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Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Monitoring Wireless Networks for better Performence

If you want to keep your wireless network running fast and efficient, you_ need to continuously monitor its performance. The speed of a Wi-Fi (Wireless Fidelity) network is measured in megabits per second, or Mbps. Ideally, your Wi-Fi gear should be running at 54 Mbps — the speed of 802.11g Wi-Fi gear — or better. However, some components may cause your network to slow down to 802.11b speed, which is 11 Mbps. At this slower speed, transferring files takes longer, multimedia plays poorly, and downloading email and Web pages takes longer.

Reviewing wireless bandwidth statistics

Follow these steps to view wireless bandwidth statistics:

1. Log in to your access point using a Web browser.

2. Locate the traffic statistics screen in the access point's control panel. Look for a Traffic or Stats button or link.

3. Review statistics for the wireless portion of your network and compare it to other network traffic.

WAN stands for wide area network, and LAN stands for local area network. The WAN is usually your Internet connection, and the LAN is your local network. LAN traffic includes wireless traffic, so if you don't have any Ethernet wired computers the LAN and wireless statistics should be about the same.

Reset the counters and then check them 24 hours later. Do this on a regular basis to get an idea of your normal daily bandwidth. An abnormal surge in wireless traffic may indicate that an unauthorized user is on your network.

4. Locate the list of wireless clients and make sure that each device belongs to you. Even if all of the devices belong to you, disabling unused wireless devices (such as game consoles or printers that are not currently in use) can help speed up your network.

Receiving router logs by email

Use these steps to receive router logs via email:

1. Log in to the router's control panel using a Web browser.

2. Open the Logs screen of the router control panel and click the Log Settings button or link.

3. In the log settings, select the type of information you want emailed to you.

4. Enter the SMTP Server for outgoing mail and your email address and click OK or Apply.

You can obtain the address for your SMTP mail server from your ISP.

Identifying computers on your network

Follow these steps to identify the computers on your network:

1. Log in to the router's control panel using a Web browser.

2. Open the DHCP screen in the router control panel and locate the list of DHCP clients.

3. Note how many computers are using your network.

Each computer on your network must have a unique IP address, which is assigned by the router's DHCP server. The DHCP client list includes computers currently or recently active on your network.

Determining a Windows PC's IP address

Follow these steps to locate an IP address in Windows:

1. Choose Start --> All Programs --> Accessories --> Communication --> Network Connections.

2. In the resulting Network Connections window, click your current network connection once to select it.

3. Note the IP address and other information under Details on the left side of the Network Connections window.

If you have an older version of Windows, open the MS-DOS Command Prompt from the Windows Start menu. At the command prompt, type IPCONFIG and press Enter. The computer's IP address and other network information will be listed in the Command Prompt window.

Determining a Mac's IP address

Use these steps to find a Mac's IP address:

1. Open System Preferences from the Apple menu.

2. Click the Network icon in the System Preferences window.

3. Select your current network connection in the Show menu, and then note the IP address that is listed.

Determining a Pocket PC's IP address

Follow these steps to locate an IP address for a Pocket PC:

1. Tap the Wi-Fi connection icon on the Pocket PC's Today screen.

2. In the wireless LAN utility, tap the Advanced tab and note the IP address listed there.

Checking the speed of a wireless PC

To check the speed of a wireless PC, follow these step:

1. Double-click the system tray icon for your wireless connection.

The Windows system tray is in the lower-right corner next to the clock. If you don't have a system tray icon for your wireless connection, choose Start --> All Programs --> Accessories --> Communications --> Network Connections and then double-click the listing for your wireless network connection.

2. Note the speed shown for the connection.

Measuring your Wi-Fi range

Follow these steps to measure the Wi-Fi range for your network device:

1. Open the status window for your wireless connection. (If you're using a Pocket PC, open the Config tab of the_ wireless LAN utility.)

2. Move the computer to different locations and note the signal strength.

3. In Windows, right-click the wireless connection icon in the system tray to see the Wi-Fi signal strength.

Geographic distance isn't the only factor that affects the range of your Wi-Fi network. Brick walls, heavy furniture, and other objects can create additional interference. Just because the signal strength is poor in your living room doesn't mean that a neighbor two houses away can't receive your network's signal.

Some Wi-Fi antennas are stronger than others. If you have more than one wireless computer, test your Wi-Fi range using every device, noting which unit seems to get the best reception. Use the unit with the best reception to test the range of your network

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