Do you want a better Internet experience? Do you have poor Wi-Fi signal or buffering from your streaming devices? We’ve come up with a list of seven steps to the best Internet experience. Of course, there are still things that can affect your Internet, so it’s possible that more investigation may be needed. But these should tackle most of the issues that keep you from the best experience.
1. Check your Internet Speed
The first step is to find out what Internet plan you subscribe to from your provider and compare it with how many devices and users are regularly connected and what apps or services they use. The more devices you have connected and the more “high bandwidth” devices you have connected, the more bandwidth (AKA Internet speed) you need! For example, streaming requires much more bandwidth than E-Mail. Even checking Facebook and TikTok needs a fair amount of bandwidth since it’s a lot of video content. So, if you have three smart TVs, a laptop, four smart phones, one or two Amazon “Alexa” devices and a table or game system, the basic Internet speed will likely NOT provide enough bandwidth for your devices to run at their best. One or more devices will have to wait for bandwidth, causing what feels like “slow” Internet.
2. Check your Router
Get the right router for your needs. If you own your router, that means updating the firmware, managing the settings (frequency, channels, power, etc.), and replacing it when needed. A router does not last forever – Internet standards, protocols, and languages change and your router must keep up. Getting your router from TCC is a great way to ensure getting a current, fast, reliable router that TCC manages and updates for you.
3. Choosing Wi-Fi vs. Ethernet connections
Wi-Fi is very common these days — that’s the wireless signal broadcast by your router to your devices. Before we get into the signals and other nuances, there’s an important decision that you need to make to give the best Internet to your devices. That’s whether to even connect them to Wi-Fi or hardwire them to your router. Hardwiring means running an “ethernet” (Cat-5 or Cat-3) cord from your device back to your router. Most routers have four available ports for such connections. Bandwidth hogs like smart TVs and game consoles that need fast Internet without interruption or interference are great to connect with ethernet. Not only will the hardwired devices work better, but your other devices on Wi-Fi don’t have to contend with them either.
4. Router placement/Wi-Fi extenders
Wi-Fi is not perfect and it does not have unlimited range. Placement of your router and/or the use of Wi-Fi extenders may be needed in some cases to get the best experience. If your signal is low, bounces between 2.4 and 5.0 Ghz, or seems to perform poorly, this could be due to distance from the router or interference happening between the router and your device. The router can sometimes be moved (even a little) to get better signal to your devices. Otherwise, a Wi-Fi extender may be needed to pick up and rebroadcast the signal for better performance.
5. Choosing 2.4 Ghz or 5.0 Ghz
Most routers broadcast two different frequencies: 2.4 Gigahertz (Ghz) and 5.0 Gigahertz. While most devices can connect to either frequency, choosing the right one for your device can make a big difference in its performance– and your experience! The 2.4 Ghz signal is older, slower, cannot manage as many devices at once, and has fewer “channels” to select to minimize interference. Use the 2.4 Ghz signal with older devices that do not have high-bandwidth needs — like older phones and older laptops. The 5.0 Ghz is newer, faster, can manage many more devices and has many more channels for separating the traffic to minimize interference. Use the 5.0 Ghz signal with newer devices or those that require more bandwidth, such as smart TVs, streaming devices, and game systems.
You can’t always see or choose which signal you are using. Your device just connects to whichever signal seems “best” to it. However, with TCC’s Total Wi-Fi app (the updated version) you can create your own networks in your house and designate them as 2.4 Ghz only or 5.0 Ghz only to force devices to a certain frequency. You can also have TCC do this for you if you are using a TCC router.
6. Get rid of old devices
Old devices cause problems with new devices when they are connected on the same Wi-Fi signal. An old device takes longer when communicating to the router and is more likely to “drop packets” (which must be re-sent), creating a delay between the router and other devices. Even when you aren’t using the device, it may still be communicating (checking in) with your router, which affects other devices. Our recommendation is to get rid of or replace older devices or at the very least, disconnect them from your Wi-Fi when not in use and only connect them when needed. Connecting an older device, such as an old laptop, via ethernet would resolve the Wi-Fi issues it creates.
7. Get TCC Total Wi-Fi
Even if you have the right speed, the right router, good signal and newer devices, there are still a few things that can get in the way of your Internet experience. We offer an app, called TCC Total Wi-Fi, that provides you with tools for managing your Wi-Fi even more, while minimizing the chance of intrusion on your connected devices. You can find more information and helpful tutorial videos HERE.