M into the Unifi Controller software running on my laptop. Again for this exercise I used a Unifi controller on a Windows laptop rather than a Ubiquiti Cloud Key or some other configuration.

I didn’t go into the details of setting up the UAP-AC-M on the controller, or show the huge range of possible configurations available, including VLANs, but if you are interested in knowing more please contact me. Also there are some really good YouTube videos done by Willie Howe at H5 Technology and Chris Sherwood of Crosstalk Solutions detailing a lot of information on the deploying of Ubiquiti devices.


Network setup

 The network was set up with two WiFi access points, both broadcasting 2.4GHz and 5GHz. Using the WiFi Analyzer and Speedtest apps on my Android phone, I conducted both speed and signal strength tests at specific distances from the two access points: 2m, 13m and 25m (outdoors). The results are summarised in the table above.

Putting aside any technology differences between the two devices, and the fact that the UAP-AC-M is not designed to be just a standalone access point, the results show that there is little difference in upload and download speeds between them. The biggest difference is in the signal strength, and the ability of the UAP-AC-M to penetrate building walls etc.

When I have a Ubiquiti Unifi access point, such as a UAP-AC-Pro, then I will conduct this same exercise again.

For the complete run down on this exercise, please watch the video.