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OFDMA Is the Only Part of Wi-Fi 6 That Matters (For Most Enterprises)

The new Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) standard offers several new technologies, but only one that really matters (for most enterprises): OFDMA.

Have you heard about Wi-Fi 6?  (Or, at least, 802.11ax?)  If you work in or around networking or Wi-Fi, you probably have.  Your humble author has read about it in blogs, tweeted about it, streamed about it on Twitch and watched commercials about it on college football telecasts.

It was the last thing -- the TV commercials -- that gave yours truly a double-take.  "Is Wi-Fi 6 that big?", I murmured to myself while taking in CDW's commercial for Cisco's Wi-Fi 6 gear.  Commercials on national sports broadcasts aren't cheap, so someone must be asking about it.  (Or at least think there's money in it.)

The standard (technically an "amendment", not a full-blown IEEE standard) Wi-Fi 6 is based upon is 802.11ax, and according to the latest 802.11 Working Group timeline, 802.11ax won't be finished for several months.  Clear…

Wasted Wi-Fi Q(-Tip)&(802.11)A: Transmit Power, Conducted Power and EIRP

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Last week's blog about Wasted Wi-Fi prompted some questions about AP transmit power in the enterprise.  

Let's answer some of those questions by doing a little Q(-Tip)&(802.11)A, an exercise in which we watch a Q-Tip video before Answering a few questions about Wi-Fi.




You've seen the Q(-Tip), now on to the A(nswer)s:

Wasted Wi-Fi is all about APs and/or stations making inefficient use of a Wi-Fi channel.  When Wasted Wi-Fi happens, either data rates are lower than they should be, or Retry percentages are higher than they should be.

The Q becomes, where do equivalent isotropically radiated power (EIRP), transmit power and conducted power fit in?

The A is, higher data rates and lower Retry percentages tend to happen when signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) is higher, and higher EIRP/conducted power/transmit power leads to higher SNR.

In other words, if you talk louder, then people hear louder.  When people hear louder, they have a better chance of being able to make out what you s…

Are You(r APs' Transmit Power) Still Down? Raise 'Em Up

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Remember me? (lyrics NSFW)

Too many enterprise Wi-Fi deployments experience Wasted Wi-Fi.  

Wasted Wi-Fi is what happens when an enterprise wireless network offers users lower performance than it would under an optimal configuration.

Today, the most common culprit of Wasted Wi-Fi is low AP transmit power.  So, if your AP transmit power config is Still Down, Raise 'Em Up.
I've noticed a lot of Wasted Wi-Fi recently.  Situations where, given the distance, client density, and physical environment, the Wi-Fi should be faster.  These are situations where, irrespective of issues that may exist in the infrastructure equipment or design of the wireless LAN, client devices are getting worse performance than they should.

By its definition, Wasted Wi-Fi lays entirely at the feet of those who configure enterprise Wi-Fi settings.  The good news is, that means Wasted Wi-Fi is solvable without expensive and time-consuming changes to the wireless LAN infrastructure.  The bad news is, solving Wa…

How to Validate Hospitality Wi-Fi in Five Minutes Using Any Old Mac

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Do you own, manage, or provide technology services for a classy hotel?  

Yes??  

Then this blog's for you.  

No, we are not going to reveal the secrets of luring wealthy clientele via watered-down booze and disreputable ladies.  Those things are obvious, and if they're not obvious you should ask a French person.  (One of my best friends is French, so I can say that...  I think.)  

We are going to reveal how to quickly validate your other most important service -- Wi-Fi -- using free, built-in Mac software.

The nice thing about providing Wi-Fi service at an upscale hotel (or other hospitality environment; convention centers, cruise ships, et al. count too) is that wealthy people hate to complain.  (Publicly, that is.  Privately that's all they do.)  The not-so-nice thing is that wealthy people are big fans of ghosting.  They will abandon your upscale hotel with the quickness if service of any kind dips below an acceptable level.  That includes the Wi-Fi.

Luckily, the good folks…