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Old, BYOD, wireless devices may have connectivity ‘issues’

Wonder why some patron wireless devise have trouble connecting to, staying connected to or experience slow throughput when connected to the SCLS wireless network? This article will focus on one reason (of a host of possible reasons); the patron may be using an old, BYOD device (aka "Bring Your Own Device").

A wireless device’s ability to connect to a particular wireless signal depends upon a variety of things including when the device was manufactured. Devices manufactured before October 2009 may experience a variety of connectivity issues such as:

  • can’t ‘see’ a more modern, faster signal
  • potentially sporadic connectivity

You can get a sense of the quantity of older, BYOD devices connecting to your library’s network by looking at your library’s monthly wireless report. The report has a section titled “Client Summary by Protocol”. It may look something like this:




You’ll notice that each of the entries begin with ‘802.11’ and that is followed by a letter suffix: ‘g’, ‘b’, ‘a’ or ‘n’. You can think of the technology associated with the letter ‘n’ as modern and all the other letters as ‘dated’. Dated, BYOD wireless devices are more likely to experience:

Interference: Older wireless devices have a greater susceptibility to what’s referred to as ‘interference’. All that means is that signals from some devices can interfere with the ‘g’, ‘b’ or ‘a’ signals so receiving devices may get ‘confused’. Interference can be caused by wireless keyboards, microwave ovens, cordless telephones, some amateur radio equipment and Bluetooth devices.

Sporadic connectivity: Older wireless devices can’t ‘hear’ a signal as far away as a newer device and the signal that they do hear is more likely to be absorbed by walls and other solid objects.

As you can tell from the graphic, the majority of the devices that connect to the wireless network are modern. But in those instances where a patron is having connectivity issues, try having them move closer to the wireless access point (WAP). All BYOD users will benefit from WAP proximity and especially those that use older devices.



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Probably a dumb question, but how do I access the graphical portion of my WiFi report? All that I see is data in an excel Spreadsheet.

Jan, I've revised the post to reflect the relevant section of the Excel spreadsheet. Thanks for making the post make more sense!

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