Wifi Tips (An IT Perspective)

Wifi Tips (An IT Perspective in Sacramento)

Once upon a time, the only way to connect to the internet was to unplug the dial up connection of your phone and plug it into a computer.  The resulting internet was generally fast enough to browse the web and check email.  Some lucky souls were even able to watch short videos online, after patiently waiting anywhere from 5 minutes to an hour for the video to load!  In today’s world, wirelessly connecting to the internet is the status quo, and internet speeds are now fast enough to allow for video chat which requires large chunks of data to be downloaded and uploaded simultaneously.   Internet access is now practically a human right, right up there with water and food.

While most households are now equipped with Wi-Fi, most people are not making the most of their Wi-Fi networks.  Some people pay a nice chunk of change to Comcast or Mediacom for 100 mb download speeds, yet never get to enjoy speeds faster than 10 mb/s.  This does not have to be the case at all.  When optimizing your Wi-Fi network, you need to look at the source, the wireless router!

Internet packages are generally advertised in terms of download speed and upload speed.  Given the prevalence of wireless networks, most people assume that the speeds advertised apply to their wireless networks, but in reality, the advertised speed can only be achieved by connecting via an Ethernet cable.  What this means is that while Wi-Fi is amazing and convenient, wired connections are still better!  If you have a desktop or a game console that you use to game or download movies (legally of course), you should connect these to your router to get the most out of your internet package.

For those who don’t even know what an Ethernet cable is, there is still hope.  In general, a wireless network, if set up properly, can reach 40-65% of the advertised speed.  If you are paying for 100 mb/s for example, you should be aiming for download speeds between 40-65 mb/s.  The router that comes from your wireless provider tends to be very average.  The Wi-Fi output of these routers tend not to break 30% of the advertised speed.  Investing in a good modem and router not only saves you the monthly rental fees associated with using the router provided by your wireless provider, but it often leads to a router that more efficiently provides Wi-Fi.  A good router is essential in optimizing your wireless network.

Now that you have a good wireless router that is capable of a lot, we need to put it’s best foot forward.  This is done by positioning the router somewhere that will yield the best signal strength throughout your home.  Below are guidelines to keep in mind:

  • Stay away from windows
  • Position the router as high as it can safely be located
  • Place the router in a centralized location

Setting up your new router in line with the guidelines above will give you your best chance at achieving 40-65% of the advertised download speed you are spending your hard earned money on!  There are more detailed factors that can influence the quality of your wireless network.  These details will be discussed in the coming weeks!