Wireless Access Point Configuration Guide

Wireless networking has come a long way.  Not so many years ago, we only had a small handful of settings to be concerned with.  Now we have numerous standards and frequencies, which are beginning to make the wireless space very crowded and fickle.  Here’s how I remove the fickleness:

  • Update the Firmware, even if it appears you have the newest version.  I’ve found that sometimes the manufacturer will find a problem in the firmware after production starts and then post a quick-fix on their website, but not update the version number.
  • Specify your bandwidth, for 2.4GHz use the 20mhz setting instead of Auto or 20/40mhz.  For 5Ghz use 40MHz, this ensures that you will stay in the most stable spectrum and reduce switching that causes broken connections.
  • Specify your channel. For 2.4GHz, use 1, 6, or 11 as these channels will not overlap as the others do.  For 5GHZ use anything below 49 or above 150 to prevent overlap.  If you have a WiFi analyzer on your mobile device, use it to find the least used channels and try them.  Never use auto, since this will cause the radios to switch channels without notice, again breaking connections.
  • Use WPA or better with AES encryption.  WEP is so insecure and unnecessary.
  • If you are using multiple access points make sure each access point uses a different channel in both spectrum’s.  I cannot tell you how many times I’ve troubleshot a flaky wireless network and found that all of the access points used the same channel.  It’s like having multiple cordless phones on the same channel, so much cross talk that you cannot understand what’s being said.  Same goes for wireless!

Usually these settings create a stable environment that require no settings changes on the end users devices.