Interference combat guide for WiFi networks: Part 1


Non-WiFi interference combat guide-1 thumbnailWe often hear that WiFi network performance degrades due to radio interference. We also hear that interference is a complex beast which cannot be easily tamed. There are two types of interference sources which affect WiFi network performance – non-WiFi sources and WiFi sources. This post provides a guide to some practical steps to combat often cited non-WiFi interference sources such as microwave oven, Bluetooth, baby monitors, cordless phones, wireless cameras and jammers. The WiFi interference sources will be discussed in later post. 

Overall, some awareness of environment around WiFi network coupled with some simple network planning steps can help win over non-WiFi interference to great extent. Additionally, ability to detect high interference levels on WiFi channels helps detect “unmanaged” sources of interference such as jammer or any unknown source. Many WLAN and wireless security systems today have ability to monitor interference levels on channels on 24×7 basis to facilitate such detection.

Hemant Chaskar

Hemant Chaskar is Vice President for Technology and Innovation at AirTight. He oversees R&D, product strategy, and intellectual property.Hemant has more than 15 years of experience in the networking, wireless, and security industry and holds several patents in these areas.

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  1. Amir says

    I was wondering about the effect of devices like the Mi-Fi and Cradlepoint on the design of enterprise networks, I mean users will bring them into the enterprise and turn them on, what would be the implications?

    • Hemant Chaskar says

      Mi-Fi and Cradelpoint are definitely a concern from security standpoint and their wireless activity needs to be continuously monitored. Tools such as WIPS should for this purpose. On the performance side, I would like to state two things:
      1) These gadgets use co-existing WiFi, so it is in the realm of WiFi interference.
      2) Since they will typically perform relatively low volume traffic exchanges, generally they do not impact enterprise WiFi performance unless there are so many of them. In any case, WiFi interference
      also needs to be monitored just like non-WiFi interference and I will
      discuss that in detail in Part II of the post.

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