A small lesson about wireless signal loss
I’ve seen how WLAN professionals folks have stressed the fact that a WLAN has to be properly installed and designed. And it is true. In this post I want to share an small experience with you regarding the importance of NOT underestimating obstacles, interference and so on.
The government entity where I work has been lately providing a small public service outside its main building. For its purpose, a group of technicians installed a small wireless network with a simple wireless (home) router to share a connection with 4 wireless devices. At the time I was called to help, one of the clients could not connect to the internet-hosted web service. This was a little weird since it showed an “Internet connection”, but no real connectivity. They had replaced 2 laptops already, and wondered why would that laptop not connect.
Then I saw this:
That metal entrance door was actually not fully opened, and was “surprisingly” aligned with the router and the client without connection. After relocating the router, the problem was solved.
Then I stopped a moment to remember the many times I have read on twitter how so many WLAN experts always accentuate the importance of correct wireless network planning, which includes all sources of possible interference or signal loss due to obstacles, and extended to other issues that can jeoparize the network reliability.
In this case, the metal door was undoubtedly generating problems to one client. How can someone anticipate this without understanding the very basics of signal degradation and how electromagnetic waves and wireless signals behave.
I think this is a good moment for every person who may have a great technical background on Wireless Networks but not on the physical layer concepts to give it more importance, it could save you A LOT of time.