• Lea Rabinowitz

Is Your WiFi Network More Like Seattle or Montréal?


From being unapologetically polite, to maple syrup, hockey, and Tim Horton’s, there’s no denying that Canada does some things better than the rest of North America. But, there is one major

flaw putting a damper on the Canadian experience. That is -- if you’re flying through Toronto Pearson International or Montréal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International, don’t expect to get much work done or watch the latest Netflix show you’re bingeing, because the WiFi speeds are paltry.

Claiming the bottom two spots on North America’s busiest airports WiFi performance list has been a historical trend for Toronto and Montréal based on results from Speedtest.

While offering free WiFi is good for customers and your mobile workforce, these days what counts is being fast, reliable, and secure . The connectivity challenge isn’t limited to travel days -- it has implications in any workplace, and any location.

Oh by the way and for the record, two other Canadian airports are in the top-10: Calgary (#3) and Vancouver (#7).

4 Common Problems with Corporate WiFi Performance

In the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) era, WiFi is an absolute necessity. Unfortunately, it’s burdensome to design, maintain, and secure, reliable connections for thousands or millions of connected endpoints. While configurations can vary, there are three common problems with WiFi that IT teams should keep on their radars:

  • Poorly Configured or Misconfigured Hardware - Access Points (AP) can be the goldilocks of WiFi. It needs to be spot on, because too few can mean coverage gaps, where as too many can lead to devices struggling to maintain steady connections. The rule of thumb is that you need one AP for every 3,000 square feet, but that number can fluctuate depending on other network components like routers and controllers, and the type and configuration of the APs.

That’s not all -- simply positioning an AP antenna incorrectly can adversely affect performance.

  • Interference - Enjoying your Bluetooth-enabled devices? Well, any device that emits a radio signal, particularly on the 2.4GHz or 5GHz frequency, can cause interference. If the radio-frequency interface environment isn’t considered during the network design process, the amount of devices, the location or the positioning of your antenna won’t matter.

  • Low Data Rate Standards - At the airport you don’t want Netflix constantly buffering, and in the office employees also want seamless access to their business applications, even though the network could be a good excuse for not getting work done on time…​

Since data rate standards control WiFi client connections, keeping the data rate threshold too low can lead to slow connections. Much like in the airport, available WiFi is good, unless it doesn’t perform well. So if you want to maximize the end user experience, increasing the data rate standard is definitely a step in the right direction, as well as managing the data workload, applying fair and equal access, and avoid allowing Peer to Peer (P2P).

  • Trading Off High Performance OR Security - Achieving quality performance or security is doable, but how about balancing both? Rogue APs placed close to a WLAN to deceive employee devices into sharing data, eavesdropping, and more are some of the security barriers that require robust cybersecurity protocols that can slow the user experience.

Old WEP and WPA security protocols cap data rates at 54 Mbps despite the 802.11ac WiFi protocol supporting up to 1,000 Mbps. Since both use legacy TKIP encryption, performance is degraded, leading to end user dissatisfaction and decreased productivity.

If WiFi is the Default for Business, Make Sure It’s Great

Loading, loading...still loading. Employees don’t have the patience for the spinning circle or hourglass anymore -- and they shouldn’t have to. Instead, there needs to be a greater emphasis on addressing the potential causes of slow WiFi as it becomes the default connection for today’s businesses.

While speed tests can provide us with the entertaining rankings of the busiest airports, in the corporate environment it’s necessary to look at performance on a more granular level. Edgeworx Solutions provides customers with the visibility and continuous monitoring required to achieve a great network. Using synthetic WiFi client sessions inside an existing WiFi network, results reveal how the wireless network (controller) responds to a change demand for bandwidth and services. After completing WiFi performance assessments, customers can finally understand traffic patterns, interference, and misconfigurations that cause performance issues.

If you’re ready for a smooth takeoff for your WiFi performance, read more about the Edgeworx WiFi assessment and contact our consultants today at 1.647.793.4731.


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