The ever increasing popularity of WLANs has led to the 2.4Ghz band in particular becoming overcrowded and, as other wireless devices are also free to use this frequency, some areas are becoming unusable.
It’s time to take control of the radio airspace again: Active Radio Control (ARC) is the answer! But how is ARC being used?
1. Use 5Ghz; via Band Steering
This is really the first step in the approach to freeing up the 2.4Ghz space, by using the more efficient 5Ghz spectrum. Most of today’s client devices have the capability to use both 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz, so why let them connect to 2.4Ghz all the time? A wireless access point with two radio modules on board can operate on both the 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz bands, and push clients directly on to 5Ghz when available.
2. Ignore interference from other users; Adaptive Noise Immunity
In the world of wireless LAN, every access point is aware of other access points around it, even if they are far away. This means they have to wait to be able to send their signal—which slows down transmission speeds, even for access points that are close together. However, Access Points using Adaptive Noise Immunity are capable of ignoring other Access Point signals, particularly those far away. The advantage is that access points can free themselves from waiting and have more time on-air.
3. Scan the whole spectrum; Spectral Scan
In general, an access point is able to scan all of the WLAN frequencies, but it won’t tell you anything about the other users of the same frequency. With Spectral Scan, the entire band is scanned for its overall usage. Based on the information obtained by Spectral Scan, an access point can select a channel that has the least usage. But don’t do this automatically, as the access points are continuously changing and no clients will get access to the radio!
4. Move clients to the less used radio channels; Client Steering
As a final step to making the most of the available frequencies, you can automatically move clients to an access point that is being underutilized. Client devices can often end up selecting an access point that offers suboptimal performance, so instead of having the client device decide, let the network make a better informed decision! A network that is centrally controlled is able to oversee the availability of other Access Points and will push a client to a less utilized access point.
“Active Radio Control” is the technology that makes the difference between enterprise/professional level access points and the consumer equipment. Of course, this comes at a price, but it makes the best use of the wireless LAN network in conditions that would otherwise be impossible!
WLAN Consulting is an initiative of LANCOM Systems. LANCOM Systems is a leading German manufacturer of wireless LAN technology based on industry standards.