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Troubleshooting Wi-Fi Performance: Don’t Overlook the Antenna

(Image: Pixabay)

I’ve been designing, installing, and supporting wireless networks since 1999 when I deployed my first 900 Mhz network. When I moved to the country, there wasn't high-speed internet access, so I built my own. Since then I have worked with 2.4 GHz, 5 GHz, and some LTE equipment. It was a great experience to have under my belt when Wi-Fi became prevalent. 

Back in the day, there was very little, to no, information on wireless equipment. I must admit that I got lucky, the local ham radio group owned the tower where I put my transmitter. The guys were great about sharing and teaching me about wireless, antennas, grounding, filters, and more. I, in turn, taught them about routers, switches, and networking.

I learned fairly quickly that the quality of the cable (if one is used) and antenna could make or break a wireless connection. You might think this has very little to do with consumer Wi-Fi products, but you would be wrong. In many cases, I have used many of the techniques I learned deploying outside networks with traditional indoor Wi-Fi.

In the video, you will see how I resolved an issue by replacing an antenna. I am still surprised by how many technicians either are not aware that they can change the antenna or don't consider it when troubleshooting or designing.