Assumptions

  1. You have FieldLab Desktop installed and running on a computer
  2. You have a wireless-enabled FieldLab device
  3. You have a FieldLab Wireless USB dongle inserted into the computer running FieldLab Desktop
  4. You have followed the steps in these articles:


Wireless noise from other devices

FieldLab's signal range & strength can be degraded by electromagnetic noise from other devices. Urban & office environments will naturally have more built-in noise that will affect your signal.

Examples of devices that create wireless noise that could degrade your signal:

  • Wi-Fi access points
  • cell phones
  • microwave ovens
  • baby monitors
  • fluorescent lights
  • wireless game controllers
  • wireless security cameras

Some things you can do to reduce electromagnetic noise interference:

Create space between the FieldLab Device, FieldLab Wireless Dongle, and other wireless devices

The more physical distance you create between the FieldLab devices and other noise-emitting items listed above, the less interference you will experience.

Change the wireless channel on your Fieldlab Device

FieldLab software and devices are set by default to channel 26, which is the channel farthest away from most common Wi-Fi networks. That being said, electromagnetic interference can come from a wide array of devices, and changing the channel may help avoid them.

Support article: Change Wireless Channel

Change the Wi-Fi channel in your home or office

To be clear, this is referring to any Wi-Fi routers that you have the ability to administer, and does not refer to your FieldLab device. By setting your Wi-Fi channel to 1 or 6, and your FieldLab Wireless Channel to 26, you will put the Wi-Fi communication band as far away from FieldLab's as possible & reduce unwanted signal overlap between the devices.

Here's an example of how to change the Wi-Fi channel on a commonly sold Netgear router: How do I change the wireless channel on my NETGEAR router? 
Note: Ralston Instruments is not associated in any way with Netgear, and does not sell or support Wi-Fi devices from any manufacturer.

Obstacles

Ideally your wireless connection will have a clear line of sight between the wireless dongle and the FieldLab device. Of course, that's not always possible, so here are some ways for orienting your FieldLab devices to get the best signal when obstacles are unavoidable.

Barrier Materials

Some materials reduce signal strength more than others. If you have some mobility, orient your devices for the best signal, keeping the following barrier materials in mind:

Less transparent (avoid if possible):

  • Metal (trucks and heavy equipment, aluminum siding, appliances, holding tanks, ships, pipelines, rig platforms)
  • Concrete or cinder block walls
  • Mirrors or reflective glass
  • Water (Rain, snow, fountains, aquariums) 
  • Ceramic block

More transparent (best case scenarios). 

These materials will still reduce the signal, but are easier for a signal to travel through. If your environment is a mix of materials, arrange your equipment to pass through the most transparent materials when possible.

  • Wood
  • Drywall
  • Clear glass

Arrangement

  • Don't place the FieldLab or FieldLab dongle on a metal surface.
  • Arrange the FieldLab devices that will be communicating wirelessly to have the least amount of walls and floor barriers between them.
  • If you're in a truck, orient it so that the least amount of metal and glass on your vehicle are between the dongle and the FieldLab device.
  • If you are attaching the FieldLab Wireless dongle to glass with the suction cup, place it on the glass outside of your vehicle or building so that the glass pane it's attached to is no longer between the dongle and the FieldLab device.
    Note: The FieldLab Wireless dongle is NOT water resistant, so don't expose it to rain or snow.
    Note: The FieldLab Wireless dongle is NOT rated for hazardous locations.

Get visual feedback on signal strength

FieldLab Desktop software has a screen for viewing real-time pressure readings from connected FieldLab devices. Once you have a successful connection, you can view the signal strength and use it as a guide to see if any changes you make improve or degrade the signal.

To access real-time pressure readings via Live View, select Live View from the text menu bar at the top of your FieldLab Desktop window.