Random

802.11ac 80Mhz intermittent Connection issues

Over the last little bit, I have had random issues with latency and throughput in specific areas both at work and at home with wireless. Mostly since I'm on the move it's been via my iPhone, but could also be noticed on iPads, the Surface and all other devices. Only difference being is to what level there was degradation.

Initially when I'm relatively close to the AP, lets say 100ft, minor obstructions I had very little issue what so ever. However, if there was the same distance with obstructions, or slightly longer distances all the devices would show a good signal strength. Percentage wise, around 35%, and dBm wise about 14-18 dBm. Now I know those are on the weaker side of the spectrum, but they are still usable. From a speed standpoint during initially installation I would still see 100Mbps + bi-directionally even with that signal strength. My latency would be about 7-10ms vice the normal 2ms at that strength but more than manageable.

As for my set up. It's identical between work and home, only difference being quantity and internet speed. Both networks are fronted by a Merkai MX-100, Meraki Switches, and MR-34 APs. That being said it's quality equipment that has always performed well for me. After some googling, more so about the iPhone and 802.11ac issues, I found a lot of people complaining about the 80Mhz configuration and the iPhone. That being said I wasn't seeing the same issues they were. For the most part they were having speed issues regardless of where they were in relationship to the AP. Mine were specific to the outer ring of the range. None the less, I figured I'd give playing with my settings to see what occurred.

Before I get into the settings, I will say that on the Meraki's, specifically when you go to my.Meraki.com when connected to an AP when you are set at 20Mhz = top speed of 400Mbps, 40Mhz 600Mbps and 80Mhz of 800Mbps. This maybe important to some depending on their internet speeds, and what they may be doing across the LAN.

To alter the settings on the Meraki, you need to go to your dashboard, Wireless, Radio Settings to alter the settings for your APs in the network.

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As I mentioned earlier, I had been googling the issue specifically with the iPhone so I used some of the details there as my baseline. I started close to my AP and ran a speed test both on my iPhone and Surface and set a baseline of what I expected my AP Performance to be. I then went to the "problem locations" and recorded the bandwidth when things were performing optimally. Was getting about 125Mbps bi-directionally there as well.

I really didn't want to go down to 20Mhz as I had read on some of the articles with regards to the iPhone issues. However, the Meraki doesn't offer an "Auto" setting like some other 802.11ac routers do. I then tested at both 20Mhz, 40Mhz to see how the performance was. The performance at the 40Mhz range was equal to my previous tests. Even when running multiple simultaneous speed tests all the devices performed the same, and on par with what I was seeing at the 80Mhz range.

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Thus my thought is if you are running a high concentration of Apple Devices, go ahead and drop your 5Ghz band to 40Mhz and call it a day. Second to that put in a feature request with Meraki (or your vendor) to support the "Auto" functionality.

Teamwork in Business "overhead" departments.

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Recently, teamwork spanning across departments has been at the forefront as a result of a project that has ramifications across all of the "Shared Services" departments.  By shared services, we are talking about your "overhead" departments in most mainstream business.  Departments such as Finance, Legal, IT, Marketing, Business Development, Admin Services.  Traditionally unless in a specific industry most of these departments are not revenue generating departments but considered an overhead expense of doing  business.  What each of these departments can do in order to curb spending is a whole other discussion, however its' important to note that just because they are overhead, that they should all be able to justify their value and bring cost consciousness to their decisions. Depending on the size of the business, the teamwork could vary at different levels in the organizational chart however there is a certain amount of teamwork that needs to exist through these departments.  As an example, the IT department couldn't institute any new policies without having the language cleared through Legal, and replaced in corporate documentation by HR.  A basic situation such as this also can illustrate where issues regarding teamwork could arise.  Legal and HR may not see the value in the updated policy, nor want to have to add the task to their workload.  Having a leader that can illustrate the value of breaking down the department "silo" mentality is instrumental in providing a higher level, consistent and efficient process for the end client.  In this case as an overhead department the end client is the employees of the company.  It is often lost on the Shared Service departments that the revenue generating employees are their client, many times they are thought of as peers.  Its important to keep the mindset, if our clients were external, would we treat them this way or would we provide a different effort?

The goal is to have the overhead departments working in unison, by being productive with streamlined efficiency in order to support the line of business activities of the company.  Keeping in mind, that without the LOB Employees, there is no business for the overhead departments to support.  In that case the way the operations should flow is all of the staff between departments to realize they are a team.  An example process that could illustrate how that could work, is the intake of a new employee.  In theory one of the LOB departments puts in the approval for a new hire to the HR Department.  It would then be up to HR to notify the other departments on the needs of the impending new hire.  Example being, IT for user setup and equipment, Finance Department for Payroll and Expenses, Marketing for Business cards.  If that process isn't instituted or followed through correctly by the "Team" it gives a poor impression on to the new hire on their first day about the company, as well as hurts overall productivity an efficiency.

To usher in teamwork there are a few things that can help:

  • Communication:  It is imperative that all these different departments are communicating regularly.   There are always things that could arise from discussion that someone from a neighboring department maybe able to help with.  When those situations arise you can assign a "team" to a project vs. an individual.
  • Rewards: In some cases you could provide a reward for teamwork.
  • Accountability:  Everyone should be held accountable for their role, and\or projects.  That also means that regardless of who, both the positive and negative reinforcements should be applied.
  • Availability:  Management should be available to communicate any "direction" or conflict resolutions that may arise.

Lastly, its crucial to know that it teamwork can't always be built over night and requires time.  Be patient and constantly look at the members of the team in order make sure their needs are being made.

 

Potential dream PBX - Skype for Business

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[one_half last="no" spacing="yes" center_content="no" hide_on_mobile="no" background_color="" background_image="" background_repeat="no-repeat" background_position="left top" border_size="0px" border_color="" border_style="solid" padding="" margin_top="" margin_bottom="" animation_type="" animation_direction="" animation_speed="0.1" class="" id=""][fusion_text]Skype Lync merger[/fusion_text][/one_half][one_fourth last="no" spacing="yes" center_content="no" hide_on_mobile="no" background_color="" background_image="" background_repeat="no-repeat" background_position="left top" border_size="0px" border_color="" border_style="" padding="" margin_top="" margin_bottom="" animation_type="" animation_direction="" animation_speed="0.1" class="" id=""][/one_fourth][one_fourth last="yes" spacing="yes" center_content="no" hide_on_mobile="no" background_color="" background_image="" background_repeat="no-repeat" background_position="left top" border_size="0px" border_color="" border_style="" padding="" margin_top="" margin_bottom="" animation_type="" animation_direction="" animation_speed="0.1" class="" id=""][/one_fourth][fusion_text]This week Office Mechanics gave a demo for the upcoming Skype for Business which has been in preview since the Office 2016 preview became available.  Initially I was just excited for the rebranding simply because I knew it would bring a tighter integration between Lync and Skype, mainly video chatting between streams.  Aside from that, I selfishly despised the fact that there were two accounts needed in the enterprise, one for your Office 365 account and Lync, then a second tied to an MS ID in order to use Skype.  Having Lync rebranded to Skype for business eliminates both of those. Secondly in my dealings with multiple PBX vendors over the year I always wanted to see an easier connection between Lync and the PBX.  All though there were PBX vendors that allowed integration, either natively or with third party hardware, the configuration always seemed to provide some complexity that was difficult to feel secure with.  Additionally there always seemed to be some sort of trade off with functionality on either side.  From what has been gathered or mentioned so far, this should resolve many of those issues.

The last thing I hope to hear more about is desktop phones.  Natively we can't just remove physical phones from the desktop, I'm interested to see if it's going to stick with the Lync PBX integration model, or if there is going to be easier configuration for any SIP compatible desktop phone.[/fusion_text][fusion_text]

Update!

So it appears the dream has come true.  It's been hard to find out more information regarding the where, when who or what, however it is called Office 365 Skype for Business with PTSN.

It's my understanding that those with an E-4 license will be able to use this service.  That being said, not sure who the providers are going to be for the SIP Trunking. My Instinct is it's going to be those that are part of the Azure Express route.

Skype for Business is here—and this is only the beginning[/fusion_text][separator style_type="none" top_margin="" bottom_margin="" sep_color="" border_size="" icon="" icon_circle="" icon_circle_color="" width="" alignment="" class="" id=""][fusion_text]

Update

Microsoft Releases Preview program: http://nooch.co/1Itbcg7[/fusion_text]