Wireless Signal ObstaclesPW Data Group
Are you happy with your Wireless Signal?
Wireless networks aren’t magic, they´re radio. Just as your car radio signal drops because of distance or obstacles like buildings, mountains, and tunnels, your wireless network signal has limitations. In fact, a wireless network signal is much less robust than a radio station because of the frequency used. While a mountain will block a radio station, a filing cabinet might block your network connection. These are just some of the wireless signal obstacles that can occur within any network.
Obvious factors creating Wireless Signal obstacles:
- Physical obstructions
- Network range and distances between devices
- Wireless network interference
- Signal sharing
Well known factors creating Wireless Signal obstacles:
- Network usage and load
- Poorly deployed antennas
- Local environment characteristics
- Spectrum channel limitations
- Signal reflection
- Wireless signal restriction
Lesser know factors creating Wireless Signal obstacles:
- Transmitter power limitations
- Backwards compatibility with older standards
- Polarisation of signal
- Speed loss due to wireless overheads
- Lowering performance to stay connected
The most common wireless network types (802.11b and 802.11g) are “two wall” technologies. This means the signal can only go through two normal walls before it becomes too degraded for use. Extra thick walls, or plaster walls with a steel mesh inside, or foil backing for fire protection will degrade or stop the signal quicker.
Preventing wireless signal obstacles when placing access points:
Floors and ceilings count as walls too, so learn to think in three dimensions when placing access points. Try and avoid windows and glass doors too as wireless network signal goes through glass as easily as it goes through air.
Wireless networks are a lot like the old Ethernet hub networks. The network is a shared medium and as a result, the more clients that are associated to a wireless access point, the less bandwidth each client will receive. Bandwidth is also affected by received signal strength – the lower the received signal strength the lower the throughput and, therefore, bandwidth.