WELCOME TO WIFI 101
If you have used the Internet on your cellphone alongside your morning coffee or use a laptop or tablet at work, you probably already know the benefits of a WiFi network. The one thing most people love is the fact that you do not have to deal with wires, and you can share an internet connection with multiple WiFi enabled devices. So you understand the basics, but what is the best WiFi for your location will depend on many things since physical environments and what you do on the Internet are the two biggest factors.
To cut through some of the confusion about WiFi and the Internet, Internet Lightspeed has put together a basic tutorial.
The WiFi Playground
Your home can have a multitude of things, you never considered, that can limit WiFi signals and connections. We have all dealt with low signal strength when using WiFi and know how frustrating this can be. We have put together a list of some of the more common environmental factors that can cause poor WiFi in your home.
Yep the walls in your home can be a major factor. Sadly, you might not be able to do much about the development of your current home, especially if you are renting.
Excessively thick walls can be a problem, yet particularly those containing insulation, metal water pipes, metal studs, major electrical lines and air ducts, can all be major issues. Hollow thinner sections, made of just drywall, in general be better for your WiFi experience. Location of the WiFi antenna to benefiting as much as possible from your structural items will be key. Yet if you WiFi broadcast point is in closet, basement etc., you might need to use a Wi-Fi repeater or pods.
Your dearest goldfish in that small bowl on the coffee table should not be an issue for your WiFi, but that massive 300 gallon award winning salt-water tank can be. It’s really not fish which are at fault, it is the water. The fact is a swimming pool or large waterfall would give you the same issues. WiFi signals can struggle hard to go through water, so fish tanks, particularly bigger ones, present a critical impediment for your Wi-Fi. In the event that you’ve set your switch legitimately close to your aquarium, the tank is likely retaining a lot of the Wi-Fi signal, implying that your gadgets are languishing. Move your switch as a long way from your aquatic friends and you will get a massive improvement.
A few short years ago most people would place their WiFi antenna near their desk. These days the living room and next to the other electronic devises is the new normal. This is certainly not the best area from a signal perspective. Machines, for example, microwaves and TVs can be the reason for frail WiFi connections. Microwaves, in the same way as other family appliances can produce electromagnetic radiation, which causes radio frequency interruptions. That little bit of radiation from the machine can mess with your WiFi in huge ways. Moving your WiFi antenna further from your microwave / TV / audio equipment etc. This can typically improve WiFi noticeably.
Metallic Objects and Surfaces
Large metal objects like an ornamental divider, a wall of mirrors, or perhaps that 17th century bronze bust of Napoleon, will all be deadly to WiFi in your home. Large chunks of metal, like a bathtub, are easy for anyone to see as an impediment, but mirrors? Not all mirrors will cause issues, yet most do. The offender is the metal backing on the mirror which reflects, or redirects, your WiFi signal. So placement again of the broadcast device and antenna is paramount and the list of obstacles to WiFi continues to include things you never considered like those bedroom mirrored closet doors.
Energy Efficient Windows
Those multi-pane low-E windows are a savvy move for keeping your home’s energy consumption low, yet these windows can really be an enemy to your Wi-Fi. These types of windows have a metal coating, and as we already pointed out metal is not conducive to great WiFi coverage. So locating the WiFi broadcast device near a window so you have coverage in the backyard might not work out so well, especially if you have metal blinds too.
This sort of thing can be anything from, remote surveillance cameras, crib monitor, a nanny-cam or even a video doorbell. Basically any device that is producing and transmit pictures by means of remote link or have a receiving device in another point in the house. As an example if you have a video extender from your main TV to two others in the house and you place your modem and WiFi broadcast antenna on the exact opposite side of the room you might be fine. However your TV extender may be causing issues for the neighbours WiFi and he might be doing the same for you.
Your Neighbour’s WiFi
That’s right your neighbour’s WiFi may be causing interference with yours. Most WiFi broadcast devices have a limited amount of channels. So it is possible that Bob next door is using the same channel as you. You can most likely change your WiFi channel so that Bob and you can co-exist peacefully. Once you do though you might discover that Sally across the alley is now your new WiFi arch-nemesis. As we all move to a wireless world the airwaves are getting more and more crowded and it can be a decisive limiting factor.
There are other things like heat. Locking your unsightly modem and router in the basement storage closet next to the hot water heater will definitely cause you woes. An unbalance power source, such as a low grade power-bar or extension cord will cause radical fluctuations in your WiFi. Cable splitters and filters are notorious for causing connection problems for both WiFi and even the Internet Service itself.
These are a handful of the common and more are remediable WiFi limiters in your home. The Internet Lightspeed Technical Support Team discover more weird and wonderful ones everyday. Supplying you this basic list of the consistent ones we hope helps you better understand your WiFi and the playground it has.
Modem /Router or All-In-One
Which is better a Modem and Router or an All-in-One unit? Basic setup for a modem and router isn’t much more complicated than using a combo unit. Just connect the modem to the coax cable wall outlet to the modem. Then connect the Ethernet cable between your router and the modem. Easy right, and Internet Lightspeed is here to help you along the way. Some people just prefer one over the other and there is no different in the outcome, you have Internet and WiFi. Still here are some advantages that each set-up has based on our experience:
Advantages of an All-in-One unit:
- A single combo box takes less room, requires only one power outlet and requires fewer wires and cables.
- A combo box is generally an automated set up, especially if it comes from Internet Lightspeed since we offer our Award Winning Technical Support.
Advantages of using separate devices:
- A two device configuration, modem and router, are easier to replace when it comes time to upgrade. Since router technology is advancing rapidly there are advancements every 12 to 18 months. If you upgrade your internet, you can replace the modem. If you need to upgrade your router, you don’t have to replace the modem as well. Cost is lower to stay at the top of the heap.
- When it comes to cost, renting a combo unit isn’t usually an option. The monthly rental fee for a non-WiFi modem is minimal and will work with any router, giving you more options.
A / B / G / N / AC / AX – What is all this?
Without a doubt you have seen this number in reference to WiFi standards and specs. Not a very catchy name is it ? 802.11 is just the number that the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) gave the devices that use this frequency range. This is typically joined by a letter, and b, g, and n are the most widely recognized. These letters depict the adaptation of the 802.11, ax being the most current standard. From n onwards the standard includes a multi-in/multi-out (or MIMO) information movement technique. The most publicly recognized standard being used is 802.11n. Aside from faster Internet downloads speeds the limitations and connective frequencies for the WiFi range, with new standards, such as the pending ax and be, having more options. Here are the frequencies and limits for each:
- 802.11b (1979) 2.5 Ghz (11mbps)
- 802.11a (2001) 2.4 Ghz (54 mbps)
- 80211.g (2003) 2.4 Ghz (54 mbps) – longer range than 80211.a
- 80211.n (2009) 2.4 Ghz (54 mbps) – per antenna
- 80211.ac (2014) 2.4 Ghz (450 mbps) 5 Ghz (1.3 gbps)
- 80211.ax – WiFi-6 (2019) 2.4 Ghz (600 mbps) 5 Ghz (5.7 gbps)
- 80211.ax – WiFi 6E (2019) 6 Ghz (9.3 gbps)
Multi-in/multi-out is what MIMO means, it is a standard that provides greater security highlights and a higher speed overall. A router or combo unit with MIMO do cost a little more yet are for the most part worth it is your participate in online interactive real-time events or are steaming HD content. With extended MIMO you get double the measure of move streams (one for uploading, one for downloading).
We hope by providing a mini course on WiFi technology, the issues, solutions and various technologies available to get you online today we have helped shed some light on how complex this can be. If we have added to the confusion, please contact us with any pre, or post, sales questions about WiFi and what might work best for you.