Looking for assessment of wireless access points that are good and bad in a busy wireless environment.

In the period of 18 months performance of our Unifi wireless network has gone from stellar to flat-out miserable. We've debugged and tweaked the network extensively in the last month with some positive results. Our office is in the heart of Downtown Denver. I suspect that the issue is "wireless overcrowding" in the physical zone around the office. My Unifi control panel has picked up a total of  "rogue" 162 access points and 52 Ubiquiti access points in the last 6 months.

My question - What brands of access points are good at handling this wireless overcrowding and which brands are bad at it?
Who is Participating?

[Product update] Infrastructure Analysis Tool is now available with Business Accounts.Learn More

I wear a lot of hats...

"The solutions and answers provided on Experts Exchange have been extremely helpful to me over the last few years. I wear a lot of hats - Developer, Database Administrator, Help Desk, etc., so I know a lot of things but not a lot about one thing. Experts Exchange gives me answers from people who do know a lot about one thing, in a easy to use platform." -Todd S.

Craig BeckCommented:
It's not really a case of which brands are better than others.  It's more a case of what can you really do to improve things.

If the RF environment is overcrowded there may be little to nothing you can really do to alleviate the issue, other than either increase your power output at the APs and clients, or use a different frequency.

There are systems that actively help in situations like this, such as Cisco's Wireless LAN Controllers - they use complicated algorithms to dynamically change channels when interference is detected.  Sometimes it's just not that simple though.  You could be in an environment where all of the available channels are saturated by foreign Wifi systems, and in that case there's no amount of complex algorithms or clever systems that will make the experience any better unfortunately.

Experts Exchange Solution brought to you by

Your issues matter to us.

Facing a tech roadblock? Get the help and guidance you need from experienced professionals who care. Ask your question anytime, anywhere, with no hassle.

Start your 7-day free trial
Dr. KlahnPrincipal Software EngineerCommented:
craigbeck's comments above are correct.  Both the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands are overcrowded and becoming more so as more and more devices add WiFi features.  It's my opinion that in less than 10 years both bands will be unusable in major cities due to overcrowding unless more bands or more (and it will have to be many more) channels are allocated.

Increasing power, in my opinion, is a losing proposition.  You briefly get improved response.  Then everyone else adds power boosters to overcome your increased power.  The situation ends up where it began with no net gain for anyone and a major loss for those users who can't afford to boost power levels.

The only real solutions in view, I think, are (a) wired or (b) optical (fiber or IR wall-bounce) networking, both of which run flat-out all the time without interference.
Gerwin Jansen, EE MVETopic Advisor Commented:
If you have that many other access points 'visible' and your office has a lot of windows, you may consider applying EMF shielding window film. Relatively easy to apply (the non-adhesive type), downside is that it will also reduce cell phone reception inside.
It's more than this solution.Get answers and train to solve all your tech problems - anytime, anywhere.Try it for free Edge Out The Competitionfor your dream job with proven skills and certifications.Get started today Stand Outas the employee with proven skills.Start learning today for free Move Your Career Forwardwith certification training in the latest technologies.Start your trial today
Wireless Hardware

From novice to tech pro — start learning today.