AirMagnet announced the results of a recently conducted survey measuring wireless signal strength in a standard office setting both before and after introducing a change in the office environment — holiday decorations. While decorations are relatively commonplace at this time of year and might seem innocuous, as with any change introduced to a wireless environment, it's difficult to predict how new elements might affect wireless performance - but proper planning can help reduce the negative effect on wireless networks. AirMagnet's survey, using AirMagnet Survey PRO and AirMagnet Laptop Analyzer, showed the decorations had a significant impact on the Wi-Fi network, with:
Signal strength decreased by 25 percent
Signal deterioration increased over distance by one-third
Signal distribution uneven in some locations, deteriorating signal strength by an additional 10 percent
"When new elements are introduced into an enterprise environment they have the potential to seriously affect the performance of the Wi-Fi network, by deflecting, absorbing or otherwise interfering with the wireless signal. During the holidays, it could be the decorations in an office, at other times it could just as easily be a new microwave oven or a metal shelving unit," said Chia-Chee Kuan, CTO and vice president of engineering for AirMagnet.
Signal deterioration leaves users experiencing sluggish and dropped connections, decreasing their productivity and creating major headaches for IT administrators. AirMagnet advises network administrators to regularly utilize wireless analysis tools both during the holidays and year round to evaluate the effects of any changes to their corporate environment and determine how best to mitigate interference issues and optimize the performance of their network.