Iskratel tackles substandard in-home WiFi in new white paper

Iskratel has released a white paper today titled Maximising In-house WiFi Coverage and Performance that reveals the “bitter truth” about 802.11ac WiFi and what service providers can do to improve performance and coverage indoors.

The white paper evaluates the advanced technology of 802.11ac, recognising its benefits but also highlighting several limitations that mean it cannot always deliver on its promise. These drawbacks include a shorter range when compared to 802.11n, reducing the coverage and high signal attenuation as a result of physical obstacles such as concrete and wooden walls.

“As consumers are now accustomed to being able to access WiFi anywhere, any time and on any device, it is absolutely vital for service providers to deliver optimum in-home WiFi coverage and performance,” said Iskratel strategic marketing manager and author of the white paper Tomo Bogataj.

The white paper outlines how remote Access Points (satellites) need to be installed on the Home Gateway in order to remedy this loss of coverage and performance. Both WiFi mesh and wired access points are compared, with the white paper concluding that wired ones deliver a much superior performance and tests showing improved throughput efficiency of between 63% and 99% on average.

“Regardless of specific materials and construction of the building, the Wi-Fi signal has to be brought to all parts of it – or the users will not be able to make use of wireless connectivity. This whole-home coverage and high performance can be difficult to achieve without a wired backhaul access point,” said Tomo.

The tests were conducted in a number of typical wood-constructed, three-storey family houses, with the main 802.11ac AP located at the lower level and WiFi clients at all three levels. To test the backhaul, one satellite was located at the main level and one at the top level. In comparison to WiFi backhaul, the wired backhaul improved throughput efficiency by a factor of four on average.

According to Iskratel, for the best reach and performance all the access points need to be connected to the Home Gateway using wired backhaul, with options including Ethernet cabling, coax cables, copper pairs and powerlines. The white paper compares these methods, concluding that powerlines often provide the most suitable solution.

“Though Ethernet provides the best option, most homes were not built with these installations and adding them later is not usually an option. On the other hand, powerlines are inherently present and widespread in all buildings. Therefore, using powerline communications to connect satellite access points to the Home Gateway is the least intrusive and hassle-free method, as it requires no dedicated cabling or additional installations.”

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Reference: Connected Home