Everything You Need to Know about Wireless Data Transmission


Wireless connectivity comes with plenty of benefits for small businesses. Setting up a wireless network is not as easy as setting up a LAN network. Besides, WLAN is more expensive than LAN. However, the long-term benefits can justify the initial expenses.

WLAN Data Transfer

You keep customer data, internal workflow data, employee data and various other types of data in enterprise storage, and use them whenever necessary. The transmission rate being low slows the network down and that in turn holds up the delivery of the work.

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The data transmission rate depends on your ISP. But the transfer speed for WLAN depends upon the wireless standard and few other factors. I’ll discuss the factors that affect data transfer rate for an enterprise WLAN.

Environment and Throughput

Your office environment has an effect on the throughput. Possible sources of interference and the distance between two client machines are atmospheric factors. Such factors affect the transfer rate.

Place two machines exactly 2 meters away from both sides of the access point and observe the throughput. Let’s say the throughput is X, now increase the distance to 3 meters and observe the throughput again. If it drops, then the previous placement was correct.

WiFi devices themselves function as interferences. Those who use wired devices and those, who use wireless devices, get different throughputs. Wall materials and lighting fixtures may also affect the throughput.

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What’s the Solution?

There’s no instant solution for improving your WLAN performance and increasing the throughput. If wired ethernet is being used, throughput problems are unlikely to occur. You can quickly connect two client devices using a gigabit switch and two gigabit ethernet NIC adapters, and make sure the throughput is same for both client devices.

But for WLAN, you need a strictly controlled atmosphere. A small business may find it overwhelmingly difficult to create such an atmosphere.

WiFi Standard

An enterprise has a pool of choices when it comes to selecting a WiFi standard. With that being said, it needs to choose carefully because the right standard can increase the throughput and speed up the rate of data transfer.

We can safely identify 802.11n as an outdated standard; 802.11ac fares much better – not only in terms of the speed that it offers (1.3GB/second) but also in terms of user-convenience and enterprise-friendliness. John Anderson, the chief planner at Fluke Network, admitted that 40 percent of the speed is eaten up by factors such as “how many people are on the network, and others being environmental.”

The first wave of 802.11ac, according to experts, is a solution to this problem because it brings with it 256-QAM, whose constellation diagram involves 256 quadrature amplitude modulation (QAM) points. The 256-QAM qualifies as a higher-order QAM, which delivers ample amount of data – almost 34 percent more than the AP.

Transmission Method

You need to select a transmitting method. The choices available to you are frequency hopping spread spectrum (FHSS) and direct sequence spread spectrum (DSSS). In QAM-256, the constellation points are located close to each other, which amounts to a higher rate of bit error. The signal-to-noise (SNR) technique is used to increase the signal energy and to undermine the bit error rate.

The FHSS method operates with 18dB SNR while the DSSS technique operates with 12 dB SNR. An efficient modulation technique doesn’t require a high- decibel SNR.

Making a choice between FHSS and DSSS is difficult because both have pros and cons. The DSSS mode is suitable for facilities requiring high transmission rate or for data intensive applications.

The data transmission range for FHSS is small, because of which an enterprise needs more FHSS devices. But that’s a costly affair because FHSS devices cost high. There are other transmission methods such as infrared technology (IR), but those are seldom used. In my opinion, a small enterprise first needs to sort out its priorities and select the transmission method accordingly.

Do Hands-on

Wireless connectivity has many aspects, which businesses, especially small businesses need to comprehend. It’s possible through hands-on with WiFi. The discussion in this article can help them in this pursuit.

Tablet User Photo via Shutterstock

1 Comment ▼

Steven Scheck Steven Scheck is the Principal of Inspire WiFi, the nationwide leader of WiFi networks for the multifamily, hospitality and healthcare industries. He is also very involved in philanthropic causes in Miami and nationally.

One Reaction
  1. So wires are better. I did not know that other gadgets or computers can have an effect on the signal. I guess that explains why the people who are nearest the wifi gets a better throughput.