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Ankita Katdare
Ankita Katdare • Mar 29, 2012

IETF Engineers Do Hotel Wi-Fi Makeover & Help Conference Attendees

IETF (The Internet Engineering Task Force) community was in Paris for its 83rd meeting full of research work presentations, reports and group meetings with topics ranging from Multiparty Multimedia Session Control to Worthwhile Extensible Internet Registration Data Service. But when the IETF engineers gathered at the hotel and find out that the Hotel Wi-Fi does not seem to work properly, they get their nerdy brains working immediately.

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What happened was indeed gruesome. As more and more attendees started joining the IETFers at the hotel and started trying to connect to the Wi-Fi, the problems surfaced. Soon, complaints started emerging about lack of coverage and loss of packets. Even the wired network did not seem to work any better, though that was because the TVs in the rooms shared the data connection. The blocking of outgoing internet ports was affecting both Wi-Fi and wired networks.

Now Engineers being Engineers, they rolled up sleeves and started finding solutions. The hotel uses Wi-Fi gear from Colubris Networks (a part of HP now), which they found out was not at fault. They identified that the problems were being caused by the deployment and configuration of the installed equipment. Excessive access points with radios set at high power and poor channel planning was all that made the situation worse. So, among the changes that IETF personnel did were, decreasing the AP receiver sensitivity, increasing the minimum data and multicast rate from 1Mbps to 2Mbps. Moreover, they decreased the transmit power from 20dBm to 10dBm and turned off the radios on numerous APs to reduce the noise. They put up a NOC trouble-shooting system put together on the fly.

And, no points for guessing, immediately some of the attendees started seeing improvements in connectivity, but not all. For some, in fact the changes made things worse, especially for the people above the floor number 27. So, the engineers remapped the channels and frequency bands for all the APs on floors 2-33 and saw if the scenario got any better. Now, there are two APs on four channels. This design maximizes the distance between access points on the same channel and switched from 2.4 to 5 GHz so as to get a much less crowded band.

Source: NetworkWorld

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