Keys to an improved wireless network
Networks are a mystery. We can help.
Trying to build a wireless network for your shop can be complicated. Here, we’ve laid out the basics of where you might be, how to strengthen your speed, and boost your signal to improve your performance. Let’s get started –
Realistic network layout
Ideal network layout
Perform these steps to determine where you need to go next –
Step 1 – Test Speed
Go to speedtest.net and run a speed test on your front office computer or a computer connected to your router through an ethernet cable. Document your upload and download speeds. Ideal speeds for a small business should be between 50-100Mbps.
Step 2 – Test Distance
Find the current location of your wireless router, then get a phone or tablet and travel to the furthest point in your shop. Go to speedtest.att.com from your mobile device and test your speeds from this point.
Step 3 – Test Load
On a normal operational business day, perform a speed test at speedtest.net and see if your numbers are the same. Your wireless router should be able to handle the load of 20+ devices at any given time.
Common shop network issues and resolutions
Speed test shows less than 50Mbps on computer connected via ethernet
If your speed test fails to reach 50Mbps download speeds, we recommend contacting your Internet Service Provider to see what your current speeds should be. You may need to start by upgrading your internet package to improve speeds. Please contact a local network consultant for help.
Speed test shows less than my current ISP package
If your speeds are lower than your current package, you may have a weak modem and/or router. Contact a local network consultant for questions about upgrading network equipment.
Speeds are reduced at a distance
If speeds are reduced in the distance test on step three, you most likely have an issue with the range of your router. Things like network interference with walls, cars, and other electronics can cause this. We recommend an additional access point for your shop. Find a network consultant in your area for guidance on setting up an access point.
Without Access Point:
With Access Point:
Speeds are reduced under heavy network load
If speeds are above 50Mbps in step one, but significantly less in step three, you may have a weak router. Your router controls traffic for all devices and may not be able to handle all the wireless devices at once. This is a lack of bandwidth issue. We recommend upgrading your wireless router. Please contact a local network consultant for questions about upgrading your router.
What if my internet goes down?
Although never anticipated, Internet Service Providers have issues and your network may collapse as a result. As a redundancy, we recommend purchasing a wifi hotspot from a cellphone provider to connect your devices in the event of a catastrophe.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a "wireless router"?
A wireless router is a small box, typically with antennas attached, that transmits internet signal from an ethernet cable, to a wireless signal. If you have WIFI, you already have a wireless router.
What is a "modem"?
A modem is a device typically provided by your ISP (Internet Service Provider) that converts a signal from coax/fiber-optic cables to ethernet. This device allows you to connect your computer through an ethernet cable or connect to a router, allowing you to have WIFI at your business. Unfortunately, the devices rented/borrowed from ISPs are not suited to handle the amount of traffic for a tech-savvy shop, so we recommend a business-class Netgear modem to help you.
To locate your internet modem, look for a small box provided by your ISP that has a coax cable, ethernet cable, and power cable connected. This device should be located near your router, but does not have to be.
What is an "access point"?
An internet access point is a device that extends the range of your current wireless router. Access points can be attached to your router through an ethernet cable, then placed in an area of your shop that your wireless router cannot reach. An access point will not direct device traffic or control bandwidth, it simply extends the range. We recommend a business-class Linksys access point for medium-sized shops. Multiple access points can be attached for larger shops, if needed.
What is "ethernet"?
An ethernet cable is a wired format of internet networking. Before wifi, devices needed to be connected via ethernet, a cable slightly larger than a phone jack. Ethernet cables are still used as a faster & more reliable format of networking as well as connections for modems & routers. Phones, tablets and some newer computers do not have ethernet ports and must be connected through wifi.
What should my internet speeds be?
Internet speeds are measured in Mbps (Megabits per second) and Gbps (Gigabits per second). Most homes and small businesses operate on Mbps, whereas most larger businesses run on faster Gbps internet.
Typical internet speeds for a small business should be between 50-100Mbps download and about 10Mbps upload. In this scenario, bigger is always better. If your speeds surpass these numbers, but you’re still experiencing slow speeds, your problem may be in your internal network devices slowing you down.
How can I find my current internet speed package?
Your internet speed can typically be found on your monthly statement or by calling your Internet Service Provider and asking a representative.
Still need help?
Find a network professional in your area! Search Google for “Network consultant near me.”
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