The times we are all living in, heavily relied on wireless network more than cable network, even though technically, we still have cable plugged into our access points like router. We prefer Wi-Fi over direct cable line to our system due to the unnecessary hassle of creating a cables nest.
Yet, most of the time we do not get the right signal, network, high bandwidth and so on which leaves us either cursing the manufacturers or scratching our head to figure out if we are doing something wrong. Since it is easy to trash talk, most of us take that route rather than figuring out if we are doing anything wrong.
Improving your access point
All these nuisance and relevant issues rely on how we have configured and placed our access point. The optimal location for your access point relies on the scale of area you are setting up your wireless network. Other things that involves facts like if the signal goes beyond the borders, the kind of interference already exist in the network and around your WAP etc.
The best thing to do is to run an inspection in the area is see the possible roots of the problem. This is called a site survey. Site survey is as trouble free as running a wireless capable laptop and looking for bunch of SSIDs in the site. In complex scenarios, you hire people who has special equipment. They come in and run some inspection with their equipment and carefully plan out the best place to put your WAP and other necessary information to get the best out of your wireless.
One of the things that you want to look for is, your signal do not need to go beyond your range where you do not even go, is the right antenna. So, let’s take a dive into the kind of antennas you can get your hands on and out there.
Omni-directional and centred antenna
Generally for a typical network, you would want a blanket coverage with your WAP placed with an omni-directional antenna in the centre of the area. An omni-directional antenna by definition is quite self explanatory but the it works is, the radio wave flows outward from the WAP. This has quite an advantage, which is the ease of the use, anything else within the signal radius can easily access the network. Most wireless networks out there use this combination. Specially in the consumer space.
The other kind of an antenna is the standard straight-wire antennas which provides lot of omni-directional function, called dipole antennas. Dipole antennas looks like a stick. Inside it they have two antenna arms or poles neatly aligned on the antenna’s axis, therefore the dipole. They are consist of an electrically conducting wire or a rod which is typically one half the length of the max bandwidth expected. The rod or wire is split at the centre with an insulator.