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Want to know more about Wi-Fi?
PUBLISHED: Oct 25, 2013

A brief history.

The standards continue to evolve to improve reliability and throughput.  Keep in mind it’s not just the speed at the router, but also what your device can handle that determines your net speed.  Here is a chart that shows how WiFi has evolved. 



Speed (Mbit/s)



















The speeds vary with some standards, but these are a good rule of thumb.  For example 802.11ac is marketed as 1Gbit/s, but you don’t always see that.  

Speed is not the only consideration.  There is also range, wall penetration, and susceptibility to interference.   Indoor and outdoor range can vary by an order of magnitude.  Walls can contain metal or other materials that attenuate the signal.  The airways around us continue to be full of other RFI. Some standards allow for reduced throughput to compensate for loss of signal strength.  

At home we typically have a router with a WiFi antenna.  In an office or campus environment WiFi is deployed with WiFi access points (AP) and controllers. The controller is a device on the LAN that manages multiple WiFi access points in a hub and spoke configuration.  The controller balances the traffic among the access points.  Since speed decreases if your device is further from the antenna, access points are placed in a grid for better coverage and throughput (think cell phone towers).  When deploying organization wide WiFi an assessment can be done to help determine the number and location of access points to meet your objectives.  

The demand for wireless (WLAN) bandwidth will continue to grow as PCs, phones, tablets, WiFi devices of all sorts, and high bandwidth applications want more and faster data.  Perhaps a wireless plan is needed to keep up.

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HPA Consulting Group, Inc. (HPA) is a privately owned consulting firm headquartered in Rochester, NY providing specialized consulting services in Voice and Data Communications. HPA was founded in 1994 by Bill Hughes and Tom Phelps. Together, the HPA Team has over 200 years of experience in many facets of voice and data communications.

HPA facilitates businesses in determining the best communications solution for their company. This involves voice and data networks, call centers and broadband applications. In addition, HPA manages the telecom expenses for businesses to get them the most cost effective telecom solutions possible. HPA also helps telecommunications providers and manufacturers with their marketing, sales and business planning.

Since HPA's formation in 1994, over 400 clients have contracted to HPA for services. HPA has planned, designed and implemented a variety of voice and data solutions that have enabled businesses to enhance their operations in a cost-effective manner. HPA has also audited telecommunications invoices and recommended changes to client’s telecommunications services that have resulted in millions of dollars in savings for HPA’s clients.

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  • Designed and implemented a complete new voice, data and security network for a regional bank and their branches. Results included improved customer service in their call center, improved communication between locations and redundancy at all locations including the branches.
  • Designed and implemented a new VoIP telecommunications network including new equipment and services for a Rochester based not-for-profit with over 15 locations.
  • Redesigned a not-for-profit organization’s telecommunications system in five cities by implementing new services and pricing and auditing telephone bills. The savings paid for all new telephone equipment in less than two years.
  • Manage the communications network for a regional hospital in central New York. HPA has lowered the costs for the hospital and at the same time implemented a more up-to-date network with more functionality and redundancy.
  • Designed and implemented a Call Center for a Benefit Company in Rochester. Project resulted in drastic improvements in customer service.
  • Planned and designed a new voice and data network for a Law Firm with six locations in New York State.

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