We are deploying an 802.11n wireless network in a manufacturing floor environment. What methods can be used to prevent wireless interference during mobile device testing (Wi-Fi or Bluetooth)?
Do you have a question for our experts?
Submit your question directly to our editors at email@example.com
There are several ways to prevent wireless interference during mobile device testing. All Wi-Fi devices share radio bands with each other and with Bluetooth devices. Devices that are operating correctly avoid “stepping” on each other by listening first to avoid transmitting when others are using a channel. However, sometimes devices cannot hear each other -- for example, clients A and B that are in-range of the same Access Point (AP) yet facing in opposite directions.
Older clients also may not be able to hear or correctly interpret transmissions from newer clients unless protection mechanisms or mixed mode operation is used. Finally, as you point out, new products going through mobile device testing sometimes behave in unexpected ways, making it desirable to insulate new devices until they have been tested for compatibility.
Read more of Lisa’s expert advice
Creating Wi-Fi policy: Elements to consider before implementation
Overcoming wireless network interference in public venues
Obtaining wireless access control for personal devices
Short of physical isolation, the best way to prevent wireless interference is to test new devices on different channels, ideally in a different frequency band. For example, if your manufacturing network operates on 5 GHz channels, conduct new mobile device testing using channels in the 2.4 GHz band. Alternatively, test new devices in a currently unused portion of the same band; this is more feasible at 5 GHz, given the small number of non-overlapping channels at 2.4 GHz.
Unfortunately this wireless interference prevention technique cannot be used for Bluetooth since those devices use the 2.4 GHz band in a different way than 802.11n devices. However, Bluetooth is a much shorter range technology and may be easier to physically separate from your production network.
Finally, no matter how you choose to insulate your production network during new mobile device testing, visibility will be essential. Invest in a spectrum analyzer that lets you see how new devices are using your airspace and impacting existing devices. If nothing else, spectrum analysis can help you rule out suspected RF interference when might otherwise cause a lot of angst and wasted diagnostic effort.
Dig deeper on WLAN Standards
Related Q&A from Lisa Phifer, Contributor
Lisa Phifer explains methods for wireless access control to allow employees certain but not full access to a company’s network and maintaining ...continue reading
Wireless expert, Lisa Phifer offers advice regarding a Wi-Fi policy for a school preparing for implementation, including proper Wi-Fi security ...continue reading
In public venues, unplanned personal hotspots can cause wireless network interference. Wireless expert, Lisa Phifer explains how to overcome this and...continue reading
Have a question for an expert?
Please add a title for your question
Get answers from a TechTarget expert on whatever's puzzling you.