7 Common 802.11 Configuration Errors and How to Fix Them

Follow these best practices to optimize wireless networks.

With updates to 802.11, organizations do not need to scrap wireless networks that grew over time, access point by access point, to cover an entire building. But they do need to re-evaluate those networks to be sure that they meet organizational goals.

Once any gaps or performance issues are identified, the network team can set an action plan. Here is a list of common 802.11 configuration errors and quick fixes that can improve performance.

1. Incorrect channel assignments in the 2.4GHz band

Use only channels 1, 6 and 11 (even in Europe), and position APs to minimize adjacency of identical channels.

2. Not addressing wireless’s 3D nature

Wireless signals propagate through surfaces, so stagger APs on adjacent floors to maximize coverage and minimize overlap.

3. Too much or too little authentication

Integrate wireless authentication (based on 802.11i/WPA2) with enterprise directory and wireless guest services to ensure that users aren’t frustrated trying to use the wireless network.

4. Incorrect power levels

Generally, turn down power and increase AP density (counterintuitive, but true).

5. Ignoring 5GHz band

Use the 5GHz band because it offers higher speeds and is much less crowded than the

2.4GHz band (802.11n and 802.11ac being the most effective in the 5GHz band).

6. Accepting the defaults for "minimum allowed speed"

Increase minimum allowed speeds. Beacon frames and minimum allowed connection speeds should be raised above 11Mbps to ensure edge devices don’t degrade services networkwide.

7. Not taking mobile devices into account

Support physical mobility for tablets and smartphones, which users may tote around in the environment more than notebooks.

Download our free Network Infrastructure reference guide for more information.

Aug 09 2013