Troubleshooting Wireless Networks: Can an MSP Help?
Wireless (Wi-Fi) network management is a pervasive and complex part of modern business networks. Businesses rely on a high performing, or at least consistent Wi-Fi network performance.
Wi-Fi connectivity affects employee productivity, system security, and business processing at all levels. Wi-Fi is a critical piece within a large and complex business network puzzle.
Managed service providers (MSPs) provide wireless network management services. MSP services cover security, system maintenance, performance monitoring, and device access management. MSPs can also help design an effective business wireless network for your business from scratch.
This guide describes wireless business network setup, troubleshooting issues, and the benefits of using an MSP for wireless network management.
- What are the common reasons for underperforming wireless networks?
- How to assess your wireless network performance?
- Can an MSP help improve your wireless network?
- How to choose the correct wireless network equipment?
- What do you need to know about wireless network security?
What are the common reasons for underperforming wireless networks?
Do you find yourself asking why your wireless network is underperforming and how to fix it?
Fixing and troubleshooting a business wireless network is a time-consuming and complex task. However, several common issues cause poor wireless performance. If you have the wireless skills necessary, you can troubleshoot and repair many typical wireless network issues. Use your skills and find the answer to the common question – why is my wireless network acting up?
Business wireless networks share many common reasons for deficient performance, including:
- Signal obstruction
- Equipment failures
- Poor security configuration
- Bandwidth overload and congestion
Wireless communication uses diverse types of radio waves to communicate and transfer data. Any signal interference, including walls, trees, wind, or structures, may impede wireless performance. The same occurs when the signal is interrupted or broken. Signal obstruction can be caused by weather or objects that block the signal path.
Always check for failures in equipment or bugs from newly updated code deployments. If the security is not current or up to the latest protocols, the performance problem may be attacks or “extra” users surfing on your wireless radio waves.
Check the channel the wireless uses. You can change the channel and try to find one that’s less busy to help boost network performance.
How to assess your wireless network performance?
Properly managing a wireless network properly requires various specialized tools, testing, and wireless expertise. Testing the overall system is the way to discover issues before they negatively impact the network.
Time and environment can degrade systems making testing invaluable for accurate troubleshooting and issue identification.
Consider performing the following wireless network tests to evaluate your wireless network’s health:
- Radio access verification
- Tests for hardware failures and network configuration errors
- Interference analysis on the radio spectrum
- Tests for RF spectrum interference causing poor performance or connection loss
- Network latency
- Measures latency (response) times across the network to ensure system performance levels
Sounds complicated? It is! Considering the complexity of managing wireless networks, what options do businesses have? One option is to leverage the wireless expertise available within an MSP.
Can an MSP help improve your wireless network?
The short answer is yes. Using an MSP can improve wireless network reliability and performance.
Networks require ongoing preventative maintenance to stay running at peak performance. There are some maintenance tasks that you can perform without assistance that minimize downtime. However, using experts trained in wireless network maintenance keeps your network up and running consistently, ensures ongoing compliance, and keeps security and software versions up to date.
At Endsight we provide two different packages, one called base and one maintenance. These may include (but are not limited to):
- Start with a complete IT audit and compare your current state to your business goals.
- Monitoring security within the network system. Protect your business with advanced cyber security tools and policies.
- Performance and reliability
- Monitor speed and reliability across the network, including bandwidth usage, traffic patterns, down or interrupted signals, and connection delays.
- Maintain & support
- Stay IT healthy with proactive and reactive support.
Well-maintained networks experience fewer issues and are easier to troubleshoot because settings and configurations keep up to date. Regular network maintenance prevents more expensive corrective procedures and enables businesses to recognize problems before they occur.
How to choose the right wireless network equipment?
Choosing the right wireless network equipment depends on the network design. Most business Wi-Fi systems use wireless aps with a centralized controller connected to a switch network or router. The wireless network then provides network connectivity through mobile and desktop devices within the office and using remote access.
Wireless networks are susceptible to interference. Even simple items like microwave ovens, wireless cameras, smart TVs, hot-spot nodes, and especially from nearby businesses Aps can interfere with Wi-Fi.
Wi-Fi network protocols and standards apply to manage communication and ensure consistency, but the network design makes the most significant impact. Quality wireless network design ensures a high-performing, consistent, and reliable wireless business network.
Best practices for setting up and maintaining an optimized wireless network include:
- Hiring a professional wireless network designer to create a design that meets your business requirements
- Performing a site survey to test the design
- Hiring a professional Wi-Fi network installer
- Performing a second post-installation site survey for operational validation
- Performing a new site survey when the physical environment internally or externally changes
- Ensuring the network uses the latest security protocols (WPA-3 or later)
The quality of a wireless network depends on the office environment's external and internal factors, including the surrounding area. Following best practices or finding an MSP with wireless expertise is your best bet for creating a reliable and secure wireless network.
What do you need to know about wireless network security?
Wireless networks are access points to your business network, customer information, and business data. With any business network, security is paramount to preventing cybercrime and data loss or exposure.
There are 3 categories of wireless network attacks including:
Passive attacks occur when threats attempt to use your wireless to “listen in” or monitor traffic. Using packet sniffing tools is a typical passive attack. Packet sniffers allow threats to monitor your wireless network traffic.
Active attacks are where threats deploy fake or corrupt wireless access points on open networks. For example, an open network called “Open to All” is created by a threat actor, and people will connect to it. Most MitM (man in the middle) attacks happen when users access a corrupt connection. Threats can then intercept, monitor, and access all communications on the open connection.
Finally, threats will attack wireless network components. Endpoints and access points are often exploited when security updates have not been applied, and threats can gain administrative access to the network. Keeping wireless network security up to date is crucial for eliminating component attacks.
Each category has additional threat types, but you get the idea. Wireless network security is critical for the survival and success of your business. Using an MSP can help manage wireless network maintenance and ensure security protocols are always up to date. MSPs provide full security system design and management and perform network maintenance.
Can your wireless network benefit from MSP IT Support?
Yes! if you cannot continuously update, monitor, and maintain software, hardware, and devices within a wireless network, then an MSP for IT support is a wise option. Today’s wireless business networks are complicated and highly integrated. Wireless business networks are also access points to all your business including internal data, customer information, financials, etc. Security is crucial to keeping your business safe and your employees productive.
Follow industry best practices for designing and creating a wireless business network. Remember to regularly conduct site surveys and ensure to account for sources of interference and signal disruption so network performance is not an issue.
Need help keeping a wireless network managed, maintained, and fully secured? Endsight is your MSP provider of choice, by keeping your business up and running using the latest advanced technology for all IT tasks, including all things wireless network. Get your free assessment today and see how Endsight can help.
Do you need assistance designing and implementing a high-performing wireless network? Or do you simply need help meeting the everyday needs of IT? Look no further than Endsight. Check out our client testimonials and get a sense of what we can do for your business!