In the world of IT, lots of things keep us up at night. Among them, Radio Frequency (RF) interference. RF interference is generally a very tricky (and often misunderstood) issue in a modern office environment when it comes to Wi-Fi. If you’re an owner of a business or hotel, this is not a subject to be taken lightly. If anything, RF interference is as much fun as a sore back or a lingering headache. Yet, for the Wi-Fi geeks, solving RF interference can be a fun challenge.
Let’s examine some commonly experienced (yet rarely solved for) aspects of operating a reliable Wi-Fi network:
“RF design best practice”
The good old way to address RF Interference is to rely on extensive “best practice” guides that are nothing more than a bunch of knobs that need manual tuning (…wait for it…) by a specialized RF expert. If you’re a small business or a hotel with 100-300 guest rooms, the chance of you having someone like this on staff is the equivalent of finding a $20 bill under your sleepless pillow.
“Best practice” also involves conducting site surveys or periodically using spectrum analyzers to gather and analyze RF parameters. Come again? What!? Ask your favorite Managed Service Provider (MSP) about spectrum analyzers. There’s a great chance they’ll know what you mean.
Given how prevalent and dynamic the Wi-Fi environment is (literally) a “metric ton of data” can pass through an Access Point every hour of a day), making sense of the root cause of RF interference is not a task for the faint hearted. Sure, you could try turning any of the three dozen “RF knobs” to get the “right performance” for all those iOS, Android, Windows, or dozens of other devices in your office. And don’t forget the wireless printers and projectors. All of this might seem easy, but its really not (unless you come from a different planet — where most RF experts live).
The simplest vendor best practice (which makes you question why you spent so much money buying the system in the first place) is to increase the power budget on the radios to compensate for the interference. Forget about neighbors – just “crank it.” (Oh snap!). Remember Newton’s law back in high school? An increase in the power budget causes a reaction and “to every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.” And so you guessed it, an increase in power will absolutely cause interference elsewhere. Feeling dizzy? There’s more. Another common vendor best practice is to increase capacity. “What? Buy more??” “Yes, to add capacity you need to add APs.” “But wait, won’t that add more interference?”…sigh.
The truth is recalibrating the RF environment takes anywhere from a few hours to days, especially to “get it right” (or so we hope). Many of you may also have forked out a fortune to have onsite RF experts fine tune your network (or are about to spend some serious dough). In an ideal world with an army of IT staff and unlimited budgets, all of this would have seemed plausible and justifiable.
Hope, at last.
But, the world of Wi-Fi has made advances and there’s a new and more pragmatic solution to dealing with sleepless nights caused by RF interference.
At KodaCloud, we believe in a “No Worries” approach to a Wi-Fi network. Our Cloud Service Wi-Fi uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) to learn, adapt and automatically adjust interference parameters in the network we manage, based on learning and real time calculations to compensate for interference. The AI expert system also automatically increases or decreases transmit power and/or receive sensitivity based on the results of the calculations — until the user receives the best RF signal, at which point it locks down the tuning steps and feeds them into the Learning System. All of this happens in a matter of seconds or minutes – not hours or days, even when you do not know that there’s a problem in the first place. KodaCloud’s system is able to collect contextual information in real time, correlate only the variables necessary to deliver a strong RF signal to the end user device and implement an action almost instantaneously. The system also increases capacity to all end users as a result of the action. No human intervention needed. Effortless.
So, if you’re tired of that thing interfering with your sleep, and you do want to engage experts from a different planet, call us or one of our MSP partners. Or start by learning more about how KodaCloud’s AI easily optimizes RF performance. And then, put aside those guides and tools and see what a delightful experience your users could be receiving. So long knobs, you served us well.