Wireless (Wi-Fi) has become the standard Internet connection in many households, connecting to laptops, tablets, smartphones, smart tv’s, thermostats, cameras, game systems, and more! But Wi-Fi as a technology isn’t quite as good as you might think (expect).
Here are some common issues and solutions for Wi-Fi:
Internet Speed – Behind every Internet connection is the speed. The devices in your home can only share what is coming into the router so it’s important to have a speed that matches your needs.
Distance + Interference – Wi-Fi loses speed fairly quickly as the distance and number of obstacles in the path increases. Signal does go through some doors, floors and walls but eventually, the signal just doesn’t reach or is too slow for the application. Fluorescent lights, appliances and electrical outlets and power cords can interfere with the signal, adding another complication.
Connected Devices – Your devices, being on the other end of the Wi-Fi communication can also contribute to a performance lag. The Wi-Fi antenna and electronics in your device may not perform the same and its power output may vary (e.g. a smartphone does not send back to the router at the same power the router sent to it). Also, any older devices (using the “G” wireless standard) can affect the performance of other devices in your
house as the router needs to slow down to talk to it and cannot hop to the next device as quickly.
Technology – Wi-Fi is really convenient and has gotten much better over the years, but it simply is not as fast or as reliable as a wired connection – which has a solid and nearly interference-free path. Another aspect that affects wired and wireless connections is the way the Internet and your router will always use as much bandwidth as it can. Somebody downloading a large file or a computer doing updates may affect other devices using the Internet at the same time, regardless of bandwidth, because it wants to use 100% of the bandwidth until the download is finished.
What you can do:
- Start with the right Internet connection for your needs (consider # of devices, applications, and wireless loss)
- Place the router as close to the areas you would like coverage, place up high if possible
- Replace or remove any older devices that might slow down your network for the rest of your devices
- Add wireless access points to extend your signal to keep the wireless speed loss to a minimum
- Connect stationary and speed-critical devices with a wired ethernet connection
Schedule max-bandwidth applications (downloads, updates) for minimal interference with other devices/users