What Are WiFi Heatmaps And How Do They Work?


Have you ever noticed that WiFi speeds can vary dramatically depending on where you are in a building?

Whether you need to send an important email or browse the web, there’s nothing more frustrating than a slow WiFi connection.

Fortunately, the causes of slow WiFi can be easily identified and fixed, thanks to tools such as WiFi heatmap analysis.

What Are WiFi Heatmaps?

A WiFi heatmap is a two-dimensional map that uses colour to show the speed of a network connection in an area, this could be a warehouse, office building, conference centre or anywhere else.

The heatmap uses a traffic light-style colour spectrum to show areas where WiFi is working best - a green colour indicates a good connection in an area, whereas a red colour indicates a weaker connection.

A slow wireless network can be caused by a number of different factors, and WiFi heatmaps are one of the tools that experts use as part of a wider health check of a wireless network (otherwise known as a WiFi survey).

What are the causes of slow WiFi?

Image of an annoyed man using a laptop

There are a number of different reasons why the speed of your WiFi could be slower than desired. These could include:

1.Too few (or too many) WiFi Access Points

You probably are aware that WiFi ‘dead zones’ can be caused by a lack of WiFi access points (AP’s) in an area.

Common sense might suggest that you should adopt a ‘more is better’ approach, but it isn’t always as simple as that. Too many WiFi Access Points can actually be detrimental to the speed of your WiFi network too, so it’s important to consult an expert to make sure you have the right number of AP’s, and that they are located in the right places.

A WiFi Heatmap can help with this by identifying the areas in a premises where more access points may need to be installed, in order to improve wireless speed.

2. Physical obstructions

Physical obstructions, such as walls, furniture and even the number of people in a building can all affect the speed of your wireless network.

A WiFi heatmap can identify physical obstructions in an area that might be preventing a wireless network from working properly.

Once these areas have been identified, adjustments can be made to resolve the issue. The adjustments could be as simple as installing more WiFi Access Points in certain areas, or, when possible, even making structural changes to a building.

3. Other nearby wireless networks

It’s not your imagination, other nearby wireless networks can play havoc with your own WLAN (wireless local area network), and lead to slower network speeds.

Experts can use a WiFi heatmap as a guide to where other competing networks might be affecting your wireless speed.

4. Your WiFi network is not optimised for your needs

Wireless networks can sometimes struggle during times of higher usage. This could mean during a business event or a meeting (which is exactly the time when you want your WiFi to be able to keep up!).

By consulting the experts at Performance Networks, you can get a clear picture of whether or not your current network is up to the job, or requires a replacement.

What Is A WiFi Survey?

A WiFi heatmap forms a part of a wider WiFi survey, which is essentially a health-check for your wireless network, and a way to identify and resolve issues which may be affecting the speed of your network.

There are different types of WiFi surveys, and an expert can help to direct you to the one which is best suited to your needs. The factors usually considered in every WiFi survey are:

  • The size of your premises.
  • The number of devices using your network (capacity).
  • Your current infrastructure.
  • The construction of the building.
  • Interference

Types of WiFi Surveys

Depending on your needs, there are a number of ways in which a WiFi survey can be undertaken, these include:

  • A predictive model WiFi survey (carried out virtually).
  • A pre-deployment onsite WiFi survey.
  • A post-deployment or fault-finding WiFi survey.

Which survey you choose to do can depend on your personal needs and the accessibility of the area. To find out more, visit our WiFi survey page.

 

If you have an existing WiFi network that is underperforming and would like to know more about how Performance Networks can help, then get in touch with us here.

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