You are an IT Expert, helping me make a wireless internet purchasing decision. I am experiencing wifi slow down issues in an office space. There is currently a WAC-104 wifi access point which appears to be for home and small office use. We are in a 2000 square foot office with 20 devices in a business setting that requires the ability to work constantly on a computer including using VOIP on Macbooks without LAG. We have adequate speed coming into the building through Comcast Business with plenty of upload and download speeds available. It seems to mostly be a load issue.
When shopping for new components what specifications should we be looking for?
Based on your requirements, you need a wireless access point that can handle high loads and provide consistent, reliable connectivity to 20 devices in a 2000 square foot office. Here are some of the specifications that you should look for when shopping for a new wireless access point:
- Dual-band support: A dual-band wireless access point that supports both 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequency bands will provide better coverage and higher data transfer rates compared to a single-band access point.
- Multiple antennas: An access point with multiple antennas will provide better coverage and performance compared to an access point with a single antenna.
- Wi-Fi standards: Look for an access point that supports the latest Wi-Fi standards such as 802.11ac or 802.11ax (also known as Wi-Fi 6). These standards provide faster data transfer rates and better performance in high-density environments.
- MIMO technology: Multiple Input Multiple Output (MIMO) technology allows an access point to send and receive multiple streams of data simultaneously, which can improve performance and increase the number of clients that can be connected to the network.
- PoE support: Power over Ethernet (PoE) allows an access point to be powered over the network cable, which can simplify installation and reduce the number of cables needed.
- Management features: Look for an access point that comes with management features such as centralized management, monitoring, and reporting tools, which can make it easier to manage and troubleshoot the network.
- Security features: Make sure the access point comes with security features such as WPA3 encryption, guest access, and client isolation to ensure that your network is secure.
Based on these specifications, some recommended wireless access points for your requirements could be the Ubiquiti UniFi UAP-AC-Pro, the Cisco Meraki MR33, or the Aruba Instant On AP22.
Regarding the 3 recommendations you made. Are they better than the Netgear-Orbi 960 AXE11000 quad band mesh 6E system? Why or why not?
The Netgear Orbi 960 AXE11000 quad-band mesh 6E system is a high-performance wireless system that provides excellent coverage and speeds. However, it is designed more for home users and may not be the best option for a business environment with 20 devices.
The three recommendations I made (Ubiquiti UniFi UAP-AC-Pro, Cisco Meraki MR33, and Aruba Instant On AP22) are all designed specifically for small to medium-sized businesses and offer advanced features that are necessary in such an environment. These features include centralized management, monitoring, and reporting tools, guest access, and client isolation, as well as high-performance Wi-Fi standards and MIMO technology.
Another advantage of the recommended access points is their scalability. As your business grows and you add more devices or expand the office space, you can easily add more access points and manage them all from a single dashboard.
So, while the Netgear Orbi 960 AXE11000 quad-band mesh 6E system is a great option for home users, the recommended access points are better suited for businesses with more demanding requirements, such as high device counts, advanced security, and centralized management.
Does the Orbi 960 AXE11000 have MIMO?
Yes, the Netgear Orbi 960 AXE11000 system does support MIMO (Multiple Input Multiple Output) technology. It uses 8x8 MIMO with eight spatial streams, which enables it to send and receive multiple data streams simultaneously. This helps to improve the overall performance and speed of the system, especially in high-density environments where many devices are connected at the same time.
What does 8x8 MIMO with eight spatial streams mean? Explain this to me like I am a grade 12 graduate without the technical knowledge.
Sure, I'd be happy to explain MIMO and spatial streams in simpler terms.
MIMO stands for Multiple Input Multiple Output. In the context of Wi-Fi, it refers to a technology that allows a wireless router or access point to use multiple antennas to send and receive data. The main benefit of MIMO is that it allows for faster and more reliable wireless connections, especially in environments where there are many devices connected at the same time.
When we talk about 8x8 MIMO with eight spatial streams, what this means is that the Orbi 960 AXE11000 system has eight antennas that can send and receive data simultaneously, and can use eight streams of data to communicate with devices. This allows the system to handle a larger number of devices and data streams, which can improve overall performance and speed.
In simpler terms, think of it like a highway with multiple lanes. Just like how more lanes on a highway can handle more traffic, more antennas and spatial streams in a wireless access point can handle more data traffic from multiple devices at the same time, resulting in faster and more reliable Wi-Fi connections.
How many spatial streams does the 3 recommendations that you gave me earlier have?
Sure, I'd be happy to provide that information. Here are the spatial stream specifications for the three access points I recommended earlier:
- Ubiquiti UniFi UAP-AC-Pro: This access point supports 3x3 MIMO with three spatial streams on both the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands.
- Cisco Meraki MR33: This access point supports 2x2 MIMO with two spatial streams on both the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands.
- Aruba Instant On AP22: This access point supports 2x2 MIMO with two spatial streams on both the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands.
While the number of spatial streams is lower compared to the Netgear Orbi 960 AXE11000, these access points are designed for business environments with a smaller number of devices, and still provide excellent performance and reliability. Additionally, the lower number of spatial streams doesn't necessarily mean lower performance - other factors such as the Wi-Fi standard, antenna design, and signal processing technology also play a significant role in overall performance.
If my main concern is wifi speed reliability, would the Orbi system be adequate given that I will have 5-6 Macbook Pros connected for VOIP phones running constantly in a call center, as well as multiple browser tabs open downloading and uploading PDF files?
The Orbi system's high-speed specifications and advanced features make it a powerful wireless system, and it can certainly handle the requirements you mentioned, including multiple Macbook Pros running VOIP calls, as well as downloading and uploading files.
However, it's worth noting that the Orbi system is primarily designed for home and small office use, and may not offer the same level of advanced features and management capabilities that dedicated business access points provide. For example, business access points typically offer centralized management, monitoring, and reporting tools, as well as advanced security features, which can be essential in a business environment.
If speed and reliability are your main concerns and you want a more powerful and scalable wireless solution for your call center, I would still recommend considering dedicated business-grade access points such as the Ubiquiti UniFi UAP-AC-Pro, Cisco Meraki MR33, or Aruba Instant On AP22, as these are designed specifically for business environments and offer more advanced features and management capabilities. However, if you have a small business and need a quick and easy-to-set-up wireless solution with high speeds, the Orbi system may be a suitable option.
What specific management capabilities would make your recommendations a better choice?
The three access points I recommended (Ubiquiti UniFi UAP-AC-Pro, Cisco Meraki MR33, and Aruba Instant On AP22) offer several advanced management capabilities that make them a better choice for business environments. Here are some of the key features:
- Centralized management: All three access points offer centralized management, which allows you to configure, monitor, and manage multiple access points from a single dashboard. This can be especially useful if you have multiple access points across your office space, as it simplifies configuration and troubleshooting.
- Advanced reporting and analytics: Business-grade access points typically offer advanced reporting and analytics features, which allow you to monitor and analyze network traffic, client behavior, and other metrics to help you optimize network performance and troubleshoot issues.
- Guest access: All three access points support guest access, which allows you to set up separate Wi-Fi networks for guests or customers without compromising the security of your internal network.
- VLAN support: VLAN support allows you to segment your network into multiple virtual LANs, which can be useful for separating different departments or groups within your organization, or for isolating potentially insecure devices from the rest of the network.
- Quality of Service (QoS) support: QoS allows you to prioritize traffic on your network based on its importance, ensuring that critical applications such as VOIP calls are given priority over less important traffic.
Overall, these management capabilities provide greater control and visibility over your network, which can be essential in a business environment where reliability and performance are crucial.
So the Orbi does not have the QOS capability?
The Netgear Orbi system does offer QoS (Quality of Service) capabilities, which allows you to prioritize certain types of network traffic over others. This can be useful in a business environment where you need to ensure that critical applications such as VOIP calls are given priority over less important traffic, such as file downloads or web browsing.
The Orbi system offers Dynamic QoS, which automatically prioritizes bandwidth for streaming videos, gaming, and other high-bandwidth activities. It also supports manual QoS settings, which allow you to manually configure and prioritize different types of traffic.
So while the Orbi system may not offer the same level of advanced management capabilities as dedicated business access points, it does offer QoS functionality, which can be useful for ensuring reliable network performance.
Is there a difference in antenna design, and signal processing technology between the Orbi and your recommendations?
Yes, there are differences in antenna design and signal processing technology between the Netgear Orbi system and the access points I recommended.
The Netgear Orbi system uses a tri-band design with one 2.4GHz band and two 5GHz bands, with six internal antennas for each unit. This design allows for better performance and coverage, especially in larger homes or offices, and the internal antennas help to reduce clutter and make installation easier.
The Ubiquiti UniFi UAP-AC-Pro, Cisco Meraki MR33, and Aruba Instant On AP22, on the other hand, use a dual-band design with both 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands. The antennas used in these access points vary, but they generally use external antennas that can be adjusted for optimal coverage and performance. The external antennas provide greater flexibility and can help to optimize coverage in larger or more complex environments.
In terms of signal processing technology, the Netgear Orbi system uses a combination of beamforming and MU-MIMO (Multi-User Multiple Input Multiple Output) technology to improve performance and coverage. Beamforming allows the router to direct the Wi-Fi signal toward the devices, while MU-MIMO allows the router to send data to multiple devices simultaneously.
The access points I recommended also use beamforming and MU-MIMO technology, but they may use different variations or implementations depending on the specific model. Additionally, they may offer other advanced signal processing technologies such as airtime fairness, which helps to prevent slower devices from monopolizing network resources.
Overall, while there are differences in antenna design and signal processing technology between the Netgear Orbi system and the recommended access points, both options are designed to provide reliable and high-performance wireless connectivity. The specific choice will depend on your specific needs and requirements, such as the number of devices, the size of the office, and the need for advanced management features.
What is the price of your recommendations?
The prices for the three access points I recommended may vary depending on the retailer and the specific model. Here are the current (as of April 2023) approximate prices for each access point:
- Ubiquiti UniFi UAP-AC-Pro: Approximately $150 to $180 per unit.
- Cisco Meraki MR33: Approximately $450 to $500 per unit.
- Aruba Instant On AP22: Approximately $150 to $200 per unit.
Please note that these prices are for a single access point, and do not include any additional accessories or licensing fees that may be required. Additionally, prices may vary depending on your location and local taxes.
It's also worth noting that these access points are designed for small to medium-sized businesses, and may offer more advanced features and capabilities than consumer-grade routers and access points. As a result, they may be more expensive than a consumer-grade solution, but they may also offer greater reliability, performance, and scalability for your business needs.
How would I analyze traffic needs or usage to determine the appropriate mixture of technical capacity in my office? What factors would I need to measure or factor in?
To determine the appropriate mixture of technical capacity for your office, you will need to analyze your traffic needs or usage. Here are some factors that you should consider when analyzing your network traffic:
- Number of devices: Determine the number of devices that will be connected to the network, including desktops, laptops, smartphones, tablets, and other IoT devices.
- Network usage: Determine the types of applications and services that will be used on the network, such as web browsing, email, file sharing, video streaming, VOIP, and other real-time applications.
- Bandwidth requirements: Determine the bandwidth requirements for each application and service, and estimate the total amount of bandwidth that will be required.
- Peak usage: Determine the peak times when network usage is highest, and estimate the amount of bandwidth that will be required during these times.
- Latency requirements: Determine the latency requirements for each application and service, and ensure that the network can provide low latency and high performance for real-time applications such as VOIP.
- Security requirements: Determine the security requirements for the network, including encryption, authentication, and access control, and ensure that the network is secure and compliant with relevant regulations.
Once you have analyzed your network traffic needs, you can determine the appropriate mixture of technical capacity by considering factors such as the number and type of access points, the Wi-Fi standard and bandwidth, the number and type of antennas, and the availability of advanced features such as centralized management, monitoring, and reporting tools.
It's also important to consider scalability, as your network requirements may change over time. Ensure that the chosen solution can be easily expanded or upgraded to meet future needs.
Overall, by carefully analyzing your network traffic needs and requirements, and considering the appropriate technical capacity, you can ensure that your network is reliable, high-performance, and secure, and can support your business needs both now and in the future.
If 6 Macbook Pros are on a network, using VOIP while also engaging in two browser tabs such as Hubspot CRM and Gmail, uploading PDF's or downloading PDF's at the same time, or viewing 1080p photos to put into said PDF's. What would you estimate is the data usage? How would I describe my needs to an IT specialist?
The estimated data usage for six Macbook Pros running VOIP while also engaging in two browser tabs such as Hubspot CRM and Gmail, uploading or downloading PDFs, and viewing 1080p photos would depend on various factors such as the duration of the calls, the frequency and size of the PDF files, and the duration and frequency of photo viewing. However, here are some rough estimates based on typical data usage:
- VOIP: VOIP calls typically use between 0.5 to 1 MB per minute, depending on the codec used and the quality of the call. Assuming an average of 5 hours of calls per day, the estimated data usage for VOIP would be between 1.5 GB to 3 GB per day, or between 45 GB to 90 GB per month.
- Browser tabs: Assuming moderate usage of browser tabs such as Hubspot CRM and Gmail, the estimated data usage would be between 200 MB to 500 MB per day, or between 6 GB to 15 GB per month.
- PDF files: The data usage for uploading or downloading PDF files would depend on the size and frequency of the files. Assuming an average of 20 MB per file and moderate usage, the estimated data usage would be between 400 MB to 1 GB per day, or between 12 GB to 30 GB per month.
- 1080p photos: The data usage for viewing 1080p photos would depend on the duration and frequency of viewing. Assuming moderate usage, the estimated data usage would be between 200 MB to 500 MB per day, or between 6 GB to 15 GB per month.
Overall, the estimated data usage for these activities would be between 2.3 GB to 4.5 GB per day, or between 69 GB to 135 GB per month.
To describe your needs to an IT specialist, you could provide them with the estimated number of devices and the type of activities that will be performed on the network, as well as any other specific requirements such as the need for advanced management and monitoring tools, security features, or scalability. Additionally, you could discuss your budget and any other relevant factors such as the size and layout of the office space. This information can help the IT specialist recommend the appropriate technical solution that can meet your needs and requirements.
Okay, and what about bandwidth needs?
In addition to data usage, estimating bandwidth needs is also important when determining the appropriate technical capacity for your network. Bandwidth refers to the maximum amount of data that can be transferred over your network at any given time, and it is measured in Mbps (megabits per second). Here are some factors to consider when estimating bandwidth needs:
- Number of devices: Determine the number of devices that will be connected to the network, as each device will require a certain amount of bandwidth.
- Network usage: Determine the types of applications and services that will be used on the network, and estimate the amount of bandwidth that will be required for each application or service. For example, VOIP calls typically require between 64 Kbps to 1 Mbps, depending on the codec used and the quality of the call.
- Peak usage: Determine the peak times when network usage is highest, and estimate the amount of bandwidth that will be required during these times. For example, if all six Macbook Pros are engaged in VOIP calls simultaneously, the bandwidth required will be higher than if only one or two Macbook Pros are on a call.
- Latency requirements: Determine the latency requirements for each application and service, and ensure that the network can provide low latency and high performance for real-time applications such as VOIP.
- Future growth: Consider future growth and expansion of your business, and ensure that the network can accommodate additional devices and usage.
Based on the activities you described earlier (VOIP calls, browsing, and uploading/downloading PDF files), and assuming moderate usage, an estimated bandwidth requirement of at least 20-30 Mbps would be appropriate for your needs. However, this is just a rough estimate, and your actual bandwidth needs may vary depending on your specific usage patterns and requirements.
To describe your bandwidth needs to an IT specialist, you can provide them with the estimated number of devices and the type of activities that will be performed on the network, as well as any other specific requirements such as the need for low latency or high-performance Wi-Fi. This information can help the IT specialist recommend the appropriate technical solution that can meet your bandwidth needs and requirements.
Does VOIP need low latency or high latency?
VOIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) requires low latency to ensure high-quality voice calls. Latency refers to the delay between the time a sound is generated and the time it is heard at the other end of the call. High latency can cause delays, echoing, and distortion, which can affect the quality of the call and make it difficult to communicate effectively.
For VOIP calls, low latency is essential to ensure that the conversation flows smoothly and that there is minimal delay between the speaker and listener. In general, a latency of less than 150 milliseconds is considered good for VOIP calls, while a latency of over 300 milliseconds can cause significant delays and distortion.
To ensure low latency for VOIP calls, it's important to choose a network solution that is designed for real-time applications such as VOIP. This can include features such as Quality of Service (QoS), which allows you to prioritize VOIP traffic over other types of traffic, and low-latency Wi-Fi standards such as 802.11ac or 802.11ax.
Additionally, it's important to ensure that the network is properly configured and optimized for VOIP, and that any potential sources of latency, such as network congestion or interference, are minimized or eliminated. By ensuring low latency, you can ensure high-quality and reliable VOIP calls for your business needs.
Does the Orbi system I found offer the QOS needs to prioritize the VOIP traffic?
Yes, the Netgear Orbi system does offer Quality of Service (QoS) capabilities that allow you to prioritize traffic on your network, including VOIP traffic. With Dynamic QoS, the Orbi system automatically prioritizes bandwidth for streaming videos, gaming, and other high-bandwidth activities, and can also be manually configured to prioritize specific types of traffic.
In addition, the Orbi system offers a feature called Circle Smart Parental Controls, which includes a "Priority" feature that allows you to set up custom prioritization rules for specific devices or types of traffic. This can be useful in a business environment where you need to ensure that critical applications such as VOIP calls are given priority over less important traffic, such as file downloads or web browsing.
Overall, the Orbi system offers QoS capabilities that can be useful for ensuring reliable network performance and prioritizing VOIP traffic in a business environment.