In 2011, the UN declared Internet access a human right, and declared that it was against international law to disconnect people. And in the Information Age, it’s become a necessary aspect of many businesses. As offices end up supporting more and more people with Wi-Fi, it creates a whole lot of strain on your office network, which slows down the Internet, which in turn causes productivity to take a nosedive. To make sure that you don’t unwittingly break international law, here are some everyday items and situations you should be aware of that are bringing your network to a crawl I recently read about on entrepreneur.com:
Tinted glass: Tinted glass often has metal additives that heavily absorb Wi-Fi signals. That means it will impact your signal if you have an office that’s full of wall-to-wall windows or glass conference rooms.
Mirrors: Since they reflect back the signal, mirrors are a huge hindrance to Wi-Fi. Make sure the router isn’t between the router and your desk.
Water: Just like glass, water’s density hurts Wi-Fi by absorbing and trapping signals. This is the same reason that signals often drop at the beach or near large bodies of water.
Chicken wire: Metal chicken wire is a common construction material. Yet this metal that lines your walls takes up your Wi-Fi signal. Make sure you have enough equipment to make up the difference; you might need an extender or access point to boost the router signal.
BYOD: Bringing your own device is a major tax on Wi-Fi. Most routers have trouble handling more than 20 devices, a number that’s easy to exceed thanks to the tablets, laptops and phones that we all carry around.
Board meetings: Before any meeting starts and everybody starts downloading the same presentation at the same time, make sure that your bandwidth is up to standards.
Too many different networks: In some offices, especially those without a formal IT department, it’s common to use several different routers running on different channels and passwords to increase coverage. Yet Wi-Fi networks close to each other often end up interfering with each other.
Bad spacing: A consistent supportive signal requires equipment to be spaced throughout the office. Don’t lock the router in the back cabinet and seat your team near the front by glass doors.
Sub-par equipment: Businesses often use equipment provided by bottom-shelf routers, meaning that they often run into performance issues. When setting up Wi-Fi, it pays to invest in a high-end router.
File cabinets: Don’t place your routers or access points in a room filled with metal file cabinets.
Kitchen: Kitchen appliances such as refrigerators and microwaves eat away at the strength of your Wi-Fi. This means keep equipment out of the range of the kitchen.
People: Even you are a deterrent to proper Wi-Fi. The human body is more than half water, and crowds of people often double as Wi-Fi barriers. To minimize this ultimately inevitable hindrance, mount your access point in the ceiling.