Wireless LAN Performance & Wireless IP Cameras

Q: The company next door recently deployed wireless IP cameras. Since then, my wireless LAN performance has been terrible. What can I do? 

A: Wireless IP cameras transmit a constant video stream. This stream can have a significant impact on WiFi systems because WiFi access points (APs) don't transmit if the noise level is above a specified threshold.

The first thing that you need to do is to sniff the air. Verify that the wireless cameras are causing the problem and determine the frequencies on which these cameras are transmitting. I like to use a basic tool such as MetaGeek Chanalyzer, but for a larger site, I'd use the more-sophisticated Cisco Spectrum Expert. When you have this information, you can decide whether you can move your APs to a different frequency channel or band to avoid the interference.

If that doesn't provide a solution, you can try talking to the neighboring business. Many wireless cameras can also connect via an Ethernet cable. Your neighbor might not know that it's causing you a problem and might be willing and able to run a wire to the cameras that are causing you the most interference.

You might also let your neighbor know that interference goes both ways. In other words, when you transmit, you're interfering with the signals from the wireless camera, which could be causing your neighbor to experience a degradation of video-image quality. Indeed, some electronic stores have stopped recommending the use of wireless cameras for this very reason.

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