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Taking on Today’s Most Common Challenges with WiFi Networks

November 04, 2021

Taking on Today’s Most Common Challenges with WiFi Networks
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Ensuring productivity of network users has always been job number one for IT teams. To do that, they’ve had to overcome a number of networking challenges through the years.

What are the most common challenges today?

Shelby Skrhak talks with Dan Klimke, Director of Product Marketing at NetAlly, about:

  • Networking challenges in 1993 versus today
  • The pandemic’s effect on Wi-Fi networks
  • Common mistakes people make

1993 vs. today

The biggest change over the last few decades has been the technology underpinning our networks.

“Back in 1993, Ethernet switching was just coming into play and most networks were shared media using hubs,” Dan says.

As the technology has evolved, the specific technical issues have evolved too. To put it simply, everything has become more and more complex.

Nonetheless, there are a few evergreen concerns that organizations still attend to today —namely, reducing mean time to repair and maintaining knowledge of who’s on the network and where they are connected.

“The challenge with that is having the right visibility to get the job done,” Dan says.

Pandemic effects

First and foremost, the pandemic brought about challenges related to remote work.

“Supporting remote sites has always been difficult for network operations,” Dan says.

But when travel to remote sites became more challenging, experts had to figure out how to troubleshoot remotely.

NetAlly has built new capabilities into their tool set to allow for this. For instance, network engineers can now remotely connect to the analyzer from wherever they are stationed.

Common mistakes

Another new feature from NetAlly is the AirMapper. It allows users to generate various heat maps to show metrics about a given Wi-Fi network.

Because of this new feature, NetAlly has pinpointed some common mistakes that all share overprovisioning as a root cause. In fact, overprovisioning a Wi-Fi network can be just as damaging, if not more so, than underprovisioning one.

Co-channel interference

Overprovisioning can lead to a couple of types of interference—chief among them, co-channel interference.

What this means is that you’ve got too many access points and networks on the same channel.

“It causes problems for everybody because there’s not enough airtime for all those stations to speak,” Dan says.

Beacon proliferation

This is the result of having too many SSIDs. Beacons are important because they alert devices that they exist and that they can be connected to. Too many of them, however, take up valuable airtime.

Adjacent channel interference

This is when two channels overlap. It's usually caused by someone not knowing how to properly operate a Wi-Fi network.

Do more with less

Nowadays, companies can do more with smaller packages. According to Dan, that’s a good thing.

“It really means that users of network test technology are getting far more for their dollar today than they would have in the past.”

For more information, contact Christopher Maxick at christopher.maxick@ingrammicro.com.

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