Growth of WiFi in enterprises has been driven by technology trends such as BYOD and the use of wireless devices across all business departments – from stock taking in warehouses and order taking in restaurants, to mobile devices for flexible office working. This rapid increase of WLAN-enabled corporate devices, as well as the ever-growing consumer need for public WiFi, means a more complex WLAN infrastructure is necessary.
Ensuring that the enterprise WLAN is dynamic and able to perform under stress is therefore essential to networking success today, and in this article we take a look at LANCOM System’s Active Radio Control (ARC) technology which optimises WLAN for a reliable, high performance network – setting it apart from competing options.
Introducing LANCOM Active Radio Control (ARC)
Many organisations deploying Wireless LAN or WiFi solutions are faced with similar challenges:
- WLAN’s overlapping on individual channels
- WiFi clients competing for the available bandwidth
- Foreign WiFi networks disturbing the radio field
- Non-WLAN sources of interference temporarily compromising performance
LANCOM Active Radio Control (ARC) is an intelligent WLAN optimisation tool that allows businesses to effectively manage their WLAN infrastructure, addressing these challenges which network administrators may face. Incorporating the functionalities of the LANCOM Operating System (LCOS), ARC allows enterprises to sustainably optimise and improve radio fields, proactively preventing any network failures.
ARC – what it does
Along with the intelligent functions of the LANCOM Operating System, Active Radio Control incorporates a range of features allowing you to achieve:
- Adaptive RF Optimisation – for increased WLAN throughput
- Airtime Fairness – for improved use of bandwidth
- Managed RF Optimisation – for reduced channel overlaps
- Band Steering – to optimise load balancing due to the use of the 5GHz frequency band
- Client Steering – to optimise WiFi user experience as clients are steered to the most suitable access point
- Adaptive Noise Immunity – for better data throughput in challenging environments
- Spectral Scan – to enable efficient troubleshooting of the WLAN where interference may occur
Performance of the WLAN is significantly increased as a result, enabling businesses to manage their WLAN professionally, efficiently and flexibly. ARC also receives updates on a regular basis, keeping the system up-to-date with the latest improvements.
LANCOM’s Active Radio Control is all about delivering sustainable, intelligent functionalities, free of charge – making it a unique capability which truly enables organisations to unlock the full potential of their WLAN.
More about LANCOM Active Radio Control
Adaptive RF Optimisation
Adaptive RF Optimisation allows for the dynamic selection of the best performing WLAN channel. The access point automatically scans available channels for interfering signals and if a certain threshold has been exceeded in the current WLAN channel being used, the access point will automatically change to a qualitatively better channel.
Airtime Fairness enables better WLAN performance due to an efficient use of the available bandwidth by ensuring fair distribution of the WLAN transmission times among the active clients. The below example illustrates how this works:
Managed RF Optimisation
Managed RF Optimisation improves data throughput by enabling the optimal distribution of channels in the radio field and ensuring fewer channel overlaps. It is triggered by the network administrator and essentially is a process of turning all WLAN modules off before then turning them back on successively. When turning back on, the modules automatically search for a free channel, therefore optimising the distribution of the channels in the radio field. The module with the highest measured interference can be prioritised for channel selection.
By restricting access to the 2.4Ghz band and steering clients towards the 5GHz frequency band, WLAN performance is doubled. This automatic feature means no changes to the client configuration are necessary.
WLAN performance in controller-based networks is significantly increased as WLAN clients are steered to the most ideal access point. Client Steering is ideal for optimised load balancing, particularly where there are a high number of end devices. Network administrators can select from predefined scenarios or adjust parameters individually. The below diagram shows how this works:
Adaptive Noise Immunity
With Adaptive Noise Immunity, WLAN clients benefit from significantly more data throughput due to trouble-free WLAN coverage. This functionality enables the access point to dismiss interferences in the radio field and focus only on WLAN clients with sufficient signal strength.
The Spectral Scan feature on ARC enables the monitoring of the WLAN radio field spectrum for sources of interference. By scanning the entire RF spectrum, interferences in the WLAN can be easily identified including automatic identification of non-WLAN interferences (e.g. microwaves, baby monitors, Bluetooth devices, etc.). This enables the network administrator to understand and act upon causes of interference where possible.