Wi-Fi has been a big game-changer. It has changed how we play, live, and work. Wi-Fi has allowed us to look up how to fix our car, look up recipes while in the kitchen, surf the web on the couch, and even connect our smartphones to our lights and thermostat. It is no wonder why Wi-Fi was accepted so quickly by so many. However, is your Wi-Fi as good as it should be?
Wi-Fi, almost 15 years after it made its way into homes with those funny rabbit-eared antennas, has evolved into a behemoth of accessibility and speed. We can hardly do without it. Just ponder on how many wireless devices are in your home. An average of at least ten devices are connected wirelessly to the Internet in each house, and many families have more than ten.
Older devices will typically work with slower Internet connections, but newer gaming consoles, 4kTVs, and media streaming devices will not function without fast Internet. Add in tablets, a few smartphones, and a couple of laptops, and the Wi-Fi has become stretched beyond its capacity and struggles to keep up with your techie home or business. Many people do not know how fast their Wi-Fi is or if it is even working correctly. Some may know enough to look at the bars on their device to see what signal strength is, but that is it. Regrettably, counting bars can add up to one big headache.
In this article, I explain four reasons why relying on your Wi-Fi bars might be ruining your experience on the Internet:
1. Those Bars Measure the Wrong Thing
It is nice to know when you have a 'strong' signal from your Wi-Fi, but it is even better to see if it is a fast and available signal. You can still have full bars even if the Internet access is down. The bars are only measuring how close you are to the Wi-Fi router. The bars do not tell you or consider all the devices competing for the same bandwidth on the router or if there is enough for you. A Managed Service Provider (MSP) can come in and make sure your Wi-Fi is available when you need it and is up to almost any task.
2. Wi-Fi Will Go Sideways
While your neighbor's Wi-Fi can reach to the back of their property, it can also go sideways into your home or business. That extra 'noise' can disrupt and slow down your Wi-Fi. In very dense urban and industrial areas, the Wi-Fi is getting tossed about in the swirling field of other signals, all of them using the same channel and frequency. It is like a giant digital crowd that can seriously impact and slows down your speeds. An MSP can fix this by assessing and selecting the right Wi-Fi channel to eliminate the crosstalk.
3. Everyone Utilizes the Default Configurations
2.4GHz is the frequency most Wi-Fi uses by default. Yes, this plug-and-play configuration makes it easy to set up your router, but it means you are not getting the best speed you could. If you switch to a 5GHz frequency, you can separate your Wi-Fi from the neighbor's crosstalk. The 5GHz frequency is also considerably faster, which is a big bonus. An MSP can configure your router for 5GHz frequency if it is 5GHz capable, and newer routers are capable.
4. There is No Priority Set
Even though it is not Wi-Fi specific, an MSP can configure Quality of Service (QOS) settings if your router supports this, or they may be able to supply you with one that does. QoS allows you to set priorities on network traffic. This prioritization means things like Skype calls and Netflix will remain uninterrupted and prioritize less critical network traffic like file downloads. This uninterrupted traffic will also allow you to video chat without freezing or watching movies without the awful pause when it buffers.
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