Maximizing your WiFi Connection

AireBeam provides Public WiFi service at RV Resorts throughout Pinal, Maricopa and Yavapai Counties, AZ.  Click HERE for a list of Resorts.  Our WiFi services have been constructed using state-of-the-art transmitters, designed to provide a strong signal to your laptop and super sensitive receivers to receive the signal back from your Laptop computer’s wireless network adapter.  The purpose of this article to help you understand the limitations of WiFi and how you can maximize the speed and performance of your WiFi connection.

Laptop Signal Strength
A WiFi connection between your laptop computer and a wireless access point requires that your PC’s wireless network adapter be able to receive the signal from our access points and, most importantly, be able to send a usable signal back to our access points.  Our wireless access points are located high above the RVs and Park Models in the RV Resort and have 200mw radio transmitters and super sensitive receivers with medium gain antennas able to amplify the weakest return signals from laptops.  Most laptops are equipped with 50mw radio transmitters and have low gain antennas built into their lids. Bottom line, a laptop’s WiFi card is designed to permit connections between your living room and a bedroom in your home.  So connecting your laptop to a WiFi access point 100-300′ feet away when you are sitting inside an RV is at best a challenge!

Laptop Radio Strength
The important point to take away from this is that your laptop is only 25% as strong as our wireless access points; thus maximizing the return signal from your laptop to our access point is the means for you to obtain optimum WiFi performance.  Laptop wireless network adapters are designed for indoor use at an optimum range of 50-100 feet from a wireless router.

Placement of Access Points
When we construct a series of WiFi access points (which are essentially ultra-powerful wireless routers), we place them at intervals that assure that we are providing a usable signal to all of the laptops in the RV Resort and that most laptops can send an adequately strong return signal.  However, the presence of one or more of the following conditions can reduce the signal sent as well as received.

Impediments to Signal Quality
If you are using your laptop within an RV or park model, you should be aware of elements that can reduce your WiFi capability.  Metal is the enemy of WiFi radio wave transmission; it blocks radio waves and thus reduces the signal quality.  There could be metal foil on the back of the insulation within the walls of a fiberglas-sided RV or wood product-sided park model.  Metal clad park models and travel trailers surely reduce the signal as do metal sun shades located over the park model living room window and metalized UV coatings on RV Windows.  If an object that contains metal is located in the line of sight between your location and the access point, again, the signal will be blocked.
WiFi Signal Strength
Signal to Noise Ratio
Radio receivers receive all signals on the frequency at which the receiver is set: in the case of WiFi, 2.4Ghz.  For data transmission to occur, the WiFi signal must be at least 20dbm greater than the signal level of the noise or spurious transmissions.  If your signal is blocked, the signal to noise ratio (SNR) diminishes and the signal level drops below the 20dbm threshold; data transmission errors then occur sending and receiving data to and from the laptop to the access point and your laptop then either browses slowly or not at all.

Illustrative Example
The chart below illustrates the point.  In Case 1, the noise level (red) is significantly lower than the signal level (green). In Case 2. as more and more guests arrive at the RV Resort and crank up their wireless laptops, the noise level increases while the signal level remains the same, thus reducing the SNR.  In Case 3, If you then install a Range Expander which amplifies the WiFi signal as well as the return signal from your laptop to the Access point, your WiFi service vastly improves.