As we delve further and further into the future, our homes are becoming smarter than ever. From smart tv’s; to smart fridges, and even smart bulbs. Our homes are more connected than ever before. And we’re only going to fall deeper into that rabbit hole.
Thankfully, the Wi-Fi Alliance is in the process of piloting in a new era of wireless awesomeness. With our ever-increasing use of data-intensive like streaming music, 4k television, online gaming, and virtual reality, the organization has set forth some guidelines for new home builders to implement wireless networks directly into the design of their new homes.
But until that time comes, the vast majority of us are still going to be living in homes with persistent dead spots. Most notably, people who live in moderately sized to large single-family homes.
So how do we continue to increase our homes connectivity in each room, while simultaneously avoiding those ever so common weak spots in our homes?
The Answer: Wifi Extenders
Before you opt to spend money on range extenders, there are some other steps you can take.
Make sure you have your router and modem placed in a central area of the house if possible. Also, it’s a good idea to keep the router clear of obstruction.
Think of it this way; Wifi signals are similar to radio frequencies. To get the best connection, your router needs to have as clear a line of sight as possible. Each wall or obstruction that your wireless signal needs to go through greatly reduces the signal.
So remember, place your router in a central location of your home, and keep the router in an open area free of obstructions. Once you’ve gotten that taken care of, take your connected device to an area you typically don’t have good coverage and test your connection speed here: speedcheck.org.
Still No Signal?
If you’ve already taken the first two steps and you’ve had no luck – and you have updated equipment). Then it may be time to find yourself a good Wifi range extender.
There are two main types of wifi extenders that you’ll use; Mesh networks, and range extenders. Of course, they accomplish the same goal – expanding your wifi signal. Where they differ is how they get it done. And the decision on which to buy rests on two factors; how much you’re willing to spend, and how large your home is.
Extenders are a popular option because they can be purchased for under less than 20 bucks in some cases. Although, if you’re looking to get consistent reliability in your wifi signal, you’ll definitely want to put a few more dollars into your extender.
Wifi extenders work by catching the signal from your router, then amplifying that signal and pushing it out to the rest of your house. The best way to do this is by putting your extender halfway between the router and the furthest room in your home.
They’ve also got smart wifi extenders too. These extenders can determine whether the devices connected to them should be on a 2.4 or 5 GHz bandwidth. This means that if you’re streaming content, your range extender will automatically put you on a 5 GHz bandwidth. But if you’re needs are less demanding, you’ll only use the 2.4 bands. It’s a great way to keep your speeds faster and more flexible.
Mesh networks are a series of extenders that work in tandem to make a super signal. They communicate with each other effectively extending the perimeter of your wifi signal. These are quickly becoming the go-to option for people with large areas that need to be covered.
They essentially work by connecting one unit to a spare port on the original router. It then takes the signal from your router and pushes it out, at the same strength that it was received. You can then connect other mesh units to it, expanding your wifi coverage as far as you need it. My absolute favorite thing about these routers is that you’re capable daisy chaining multiples together and lose minimum speed.
Unlike typical wifi range extenders, mesh units lose far less power than their predecessors. Because they simply rebroadcast the signal that is received, mesh units do not lose speed when in use. What’s this mean for the person connected to it? Simple, you’re able to stream movies and videos without worrying about buffering.
Once you’ve got your mesh routers set up, make sure your device is connected to them, and check the connection speed. You should see a minimal difference in upload and download speeds. And barely any raise in ping.
Slow Internet, or Slow Equipment?
Just because you pay for the fastest internet your ISP has to offer doesn’t mean that you are going to get the speeds you are paying for.
There is a common misconception that a slow internet connection means that your internet is inferior. But with today’s internet speeds, this is almost never the case. Sure, it’s nice to have that Gigabit service that Google and AT&T have been touting. But in most cases (save large families and people who make their living on the internet), you don’t actually need that much speed.
If you feel like you’re internet is too slow, then you may want to consider updating your equipment. We’re talking modems and routers (sometimes they are combined units) if you’ve been with your ISP provider for a while, see if they’ll upgrade your equipment for you. Of course, there are times when you’ll just have to upgrade your computer. Why? Because, to get the speeds you pay for, you need to have equipment that can handle it.
Testing your Speed
Always remember that the most reliable internet connections are wired connections. When trying to see if you’re getting the internet speeds you signed for, then you’ll have to test your speeds while connected directly to your modem or router.
To do this, simply plug the ethernet cable (preferably the one that came with your router) into the computer and attach to the modem then run some speed test.
Provided your equipment is in good shape; you’ll be pleased with the results you see.
Author Bio: This article is written by Emily Jacobs. Emily is Happiness Ambassador for SpeedCheck.org
She loves to write latest technology trends and love to share her knowledge through her articles.