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How Much Air-Time Do Beacons Actually Burn?

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It’s a well known rule of thumb when designing WiFi networks that you need to try to keep the number of SSIDs broadcast by your wireless network  down to a ‘reasonable’ number. In this article, I take a look at how much of an issue SSIDs (and their beacons) are in consuming valuable wireless air-time.
Generally, it’s recommended to keep the number of SSIDs below around 5 (ish).
The reason for keeping the number of SSIDs to a minimum is that each SSID is advertised using a type of management frame called a ‘beacon’.  Beacons are generally sent 10 times per second for each SSID on the wireless network. Therefore, if you have 10 SSIDs, they will each be advertised 10 times per second, giving us 100 beacons per second.
Air-time is a finite resource – there is only so much data that can be transferred across the air over a period of one second. If a large chunk of air-time is being consumed by SSID beacons, then that doesn’t leave a whole lot of time remaining for actual user data to trav…

Metageek Eye PA Review

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I like pictures of stuff. Some people understand and learn more easily through hearing the spoken word, some through reading text and others prefer pictorial representations of ideas, concepts and information. For me, it's definitely pictures, which is why I love Metageek's Eye PA product. In this article, I take a look at the Eye PA wireless network analysis tool and talk about why I'm so enamored with this product.

If you're like me, one of the first things you do when visiting a new building, venue or customer site is to fire up your copy of Metageek's free (and incredibly useful) WiFi tool: inSSIDer. It's always interesting to see just how many SSIDs organisations are still trying to cram on to the 2.4GHz band or are perhaps creating themselves and their neighbors a whole heap of trouble by not using non-overlapping channels. Here's how things look for me, sat at home, as I write this article:


However, I now have an additional habit when visiting a new …