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Slow Business WiFi? You May Need to Rethink Your Layout

There are many things that can cause your business internet to feel frustratingly slow, from poor service to outdated technology. But the source of the problem could be much, much simpler…

It probably comes as no surprise to learn that Australia’s internet speeds aren’t winning any records. In fact, we’re not even close to being in the top 10 countries with the fastest downloads. But if your employees are struggling to work efficiently due to sluggish speeds, don’t start making major – and expensive – changes just yet. Before you begin researching other internet providers or investing in higher-tier packages, first consider that the problem may be a lot quicker and easier to fix. Believe it or not, you may be able to boost speeds significantly just by rearranging the layout of your office. 

Speed vs WiFi

The concepts of ‘internet speed’ and ‘WiFi’ are often confused. The truth is that they’re two very different things. Speed refers to the speed of the service offered by your internet provider. WiFi, on the other hand, refers to the wireless connection between your router and your employees’ devices. 

This means that, if your employees are experiencing lagging when they’re trying to communicate in an online meeting, or it’s taking them ages to download a file from a colleague, it may not be the speed of your internet service that’s the problem. It could be the signal strength of your WiFi. 

What slows down WiFi?

There are two major factors that can cause WiFi signal strength to suffer in business environments:

1. Distance

With a wireless connection, internet data is sent over radio waves. And these radio waves can only travel so far. This means that signal strength will typically be better for the employees sitting closest to the router, getting progressively worse for teams sitting further away. Signal can start to drop at just 1m. 

2. Obstacles

Radio waves can’t travel well – or sometimes at all – through solid objects. This means that if your router is positioned in one room, but your employees are working from another, then they’re not going to be receiving the best signal. Walls, doors, windows, even furniture can affect WiFi signal. 

Rearranging your space

With this in mind, it’s always a good idea to assess your working environment and test out new layouts before jumping in with more costly solutions, such as enhanced internet packages. Try repositioning your router so that it’s closer to your employees, or rearranging teams so that there are fewer obstacles standing between their devices and the router itself. A WiFi booster or broadband extender can also be used to help maximise signal across even more of your office space. 

Of course, office layout is just one possible cause of sluggish business internet, and there are many other factors that can contribute towards slow connections and speeds. We’ll be delving into more potential causes – and solutions – at a later date, so keep your eyes peeled for more helpful insights. And in the meantime, remember that you can contact us for IT support and advice, any time.