Wireless (WiFi) connection issues

Are you noticing connection issues when using Dialpad on a wireless (WiFi) network?

Not to worry, this article will guide you with our recommendations and tips, helping you achieve the best quality of service.

The impact of home and enterprise environments equally and are important to rule out when facing issues with VOIP on a WiFi network. Read this Help Center article for more information on troubleshooting home networks.

Physical Obstructions

Physical obstructions can be difficult to factor into your WiFi setup, but it is important to know how much they can impact your network. Listed below are some frequent physical obstructions:

  • Metal, concrete, and stone - will block most signals completely
  • Drywall - little to no interference to wifi signals
  • Glass - will bounce the signal back, which can make the signal look strong while delivering low throughput, or slow speeds.
  • Wood - the impact of wood depends on the type of wood in question.
    • Thin, or softwoods like Balsam or compressed wood - little interference to wifi signals
    • Hardwoods like Oak - will absorb the wifi signal, degrading strength and throughput

If you are seeing some quality issues and above listed obstructions exist between your pc and WiFi router, then you will need to move the WiFi router close to your device to get a better signal.

Channel Congestion

A congested channel can be identified by a high number of other networks on the channel or a couple of other networks that are very strong on the same channel. This means that even if you only have two other networks on the same channel, but their signal strength is as strong as, or stronger than yours, you will experience interference.

If you determine you are on a congested channel, most routers will allow you to manually set the channel you would like to use. This change alone can vastly improve your network.

Electromagnetic Frequency (EMF) Interference

It can be difficult to Identify this form of interference, but there are applications that will assist. In your mobile device app store, you will find many Electromagnetic field (EMF) detectors that use the built-in sensors on your device to identify strong fields emanating from an appliance. Using the application, scan the appliances between your device and your router to identify problems.

Once the offending appliance is identified, you will need to determine if the appliance, your wireless device or your WiFi router needs to be moved to correct the issue. In some cases, it can be as simple as moving your laptop to a different location.

WiFi Protocols

A network impact often not addressed is the WiFi protocol being used. Currently, in the US, this includes 802.11a/b/g/n/ac. Almost all wireless antennas, worldwide, are only capable of using one protocol at a time.

If all devices are using the same protocol, meaning all devices are 802.11ac or 802.11n, then there is not an impact on connectivity. However, if even one device on the network is using 802.11g, then all devices are forced to connect with the less reliable and lower throughput 802.11g protocol. This causes the newer devices to lose the option to use the better protocol, impacting connectivity, and communication.

To avoid the issue, determine the protocol your VOIP device uses and ensure that all devices on the network will be using the same protocol. Relegate any devices, not on the required protocol to the frequency band (2.4 GHz or 5 GHz) you are not using for VOIP.

Frequency

Both 2.4 GHz and the 5 GHz Wireless ranges are available to most users. While many believe that the newer 5 GHz is always best to use, both have their own advantages and disadvantages.

Something to remember is the lower the band, the greater the range, but the lower the capacity. Some of the considerations for each frequency band are:

  • 2.4 gigahertz
    • Longer range
    • Less vulnerable to interference
    • Slower speeds

  • 5 gigahertz
    • Shorter range
    • More vulnerable to interference
    • Faster speeds

This means you will need to review all of the potential impacts on your network like EMF, physical obstructions, protocol, etc to determine the best frequency to use.

Band Steering

Band steering is implemented on many newer routers with dual-band WiFi where modem can switch between dual frequencies automatically. While Band Steering is great in a lot of situations for basic internet applications, it can cause issues when used with VOIP. While the 5 GHz band has greater capacity, as we have highlighted in the rest of the article, it may not always be the best connection. VOIP requires both a strong connection AND good capacity. So you will need to take all of the factors of your network into consideration before implementing Band Steering.

 

For general Network setup instructions, please refer to this Help Center article.

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