I recently had the privilege of attending a Certified Network Wireless Administrators (CNWA) course, provided by Certified Network Wireless Professionals and hosted by Tech Data Canada. At the very start of the course, the instructor informed us that by the time the course was finished, we would be “amazed that WiFi ever works at all”. He wasn’t wrong.
More than ever today, we place a growing strain on the capacity of our Internet connections. Multimedia content rich applications such as Netflix, YouTube, Amazon Prime, Hulu, Social Media and downloads account for the majority of data usage. According to Forbes, Netflix alone consumes 15% of the world’s Internet bandwidth. Not to be outdone, the venerable BitTorrent protocol accounts for 22% of upstream bandwidth usage. This puts a strain on service provider infrastructure, but what about in the home and your own experience?
As a university student at Acadia University, I heavily rely on WiFi and Internet connectivity to efficiently and easily manage my study routine. For my first two years at Acadia I lived on residence, where I spent most my time studying and hanging out with friends. Both of these activities mean that I made a lot of use of the WiFi on campus, such as having access to class resources and competing in very competitive Mario kart tournaments. The quality of WiFi in residence differed from the quality of WiFi in the academic buildings. The academic buildings like the library and classrooms had very consistent and good quality WiFi. This is most likely due to the fact that most academic buildings have very large open areas allowing there to be less interference than in residence buildings. WiFi in residence was not bad, although it had its moments where disconnects would happen and the quality/speed would fluctuate. This was likely caused by the high density of the buildings (lots of rooms close together, floors, people and a high concentration of devices). Access Points (APs) at Acadia residences are mounted on the ceiling in public hallways, along with Ethernet port interfaces in each room allowing for a wired connection. Having APs in each room would have made the WiFi experience much smoother and more enjoyable while in residence. Also having my own Personal Area Network (PAN) to manage my devices would’ve been great – something that I’ve learned about at SolutionInc.
We went on site today to complete the installation of our WiFi authentication portal, analytics engine, and site services to a local customer. In case you don’t already know, an access point (AP) is a hardware box that is used to create a wireless local area network (WLAN) by connecting to a wireless router (what you get from your internet service provider). AP’s allow users to roam around your facility without service interruptions and can also be used to track usage.