Google Cloud Apps Admins

9 Myths and the Truth about Wifi in K-12 Education ( Part 4: Myths 7-9)

Written by Joey Allen (Google Admin) | January 28, 2016

If you've made it this far: congratulations! You've worked your way through most of the myths (and truths) about Wi-Fi deployment in business and K-12 education, and now you're finally coming to the end of it. The last three myths deal with things like power consumption, how it effects performance, and how dual-band routers actually work.

You're here now, so keep reading. It's time for you to learn the truth.

7. [READ MY COMMENTS]

Like some of the other myths covered in these articles, there is some truth to this one. A new standard will usually have greater power requirements, especially when it comes to wireless Internet, and APs are no different. A lot of the latest APs do have higher power requirements than their predecessors, and do benefit from a newer, better implementation of Power over Ethernet.

However, upgraded PoE isn't strictly necessary. Like with the Wave 2 APs in the earlier myth, you can still experience benefits from upgrading your AP even if your devices and infrastructure isn't fully equipped to support it. Wi-Fi speeds on these newer devices will be reduced on the older method, but these new devices will still likely outperform the ones they're replacing.

Ruckus Wireless approaches this a bit differently, however. With most competitive APs in the marketplace right now, the AP will simply reduce the amount of transmitters and receivers being used in response to a lower supply of power. What Ruckus APs will do instead is shut down the USB port and secondary Ethernet port, allowing Wi-Fi to still operate at its highest efficiency without any real downsides in terms of performance for the end user.

8. [READ MY COMMENTS]

This myth does have some truth for it, but only if you conveniently stretch out the definition of "coverage" in wireless communications. Coverage in the context where this myth is true refers to coverage that makes the AP visible and able to be connected to- but true coverage requires more than just an increased transmit power.

Increased transmit power gives APs more power to transmit, or send, data to client devices. What it does not effect, however, is how well the AP receives data from devices, since that's dependent on the device's own transmit power. Some devices even lower their transmit power in response to an AP with high transfer power (as a power-saving measure) resulting in worse performance.

For true coverage, you need a router with high receive sensitivity. You may start to notice a pattern here, but Ruckus Wireless also happens to offer the best devices for receiving sensitivity in the market for enterprise APs. Consider this when making your purchases.

9. [READ MY COMMENTS]

Last but not least, let's talk about band-selectable AP radios. Band-selectable AP radios deal with two seperate bands: 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz. Even if you're not super well-versed in tech, it's probably obvious that 5 GHz performs better, right? (You're right to think that: it does.)

The issue with the implementation of 5 GHz in business and consumer circles alike, however, is that some older, legacy devices don't yet support 5 GHz. So most APs being manufactured still have legacy support for 2.4 GHz, and offers both of these bands simultaneously on seperate radios.

In a perfect world, this would be completely fine. Unfortunately, we don't live in a perfect world. If you've learned anything about Wi-Fi in these articles, you've likely come to the understanding that the signals and technologies here are very complex and often conflict with each other. Having 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz being outputted from the same device actually results in dramatically reduced performance on both bands, not just a detriment to one.

Popular wisdom might be that dual bands have negative effects on the 5 GHz band- the truth is, no matter what band you're using, the devices will suffer very real performance problems due to the two bands conflicting. This problem can be seen in small environments like a home- in larger environments, like a school or business, the Wi-Fi will be rendered essentially unusuable.

But there you go. If you started with us from the beginning and got all the way through this series, we'd like to congratulate you. Now that you've learned the truth behind all of these myths, hopefully you now have the knowledge necessary to move forward and make the best choices for your network, whether you're planning for a school, a business or a home.

This is Coolhead Tech, signing out.