Common issues with WAP location

We have already discussed some tips for choosing the best location for your WAP. This article is going to explore some of the common issues related to WAP location and the ways they can be improved.

Increasing the gain

Antennas are there to strengthen and focus radio frequency output from a WAP. The ratio on which it is increased, is called the gain. This gain is measured by decibels (dB). Generally the gain from a typical WAP is 2 dB which quite enough to cover a reasonable area but certainly not ideal for large or wider area. You can increase that signal with a bigger antenna.

Many of the WAPs have removable antennas that you can swap with any other compatible antennas. If you are in a situation where you need the gain up, you can try replacing the current antennas with bigger antennas for omni-directional and centred setup WAP. With the kind of antenna you have, you can get insane amount of gain as high as 11dB. That is mind blowing gain!

These antennas are called gain antenna. Gain antenna picks up weaker signals and amplify the transmitted signals. You can find them in several common flavours. If you need the gain distributed evenly in all directions, you can increase the size of the dipole. There are other kind of antennas like parabolic dish-type antennas and multi-element Yagi antennas.

These kinds of antennas increase the gain in any specific direction and can reduce the gain in all other directions. You can easily detect a Yagi antenna if you see one. They look like one of those retro television set had, that received the over-the-air television signals but much smaller. Generally, the more the elements a Yagi has, the higher the directional gain will be.

Polarising issue

Polarisation is an electromagnetic property which is transmitted by Antennas signal. Without getting too deep into the root and nitty-gritty of the polarisation, just know that polarization use the signal have the same alignment as of the antenna. For instance, if the antenna on your WAP or computer is aligned up or down, your signal will be transmitted in vertical alignment. Just like that if you tile your antenna to the side, you will have an horizontal signal alignment or horizontal polarization.

Of course, you can also align your antenna in specific location somewhere between the vertical and horizontal polarity.

One of the fun facts is, your laptop or notebook generally have vertical polarization. This is because, the antenna goes up along the side of the lid, next to the screen. So when you open the screen, it is generally open to a near vertical position. You can use this useful tip to achieve a good compromise supporting connection to clients with different antenna polarization by orienting the WAP antennas on a 45 degree angle.

To get the best connection between a client and WAP, the wireless should have the same polarization. Things go horrible when one of the WAP has its antenna on a different polarization than the clients, the strength of the signal drops dead in such case. It is quite easy to fix polarization of the antenna for your desktop. Conversely, things are quite challenging for the devices like laptops, notebooks, smartphones, tablets. If your WAP has more than one point, try to orient those antennas at different directions to accommodate various client configurations.

The right orientation comes out by testing. Try one vertical and one horizontal and go ahead sample the clients throughout the coverage area to check connection strength. The try some other orientations until you get that sweet spot!