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Showing posts from February, 2016

Fixing President Obama's Wi-Fi

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Apparently Wi-Fi at the White House sucks!  A journalist asked me what might help it, so I figure I'll share my response:

Hi [Very Wise Journalist Who Reached Out To Me, Ben Miller, For Comment],

In some ways the White House is like any other large, multi-user space and in other ways it is very different.
Uncommon challenges at the White House are likely the result of security requirements and the need to maintain the historical integrity of the building.  The White House almost certainly has areas that are off-limits to AP installers and there may be limits on where cable drops can be made.
There is a distinct line between good and bad solutions when AP locations are restricted.  The goal of both solutions is to increase coverage to hard-to-reach areas.  The bad solution, which is likely happening at the White House, is to increase the transmit power of APs.  Increasing AP transmit power aids downlink data sent from an AP to a Wi-Fi device, but does nothing to improve the AP’s abi…

Crack the 40 (MHz Wide Channel) Open, Homie and Guzzle (the Bandwidth Available Over) It

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Everybody likes high Wi-Fi speeds.  Because high Wi-Fi speeds mean that the channel is being used more efficiently (often false).  An efficient channel means that there's more available throughput (only in sterile test environments) and more available throughput means that more users can be supported concurrently (completely wrong).

Unfortuantely, high Wi-Fi speeds sometimes (all the time) come at a cost.  To get higher Wi-Fi speeds, wider channels must be used (which makes the Wi-Fi suck).  Using wider channels means that fewer channels will be available (plus it ups minimum RSSI requirements, which just about guarantees a bad design).  It is therefore essential that wireless professionals analyze the environment and carefully choose whether to use 40 MHz or 80 MHz wide channels (or they could stop wasting everyone's time and just stick to 20 MHz channels).

But this blog post isn't about choosing the correct channel bandwidth (although it should be, because tons of Wi-Fi go…