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I think this is a simple yes/no question but I may be wrong. I work in a warehouse sized building where 4 networks are broadcasting but only 1 is being used, as in, no one logs in to the other networks.

The question is, will this cause collisions or conflicts for the users/network that is being used?

Edit: Sorry, first post here and was just 'given' the network. I'll have to check the WAP's specifically but they are within range of each other but all on Ch 11 of the 2.4 GHz range. Eventually, these networks will be split and used but as of now we only have traffic on 1 of the 4.

Our office building has the these networks all on different channels.

The better question may be "Will I see improvement on the used network if I stop the broadcast of the unused or change their channels?"

  • This is more complicated than you may think. You can have four networks being used on the same WAP, or four different WAPs. There is some impact in either case. If you have multiple WAPs on the same channel within radio distance of each other, you will certainly have interference, but you have three non-overlapping 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi channels. You need to edit your question to give more detail. – Ron Maupin Feb 10 '16 at 17:24
  • Also, if nobody uses the other three networks, why don't you just remove them? – Ron Maupin Feb 10 '16 at 17:29
  • Potentially unrelated, but has useful information that might help: superuser.com/questions/362366/… – Eddie Feb 10 '16 at 18:29
  • Also a good read. In particular, a WiFi network will broadcast its SSID 10 times per second (by default). So even an unused network will still have "data" transmission over the selected traffic. Compared to a used/busy network, of course, the base amount is minuscule, but I did want to point out that there is no such thing as a fully "quiet" network. – Eddie Feb 10 '16 at 18:43
  • Thanks everyone, I'm 'testing' for the keys to the network kingdom here, so I don't have power to do anything but I got an analyzer and noticed the overlap and thought it was weird. Also weird that they set up one building on spread channels and left other all stacked. I imagine that's just a check box per AP. We are getting little drops in network, nothing critical but we are going more wireless and I was thinking improvement before we start using those other networks. – Cand3r Feb 10 '16 at 19:24
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Having WAPs in radio range of each other on the same channel is causing interference. You should look at adjusting the channels or positioning and radio power levels to reduce interference. If all the WAPs get used at the the same time, the interference will get worse.

The proper way to do this is to get a wireless site survey performed. This will help you decide the proper quantity, placement, channels and radio power levels for optimum Wi-Fi performance, and help you identify possible radio shadows. It will also identify sources and frequencies of outside interference.

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  • For sure, i knew we would have problems when they were all in use but I was told that it didn't matter right now cus they're not all being used – Cand3r Feb 10 '16 at 17:54
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An AP is broadcasting beacons as long as the radio is enabled. (every 100ms by default) So it will cause interference as long as it's on, regardless of the number of clients associated.

(Hiding the SSID doesn't stop beacons; it only keeps the SSID(s) out of those beacons.)

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