Wireless networks are critical for the smooth operation of any business, but like any technology, they are not immune to issues. Connectivity issues cause disruptions to productivity and can ultimately have extremely costly consequences. To minimize downtime and create a stable network, it is important to understand common problems and their respective solutions. In this blog we will explore five of the ten most common issues businesses face when it comes to their wireless network. In many cases, there are simple troubleshooting steps you can take to identify, isolate, or even solve the problem.
Slow or Inconsistent Network Speeds
Slow or inconsistent network speeds are an extremely common issue that businesses face. It causes a wide range of issues depending on the type of business not limited to:
- Inability to process payment transactions.
- Disruption to video or voice communications.
- Interrupted security cameras or access control systems.
- Inability to access business data.
- Connection issues to printers or other devices.
This can be caused by a multitude of things but is generally tied to an overload of devices on the network, interference from neighboring networks, or outdated and insufficient network hardware.
It is always best to start with the basics when troubleshooting a network issue. Restart any affected devices as this will usually resolve isolated, or temporary glitches. Check your physical connections like ethernet cables, power cables, and ensure your network switches are securely connected and undamaged. If you have verified that everything is connected as it should be, you can move on to analyzing your network settings and configuration. This includes your security settings, Wi-Fi channels, and SSID (network name).
If these basic troubleshooting steps are not improving your network speeds, it may be due to interference or insufficient network hardware. Once you have ruled out any basic causes for the problem, it is best to reach out to an IT infrastructure provider to have an analysis done. If your business has grown, or the amount of IoT devices has increased, you most likely need to upgrade your network infrastructure.
Coverage and dead zones
Coverage issues and dead zones are extremely frustrating, especially in work environments where mobility throughout the building is required. This can mean there are areas of weak wireless signal or no ability to connect to the network at all.
Dead zones or coverage issues can be tied to a few different things including insufficient or incorrect access point (AP) placement, overloaded APs, environmental factors, or interference from building materials like concrete.
If you are noticing new dead zone or coverage issues where you previously did not, you should start with the basics listed above such as restarting devices, and checking to see that your AP cables are connected and undamaged. If this is an existing problem, you may need to consider adding or moving APs around to reach the desired coverage levels.
An IT infrastructure provider will be able to complete a survey or a heat map to show you the weak spots in your building. This is very helpful in creating a plan for your network upgrade, or to understand where additional APs may be needed.
Wireless networks are susceptible to security threats such as data breaches, malware attacks, and unauthorized access. Outdated, unmanaged, or weak security practices elevate the risk of these threats impacting your business.
If you are noticing unauthorized activity on your network or if you have experienced a cybersecurity attack or event, you need to act quickly to resolve the issue which usually requires 3rd party intervention. However, it is equally important to solve the issue that allowed for the vulnerability in the first place.
Start out by reviewing the security measures you have in place and when they were developed. Educate your entire user base on strong password usage with frequent mandatory changes. Analyze the encryption protocols of all existing tools used, incorporate access control processes to ensure employees only see what is pertinent to their position, and consider implementing a managed cybersecurity solution.
Please note: if you are experiencing an active wireless network security attack, do not attempt to troubleshoot on your own if you are not a cybersecurity professional. Please call an expert to ensure that the attack is stopped and handled as efficiently as possible. These troubleshooting tips are intended to be suggestions for improving your security practices.
Network congestion is frustrating and causes disruptions like slow or inconsistent network speeds. It occurs when there are simply too many users or devices trying to utilize the network. We are seeing this issue more and more frequently with the general increase of IoT devices.
Slow connectivity or inability to connect due to an overloaded network caused by an increase in users or devices.
To identify if your issues are due to network congestion, start by analyzing the growth of your business and teams. If you recently increased the amount of people on your team, your network would need to be updated as well to support the new traffic. If your business hosts events with large amounts of guests, you may need to factor that into the bandwidth you require. Across all industries, we are using more and more IoT devices, and this is a significant contributor to congestion issues.
Interference can occur from many everyday electronic devices leading to connectivity issues or dropped signals. Environmental factors such as walls, furniture, and physical barriers can also impact your network.
Connectivity issues due to interference from electronic devices such as microwaves, cordless phones, Bluetooth devices, neighboring networks, or environmental factors.
Identify any potential sources of interference. Ensuring that your data center or closet is uninhibited by signal interrupting building materials or furniture is a great first step. Certain electronic devices like microwave ovens, Bluetooth and radio frequency emitted devices can impact your network so it is important to factor in their location in your building.
There are a lot of components to a wireless network, and it is extremely helpful to understand where different issues stem from to keep interruptions to your business at a minimum. Here we discussed five of the ten most common issues and their respective troubleshooting tips. In part two we will continue exploring the various issues that can arise.
If you have any questions about or are experiencing any of the issues we mentioned in this blog, we would love to help you find a solution. Our team of IT infrastructure experts can help you understand what is happening in your IT environment and design a customized solution to fit your needs. Reach out to us at ContactUs@Matrix-NDI.com or call 763-475-5500.