George Brown WiFi – 16/09/14
The George Brown college WiFi is actually pretty bad. At times the wifi is decent. Strong and fast enough to watch Netflix. But that is only 10% of the time. The rest of the time consists of 1k+ ms in latency and less than 250kbit a second speed. This leads to a frustrating when you’re trying to download PowerPoints for class.
The explanation that would make sense for this issue is that there are too many clients per wireless access point. It is very possible that the access points are not properly optimized: IP address conflicts. The router seems to boot people put of the network and then the device has difficulty reconnecting to the strong access point. The DHCP server on the access point seems to be limited to 253 connected devices, at which once exceeded boots the first device connected (note: this occurs through WiFi). Within a large class, it is very possible to have neighbouring classrooms add up to over 300 clients within the block. As a result, only a portion of the population get connectivity.
Another issue is speed. The amount of access points available within range are too high. It is very possible to be congested through interference, but I don’t think that is the issue here. Speed may be because of 250 clients are connected to an outdated WiFi router. It is very possible the hardware is limited to 100mbps, which is basically around 12.5MBps. With a estimated 70% efficiency is speed, this calculates to about 8.75MBps. Divided among 250 clients results in a measly 0.035MBps stream.
Note: 0.24mbps calculates to about 0.03MBps
The solution to this problem is to add more available IP addresses. I have purchased another TP-Link TL-WR720N WiFi router. I chose this because of:
1. Price – at 11.99 and free shipping, this router is VERY affordable.
2. Switch – it has 2 RJ45 ports. Perfect for classrooms that do not have extra Ethernet ports
3. Size – it’s tiny.
By disregarding the power adapter, I can use a step up module and hook up a rechargeable battery to power up the device. By using the step up module, I can boost the voltage of the rechargeable battery from 3.7v to the required 12v (as well as lowering amperage).
My plan is to use the desktop computer’s Ethernet cable to connect to the WiFi access point. Then using a separate 1 foot cable, I connect the disconnected PC to the WiFi router via switch. In theory, both devices should get internet access.
However, the only concerns I have is the domain/gateway collision. Usually, these school computers log on through the school domain. Adding an access point may block the computer from logging into the school domain, as a result, the teacher may not be able to use the computer. Limitations will exist and will need to be tested once I get the router.
Faster WiFi for everyone!