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How Does Wireless Internet, or Line of Sight Internet Work?

How Does Wireless Internet, or Line of Sight Internet Work?

Salmon Bay Wireless is a Wireless Internet Provider.  What do we mean by Wireless Internet?

Wireless Internet is a pretty simple concept.  But most of us don’t know how it works. It has a lot of moving parts like Fresnel zones, Wifi Protocols, MIMO multipaths, mesh, TDMA, and extenders.  In this blog post I will explain what each of these is in relation to a wireless internet system.

The most simple definition of Wireless Internet is an internet system that doesn’t rely on signals through a wire.  A wireless internet system relies on signals that travel through the air.  Wireless Internet is also referred to line of sight internet.

Think about this in relation to telephones.  In the old days, we relied on phones that were hooked onto a wall and required wires.  Now we have cell phones that can go anywhere, due to towers and satellites in space.

Line of sight Wireless internet is an alternative to internet provided by wires or cables. Line of sight internet requires an unobstructed path from the wireless transmitter to the wireless receiver.  Trees, buildings, and hills make it difficult to establish a line of sight signal. 

How does line of sight internet work exactly?  It’s complicated.

Wireless internet uses IEEE 802.11 technical standard or protocol.  IEEE8 02.11  is used in most home and office networks to allow laptops, printers, smartphones, and other devices to communicate with each other and access the Internet without connecting wires.  For example, printing from a computer to a wireless printer is made possible by IEE802.11 computer protocol or standard.

Line of sight internet signals have something called the Fresnel zone.  This is the area that surrounds the visual line of sight.  Once the radio waves leave the antenna they expand into this area – the Fresnel Zone.  This means to get a strong signal you will need a clear line of sight.  This clear line of sight ensures a strong signal strength.  If there is 20% or more signal blockage in the Fresnel zone, there will be a lot of difficulty establishing a wireless internet link with a strong signal.

To increase this signal, wireless internet uses range extenders, also known as wireless repeaters, to take these radio signals and relay them to another network.  

If there are multiple devices like a computer and a printer, for example, that need to be connected, a wireless extender can push the radio signal over a distance to make this possible. 

Think about using your computer in one room, and having your wireless printer in a different room – separated by walls.  The wireless signal may not be strong enough to reach that printer because of those walls.  An extender or repeater can extend the wireless internet signal to the other room, making it possible to print on that wireless printer.

Once again, this relies on IEEE 802.11 technology protocols.  The extenders bridge the gap between devices.  Wireless extenders should be protected with passwords.

Below is a table of different Wi-Fi Protocols and Data Rates.  802.11 is the standard protocol for wireless internet.  802.11n is the fastest and has the most flexibility regarding frequency.

 

Protocol

Frequency

Maximum data rate (theoretical)

802.11g

2.4 GHz

54 Mbps

802.11a

5 GHz

54 Mbps

802.11b

2.4 GHz

11 Mbps

Legacy 802.11

 

802.11n

2.4 GHz

 

2.4 & 5 GHz

2 Mbps

 

450 Mbps

 

Wireless Wifi relies on something called Multiple-Input Multiple-Output (MIMO). This allows many transmitters and receivers to transfer a lot of data all at once. All wireless products with 802.11n support MIMO. This technology helps allow 802.11n to reach higher speeds than products without 802.11n, as shown on the table above.

MIMO relies on multipath technology.  Multipath is the natural way that radio waves behave when they are transmitted.  With multipath technology, radio waves will ricochet around off walls, the ceiling, and even objects.  The antenna receives these multipath signals from different angles and at different times.  

This behavior by radio waves used to slow down the radio signals, but with MIMO and multipath technology this bouncy behavior actually increases the speed and range of the radio waves.  

Ubiquiti Networks, an American technology company, uses the TDMA system.  TDMA stands for the TDMA (Time Division Multiple Access) protocol.  This protocol prevents noise during radio transmission and outperforms traditional 802.11 protocol based networks.  

The TDMA protocol allows several users to share the same frequency channel by dividing the signal into different time slots. The users transmit in rapid succession, one after the other, each using its own time slot. This allows multiple stations to share the same transmission medium (e.g. radio frequency channel) while using only a part of its channel capacity. See the image below.

There are some issues with TDMA.  It works best if there is one station in control of everyone using that channel.  This control point tracks who uses it and when.  If there are multiple controllers, it can become very chaotic.  Think of small children in a classroom.  If a teacher lets them all talk at once instead of raising their hand when it’s their turn, it’s very loud and doesn’t make any sense and everyone is yelling.

If you use Ubiquiti Networks Airmax TDMA system this allows the user to schedule time slots to avoid radio wave collision, and allows the user to prioritize voice or video uses.  It also is among the most efficient wireless network systems in use today.

Salmon Bay Wireless uses the Ubiquiti Networks Airmax TDMA system which makes us the best wireless solution for businesses and home users.  Check our speeds and prices here.

New Tower in Ballard

New Tower in Ballard

Salmon Bay Wireless has rolled out a new antenna in Ballard.   This is great for the area, as it provides customers with a local company with outstanding Internet Service.  We also feature low pricing. The new antenna gives customers an alternative to massive corporations that don’t have great customer service and require contracts. 

Salmon Bay Wireless doesn’t require contracts.  We provide 10 Mbits to hundreds of Mbits. We can service homes, condos, apartments and businesses.  Installation is free with pre-paid service.

Installation is easy – we attach some small hardware to get the tower signal.  (Our largest hardware option is smaller than a satellite tv dish).  Then we install a router in your house that is the standard size of most wireless routers.

Do you live in our new service area?  If you do check out our website for more information by submitting a service inquiry today or email [email protected]. Give us a call at 206-400-8000.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Things to try before calling for Wireless Internet Support

Things to try before calling for Wireless Internet Support

You may have a day where you experience problems with your Internet.  If your internet slows down or stops working all together it can be frustrating.  Fortunately, there are some easy things you can do to resolve these issues.  Here are some suggestions on how to fix things quickly, so you don’t have to spend your valuable time reaching out for assistance.

First, run a speed test.  Go to www.speedtest.net or www.fast.com.  Is your speed slower than it should be?  Once you have confirmed that there is an issue with your speed, it’s time to try other fixes.

Keep in mind that there is a good technique to test these fixes as you go along.  Type your favorite website’s address into your browser (for example, www.salmonbaywireless.com), and refresh your browser by pushing down the shift key while pushing down the enter key.  If your site displays, then the problem is resolved.

Here are some additional steps to follow if you are still experiencing problems.   90% of Internet issues are resolved with the first two steps.

  1. Restart your Router.  To do this, pull the power cord out, wait 10 seconds, and plug the power cord back in.  Wait 2-3 minutes and then run a speed test again.  This takes care of most internet issues.
  2. Is your account paid up? Go to the payment link you received from us in your email to look at the status of your account.  This link doesn’t change – it should always reference your account information.
  3. If you find that you still aren’t getting internet at all, some basic checks are helpful.  Is your router plugged in correctly?  Make sure that nothing has come loose or is disconnected.
  4. Next, try plugging your computer directly into your router with an ethernet cord.  Are you able to use the Internet?   This test will eliminate the chance that any local wireless issues are occurring.
  5. Check other equipment as well – take a look at your outside antenna.  Is it where it is supposed to be? (has it come loose?).  Is the antenna pointed in the right direction, the direction where it was pointed when it was installed?

An option for advanced users is to ping 8.8.8.8 by using a command prompt.  Did you get a response? Then your Internet is up and working but it could be a DNS issue.

 If these suggestions don’t work then email us or call 206-400-8000.