When it comes to setting up or maintaining a WiFi network, one of the main concerns many organizations have – especially organizations with a lot of people and devices – is how to reduce WiFi congestion.
WiFi congestion occurs when too many devices on a single network send data packets simultaneously (which refer to the "units" of data sent between two computers over a network) or when too many devices try to access the network. This can cause the connection speed to drop, and it can also cause the network to become unreliable and end up crashing.
Fortunately, there are some practical steps you can take to reduce congestion on your WiFi network and keep your connection fast and reliable. The following are six strategies you can use:
1. Purchase More Internet Bandwidth
Bandwidth is the amount of data that can be sent and received simultaneously. If your bandwidth is too low, your network won't be able to handle all the requests from the connected devices on your network, which will result in congestion. The easiest way to solve this problem is to purchase more bandwidth from your Internet service provider.
Of course, this may only sometimes be an option due to cost or other constraints, but it is worth considering if your current bandwidth needs to be increased to support all the connected devices on your network. Growing and expanding companies often purchase more Internet bandwidth as their business scales. Upload speeds are equally as important as download speeds. Most cable carriers offer shared bandwidth limit upload speed. Consider a fiber connection instead.
2. Use Quality of Service (QoS) Features
When congestion occurs, applications being used can slow down and even crash. If this happens to applications that are essential to your business, it can significantly impact your operations. Quality of Service (QoS) features allow you to prioritize specific applications and data packets so they get sent first and are less likely to be affected by congestion.
QoS helps to ensure that your most essential applications still get the bandwidth they need and remain operational, even when the network is congested. A good example of this is to prioritize voice traffic over video traffic.
3. Do Incremental Updates For A Good Network Design
A poorly designed network can make congestion more likely to occur and can be challenging to fix. For example, if multiple access points are placed too close to each other, this can result in interference and congestion. Small, incremental changes can be made to strengthen the network and reduce congestion.
For example, you can move access points further apart and/or create more channels for data packets and minimize interference. You can also switch your APs to less congested channels, upgrade your equipment, and set up additional APs in areas where there are a lot of devices connected to the network. Small changes like this can go a long way toward reducing congestion.
4. Implement High Availability Features For System Capacity
High-availability features are technologies and systems designed to make your network more robust and reliable. These high-availability features, which include redundancy, load balancing, and failover mechanisms, protect your network in case congestion occurs. The following is a brief explanation of these high-availability features:
- Redundancy: Redundancy is the practice of having multiple components in place to handle a single task. For example, you can set up multiple access points to handle more traffic and minimize the risk of congestion. Doing so can reduce the risk of system failure due to congestion, as multiple components can be used to handle data traffic instead of relying on a single component.
- Load balancing: Load balancing is the practice of equally distributing data traffic across multiple components. This helps to ensure that no single component is overloaded with requests, which can cause congestion. Load balancing differs from redundancy in that multiple components are used to handle the same task but in an equal manner.
- Failover mechanisms: Failover mechanisms can protect your network from system failures due to congestion. When the primary component of a task fails, failover mechanisms allow the secondary component to take over and ensure the task is still completed.
For example, if one access point becomes overloaded and fails, the other can take over to maintain network access. This helps to provide a seamless experience for users even when congestion occurs.
5. Analyze Devices
It is crucial to analyze the devices connected to your network and assess which ones need to be replaced, reconfigured, or turned off. This is especially true for devices that may use too much of the network's resources or cause interference.
Checking which devices are connected to your network can also help you understand which components or applications are causing congestion and how to fix them.
Additionally, this can be beneficial for optimizing your network's bandwidth usage and ensuring that the most important applications are given priority. By analyzing devices connected to your network, you can quickly identify potential sources of congestion and take steps to fix them.
6. Apply Access Control Lists For Possible Security Attacks
Access control lists (ACLs) are powerful tools that can be used to secure your network from potential security risks and malicious traffic. An ACL is essentially a set of rules that specifies which devices and applications are allowed access to the network.
By setting up an ACL, you can create a list of permitted traffic, which will help reduce the amount of unwanted traffic accessing your network and clogging up your bandwidth.
This is also one of the most effective ways to prevent security attacks, such as denial-of-service (DoS) or distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks. An ACL can also limit certain traffic, such as peer-to-peer applications or streaming services, that may cause congestion on your network. This ensures that the most important applications are prioritized, and your bandwidth is used more efficiently.
Still Stuck? Hire A Professional To Help You Out
WiFi congestion can be a serious problem for organizations of all sizes, leading to slower connections and unreliable services. Although these tips can certainly help you avoid congestion or at least reduce the risk of congestion affecting your day-to-day operations, sometimes the best solution is to hire a professional.
At Hummingbirds Networks, we have extensive experience helping organizations reduce WiFi congestion and optimize their networks. Our team of experts can assess your current network setup, identify any potential sources of congestion, and then work with you to develop an effective solution.
With our years of experience, we can help you create a reliable and efficient network that will improve the user experience and ensure maximum uptime.
If you need professional assistance in assessing your business’ network connectivity, learn about our wireless site survey service here.