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Wifi Interference

Posted on 2013-01-09
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Last Modified: 2013-01-10
Hello

I work on a medium sized grade school campus and have 120 wireless access points.  I noticed that some of them do not work at all even when standing within a few feet of the AP.  Its enterprise level equipment, Aerohive Networks.  In general they have been fantastic.  

After analyzing the topology maps its seems that the access points that do not work are in close prox. to mechanical rooms.  In order to test it I moved one of the APs and it worked perfectly.  

Can someone tell me whats in a mechanical room that could cause interference? Also, does anyone have any recommendations for good spectrum analyzers that will allow me to detect wifi interference.  I am aware of aircheck and WIspy and an open to both but im curious as to what else is out there

Thanks
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Question by:gilmanschool
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Aaron Tomosky earned 50 total points
ID: 38761754
I assume your mechanical rooms have:
1. Lots of metal
2. High voltage power running big equipment

These are both good causes of aps not working well if at all. You could check the condition of the power at those locations, maybe low voltage or other noise on the lines but its probably the actual location.
I've never used either but I hear good things about channalizer.
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by:Darr247
Darr247 earned 50 total points
ID: 38761857
I recommend the Wi-Spy units from MetaGeek. I own one (a 2.4x), but am not affiliated with the company in any way other than that.

Full bandwidth spectrum analyzers start about $4000 and go up from there... e.g. a portable 9000Hz to 7GHz Agilent (which would be sufficient for troubleshooting WiFi and most other RF applications), goes for about $12,000.

There are lots of things which emit RF between 2400 and 2500 MHz that would interfere with 2.4GHz WiFi.
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by:Rick_O_Shay
Rick_O_Shay earned 50 total points
ID: 38762839
Interference would come from electric motors would be my guess.
Any chance you can have them turn stuff off temporarily to help isolate it for you?

I have Aircheck and like it and don't have any experience with the other analyzers.
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Author Closing Comment

by:gilmanschool
ID: 38764109
Thank you all for the help.  I had no idea that equipment was capable of causing so many issues.
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Expert Comment

by:Craig Beck
ID: 38764119
Mains substations or large transformers can cause issues too.  I had issues at a hospital where an 11,000V substation completely crippled the wireless signal in an adjacent workshop.
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