Saturday, 12 December 2020

How to make sure you get the best possible wireless speed inside the house

The popularity of wireless communication in the house due to its simplicity has led to very poor performance. The house environment is now too noisy with electronic noise. When several devices are active in a house, the speed and reliability of connections just drop. People who live in apartments have interference from their neighbouring apartments too.

To improve the performance, people should look at the following options. The trouble is that many people are not confident with technology and won't learn how to buy and configure them. In this case, they should get a computer shop or their Internet provider to send a technician to help out.

Dual-band routers 

Make sure you use both 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz bands. 2.4Ghz band has the ability to communicate over longer distance and can go through walls and doors better than the high speed 5Ghz band. It's simple to create 2 wireless connections on your router. The devices far away from the router would need to use the 2.4Ghz connection. The ones close to the router will need the 5Ghz connection. If you do not have a dual band router, it's time to get one. Also make sure you have the password for the router. If you don't have it, get your ISP provider to help.


 

 WiFi Boosters, Repeaters and Extenders

A WiFi repeater or extender is used to extend the coverage area of your WiFi network. It works by receiving your existing WiFi signal, amplifying it and then transmitting the boosted signal. With a WiFi repeater you can effectively double the coverage area of your WiFi network - reaching far corners of your home or office, different floors, or even extend coverage to your yard.

However, it gives the house a lot more electronic noise in the air and there will be some speed loss in the whole environment.

 

 

Boosters, Repeaters and Extenders are slightly different in how they work but the goal is exactly the same. So, manufacturers often use the terms carelessly without saying how the device really work. As the effectiveness is pretty much similar, people don't quite care about the technical details. A notable difference is the wifi repeater which has 2 routers inside it. It creates a new wireless network and piggyback on the existing one. This means a lot of electronic noise. It's better to get a dual-band unit that receives signal in 2.4Ghz and broadcast in 5Ghz.

Add access points

For people living in a big house with 2 floors. It's impossible for the signal to travel well across floors and then further walls and doors.

An access point is a device (could be just another router or even old router). You need to run a network cable(s) from the router to another far away location(s). Then plug another router to this cable and set it up as an access point.  This option gives really good signal strength to all parts of the house with less electronic noise.

Most modern houses tend to have network cables laid to all rooms when they are built. All the cables tend to come from one place like the garage to all the rooms. This means one just need to buy a network switch and plug all these cables in the gararage to create a local area network. If you don't mind hooking your laptop to the network socket on the wall, you would already have the best speed. If you want the freedom of wireless access, you will need to set up wireless access points. 

Often just one extra wireless access point is enough to cover a typical house. You would need another one to cover the outdoor alfresco. It's cheap to get used routers on eBay to set up access points. 

This appproach also creates a local wired area network (LAN) for devices that don't get moved around. These devices can enjoy high speeds from 1Gbits/s to 10 Gbits/s making it possible to do backup via the LAN. People often install a central storage device call NAS (Network Attached Storage) to allow alldevices to store and access data from one central file server. This effectly convert the house into an office workplace.

The main trouble is that you have to run network cables for an old house and that is not easy and you often have to pay a processional electrician to install the cables. It might not be too bad if you run just one cable and try to hide it from view.


Power-line network adapters 

For older houses, it's hard to run network cables. You should if you can. However, if you cannot, you can only use signal boosters (not good) or try power-line network adapter which makes use of the copper electricity wires as "network cables".

 

The speed tends to be low and the noise from electronical devices would make the network performance unreliable. And then you have to install an access point as well. This option requires a pair of power-line network adapters and one extra router/access-point device.

For old houses, the best option is still to try to run a network cable (cat 6) and try to hide it as best as possible inside the ceiling or use the cable colour that can be blended into the colour of carpet or wall. Then install an access point. A lot of used routers could be found on eBay at cheap prices. Just make sure these routers support access point mode and both bands 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz (dual bands)

Upgrade to NBN

Finally, people should upgrade to NBN service to get faster speed and more reliable connection to Internet. If one has 4G or 5G mobile phone, this can be used as a hotspot for imergency when the fixed line is down.

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