Overview

Intermedia customers can purchase optional wireless equipment to allow their desk phones to connect to the LAN over a WiFi signal. They can have any number of desk phones connected via WiFi, up to 100% of the phones on their account.

DPS-V (Vertical) customers and HPBX / DPS-F customers with an XIP would use the XIP as their wireless transmitter. Other HPBX / DPS-F customers who started with us after we stopped selling the XIP would receive a wireless transmitter from Tecom instead.

Likewise, we also have 2 styles of wireless adapters. The older-style adapter is blue and gray, and was made by Linksys. The newer wireless adapter is from Tecom, and is white in color.

Both transmitters broadcast a signal on the same SSID, "Xcelerator", so the transmitters are interchangeable, and the adapters are interchangeable. The customer may have a mix of different adapters connecting to the same transmitter. 

Specifications

  • Wireless Range - 40 ft. in line-of-sight
  • XIP's Frequency - 802.11b/g
  • Tecom's Frequency - 801.11b/g/n (switchable to "802.11n only")
  • Wireless SSID - Xcelerator
  • Wireless Channel - Default 1 (can be changed)
  • Max. Number of Devices per Transmitter - 12 (need to verify this)
  • Max. Number of Transmitters per Location - 1 (also applies to physical / geographical location)

Issues Matrix

Symptom Causes Actions
Wireless device no power light Power problem Swap tests with outlet, power adapter, and device
Wireless device no link light Ethernet problem Swap tests with Ethernet cables, Ethernet ports, and devices
Phone cannot obtain / loses IP address ("configuring" / "network is down") Power, Ethernet, or Wireless problem See above for power or Ethernet problems. Then move on to troubleshooting signal.
Phone calls experiencing QoS, dropped calls Wireless problem Troubleshoot wireless signal range, interference, overlap
Vertical phone all lights lit (w/ Linksys adapter) Power pass-through problem Verify all cables are connected snugly and correctly, then perform swap tests for power problems.

Troubleshooting

When troubleshooting issues with Intermedia wireless equipment and connections, there are a few areas to consider for the source of the issue:

  • Hardware problem with one or more wireless adapters
  • Hardware problem with wireless transmitter / XIP
  • Configuration problem with transmitter / XIP
  • Signal range
  • Signal interference
  • Signal overlap

Hardware problems

Hardware problems can involve: the power adapters or power outlets that power the wireless equipment, the antennae that attach to the equipment, the ethernet cabling used to connect them, or the devices themselves. Tech Support reps should use the "swap test" and the process of elimination whenever possible to determine if hardware is defective.

All of the devices used by Intermedia in wireless communications have a power light. In all cases, if the power light is not lit, the problem is with the power outlet, the power adapter, or the device itself.

The link light indicates a layer 1 (physical layer) connection on the ethernet port of the device. For example, this would indicate that there is a connection between the adapter and the phone, or between the transmitter and the router. It does NOT indicate that an adapter is successfully connected to a wireless signal.

Configuration problem with Transmitter / XIP

The XIP and the wireless transmitter both have web user interfaces that Tech Support can login to in order to modify the settings of the device.

The settings we currently would modify as part of our troubleshooting are:

Signal Range

The signal range that we quote to our customers is 40 feet, in clear line-of-sight. Several things can impede the signal, which in turn reduces the range of the signal. When determining if range is being impeded, ask the customer if any of the following are present:

  • Large metal devices / sheets of metal
  • Floors, ceilings, and walls (which typically have insulation)
  • Thick concrete
  • Faraday cages (mostly kidding about this one...)
  • Other interfering devices / signals

Signal Interference

Many devices that can be found in a typical office environment (especially medical offices, for example) could emit electromagnetic (EM) fields that would interfere with a WiFi signal. When checking for signal interference, ask the customer if any of the following are present / nearby:

  • Microwaves
  • Large speakers
  • CRT (old, bulky) computer monitors
  • Portable radios
  • Medical equipment
  • Short range 2-way radios ("walkie-talkies")
  • etc.

Are these interfering devices near the transmitter? near an adapter? somewhere between the two, in the line-of-sight?

Usually the only solution to avoid these interfering devices is to either remove them from the office, or move things farther apart from each other.

If the customer has a Tecom transmitter and all of their adapters are also from Tecom, we can switch the Tecom transmitter to "802.11n Only" mode, which should focus the signal and decrease the chance of experiencing interference.

Signal Overlap

Signal overlap occurs when more than one WiFi network is being broadcast in the same local area. There is no risk of an adapter connecting to the wrong signal (unless there are two transmitters from Intermedia both present). However, even though the signals are different, they can still interfere with each other.

To help avoid with signal overlap, the designers of the WiFi spectrum divided the spectrum into several wireless channels. A wireless transmitter typically is set to a single wireless channel (though some can automatically switch channels). By default, the XIP and the Tecom wireless transmitter both transmit signal on channel 1.

If the customer has a Tecom transmitter and all of their adapters are also from Tecom, we can switch the Tecom transmitter to "802.11n Only" mode, which should focus the signal and decrease the chance of experiencing interference.

You can advise the customer to download the free Android mobile application "WiFi Analyzer" (available on the Google Play Store). This app uses the phone's WiFi antenna to detect signals in the area and display which channels they are broadcasting on in real-time.



NOTE: WiFi signals 'spill over' into the adjacent channel, so ideally you are looking for a channel with no devices above or below it. If not, then you want to use a channel with the least number of devices on the channels immediately above or below it.

Most wireless routers or transmitters on the market will have a default channel of 1, 11, or 6. It is usually safe to assume that these channels will be the most densely populated, and should therefore be avoided if no other information is available..