What are WiFi Black Spots? 6 Ways To Bring Your Internet Back up to Speed
Most businesses use the internet to keep their company online — whether you’re an independent business operating out of a small office or a warehouse manufacturing goods across the country, 83.4% of UK businesses have a website.
But, just like when you're struggling to connect at home, businesses are not immune to connectivity issues. WiFi black spots can incite all kinds of annoyance, especially when your team is in the middle of an important VoIP call or trying to contact a client.
Let's find out more about WiFi black spots and how they could affect your business.
What are WiFi black spots?
WiFi black spots — also known as WiFi dead spots — are areas within a building where the wireless signal from a router is either too weak or unstable to maintain connectivity.
WiFi black spots can be frustrating for users as they can result in slow or unreliable internet connections, dropped connections or even an inability to connect to the network altogether.
Find out more about whether your business is suffering from a black spot or a broadband outage with our handy guide.
What causes WiFi black spots?
WiFi black spots are caused by various factors that interfere with wireless signals and weaken their reach. Understanding why this can happen is essential to help identify the root cause and take the necessary steps to get your business back on track.
Some of the most common causes of WiFi black spots include:
1. Physical barriers
Walls, floors and large objects such as furniture or appliances can obstruct or weaken a wireless signal, eventually leading to WiFi black spots.
Usually, the materials used to construct walls or floors, like concrete and metal, can block or reflect wireless signals, which will ultimately reduce their strength or cause interference.
The layout of a building or room can also contribute to black spots. If the area is too far away from the router or access point, it may have an issue trying to connect.
2. Distance from the router
Wireless signals become weaker the further they travel from the router or access point, so if you’re located far from this, you’re more likely to experience a black spot.
In large or multi-story buildings, WiFi signals may not be strong enough to reach all areas, leading to isolated black spots.
Other devices that use wireless signals, such as cordless phones or other WiFi networks, can interfere with the signal.
This can occur when the devices use the same frequency band or channel as the WiFi network, causing interference that disrupts the signal.
4. Electrical interference
Electrical equipment such as motors, power lines, or fluorescent lighting can generate electromagnetic interference that can weaken wireless signals and lead to black spots.
This type of interference can be difficult to identify but may be more common in industrial or commercial settings where electrical equipment is used extensively.
What effects can WiFi black spots have on your business?
Businesses that rely heavily on the internet to run their daily operations can feel out of the loop when the WiFi seemingly drops into a black spot.
However, this can have a negative impact on your business and how it runs.
1. Reduced productivity
In many businesses, internet connectivity is essential for employees to work effectively. WiFi black spots can lead to slow internet speeds, dropped connections, or the inability to connect, making it difficult for employees to access the resources they need to work efficiently.
This can result in reduced productivity, missed deadlines and lower work output. How can you expect your employees to work if you can’t provide them with a stable internet connection?
If your business is struggling to keep up due to poor WiFi, it could be an option to introduce a hybrid working system and get your employees to work remotely. Find out more about keeping your business connected when working from home with our guide.
2. Poor customer service
If you’re a business that provides WiFi access to customers, WiFi black spots can harm the customer experience.
Customers may struggle to connect to the network or experience slow internet speeds, leading to frustration. In some cases, customers may choose to take their business elsewhere due to poor WiFi connectivity.
3. Security risks
WiFi black spots can create security vulnerabilities for businesses. When employees cannot connect to the network or experience slow internet speeds, they may use public or unsecured guest WiFi networks to access the internet and complete their work. This can put sensitive business data at risk of theft or cyber-attacks.
4. Communication breakdown
In most businesses, communication is critical for success. Without speaking to your colleagues, you’ll have no idea where tasks are up to or whether they’ve even been completed at all.
WiFi black spots can cause communication breakdowns, particularly in businesses that rely on VoIP or video conferencing. Slow internet speeds or dropped connections can lead to missed calls or meetings, which can have a negative impact on business operations.
5. Reputational damage
There’s nothing worse than your business getting a bad reputation, but black spots can do just that.
If your business is in the technology or connectivity industries, poor WiFi can damage its reputation. Customers may leave negative reviews or feedback about the poor WiFi connectivity, which could then discourage others from doing business with your company.
How to check for WiFi black spots
WiFi black spots can seriously slow down your business, and most companies don’t even know how to check for black spots properly.
Here are some simple, easy and quick ways to check for WiFi black spots to get your business back up and running:
- Conduct a site survey — A site survey involves physically inspecting the premises to identify areas with poor WiFi signals. This can either be done by walking around with a WiFi-enabled device and checking how the signal strength differs in areas. Or, you can hire an external company that will use specialised equipment to identify the issues and suggest troubleshooting ideas.
- Conduct user surveys — Whether you work in an office or a warehouse, chances are, you’re going to need WiFi to keep your business running. Asking your employees for feedback on their WiFi experience can help your business identify areas with poor coverage. For example, ask people in different areas of the room what the average speed they’re getting is or whether it keeps dropping in and out. You can also record answers by using surveys or feedback forms if that’s easier.
- Monitor network traffic — By monitoring network traffic, businesses can identify areas with high network usage. These areas can become WiFi black spots if the network is overloaded and can no longer provide sufficient bandwidth to support all connected devices.
- Check access point placement — The placement of access points (APs) can greatly affect WiFi coverage. Businesses should ensure that APs are placed in locations that provide optimal coverage, such as central areas, high ceilings, and unobstructed spaces.
How to fix WiFi black spots
As with any problem, you can fix WiFi black spots in two ways: alleviate some of the symptoms or remove the source entirely. Some of the easiest ways to fix these include:
- Change WiFi channels — The WiFi channel that the router uses can be changed to avoid interference with other devices in the area. Most routers will have the option to scan for available channels and automatically select the best one. However, if interference is still present, manually selecting a channel can help.
- Remove any sources of interference — Any electronic devices that your business uses, such as microwaves, cordless phones, or even a Bluetooth speaker, could be causing interference with the signal. If possible, it’s best to relocate these devices or replace them with newer, less-interfering models.
- Reposition your router — Ensuring that your router is placed in a central location, ideally away from walls and other obstructions, will help to provide the best coverage possible. If your router is currently located in a corner, in a box or near a wall, moving it to a more central location can help to reduce black spots.
- Adjust your router's antennae — Most routers have two or more antennae that can be adjusted to improve signal strength. The antennae should be positioned vertically for optimal signal strength, and if it has more than two antennae, they should be positioned at different angles to ensure maximum coverage.
- Eliminate any physical obstructions — Physical obstructions such as walls, doors, or furniture can block WiFi signals and create black spots. To reduce the impact of these obstructions, businesses can move any objects that are blocking the signal path.
- Try new software and equipment — Upgrading to the latest software or equipment can help to improve WiFi coverage. For example, a mesh network system can provide better coverage in large buildings or multi-story structures. A high-gain antenna can also be added to the router to improve signal strength.
Get your business set with Bionic
Wrapping your head around removing WiFi black spots can sometimes be challenging, but knowing the solutions can be a great way to get your business back on top.
If you need more help understanding business connectivity, head over to our connectivity guide pages for more information. Or, get in touch today with the Bionic team to discuss your business connectivity needs, including business broadband and VoIP.