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Why a Wireless Network Design is Necessary in K-12

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In the past few years, the needs of a wireless network have evolved greatly. Early on, access to a wireless network at a school was a convenience that allowed a handful of mobile devices access to the internet. With the lack of mobile devices and the financial investment made on wired computer labs, the wireless network was far from mission critical. Today, other than sports stadiums and some hospitals, schools have the highest client density and some of the most demanding wireless needs of any user group. Schools now have a wireless device, typically a laptop or tablet, for every student and teacher in the district. The wireless network must also sometimes support a wide range of cell phones and other random devices such as printers, A/V equipment, and other devices of varying wireless capabilities. With the influx of wireless devices, the thought process in which a wireless network was designed also had to shift from providing coverage designs to engineering capacity designs.

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How to Get the Best Wireless Connections in Your Office

How to Get the Best Wireless Connections in Your Office

There are plenty of small irritations to be found in the office, from a pot of coffee that someone neglected to refill to the sound of a squeaky chair under the office fidgeter. However, none are quite as infuriating (or as detrimental to productivity) as an inconsistent Wi-Fi signal. What makes the Wi-Fi so spotty, and how do you resolve that?

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Benefits of Upgrading to 802.11ax and Should You Do It

Benefits of 802.11ax

OFDMA
Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access - this is the new modulation technique introduced with 802.11ax and replaces OFDM that has been around since 802.11a. This is the same modulation used by cell phone carriers to transmit data to and from your cell phone. This modulation assigns each client resources units (RU) that can dynamically change based on the application needs of the client. Without going too in depth, I’ll use an analogy to show the difference between OFDM and OFDMA – OFDM would be the equivalent to driving a country road and getting to a one lane bridge and OFDMA would equate to a multi-lane interstate. When driving the country road, it doesn’t matter what you drive or how fast you go, if it isn’t your turn to cross the bridge, you aren’t moving. In OFDM, only one device can transmit at a time. If 2 vehicles crossed that bridge at the same time, they have a collision and then all the cars waiting are now affected. The same is true for OFDM. If two clients try to transmit at the same time, such as a hidden node, the frames from the clients will be corrupt and will have to retransmit. Constant retransmissions eat away available airtime for other clients and therefore slow your wireless network down. In contrast, OFDMA is like a huge multi-lane interstate where you have lanes for the fast cars and the slow cars. You even have enough lanes for the wide load trucks to occupy 2 lanes without impacting the flow of traffic. OFDMA lets multiple clients send and receive data at the same time. This is done by breaking one channel into a lot of subchannels or resource units (RU). The AP can then dynamically assign RUs to each client based on their needs. This is a much more efficient way to transfer data over the air and aggregate throughput in a wireless network will increase greatly over an 802.11ac network.

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Tip of the Week: Drag and Drop Between Android and Windows

Tip of the Week: Drag and Drop Between Android and Windows

Smartphones have proven to be excellent devices for enhancing an employee’s ability to be productive while mobile. However, this approach often means that company work is now on an employee’s mobile device, instead of on your network. This issue can be easily resolved if the mobile device in question runs the Android OS. We’ll go over how for this week’s tip.

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Importance of Wireless Channel Planning

In the past, wireless local area networks (WLANs) were a luxury and were used for a specific purpose, such as bar code scanners in manufacturing plants. Today, WLANs are everywhere and companies, schools, and even your home is dependent upon the existence of a functional wireless network. 

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