Life as we know it is evolving at a phenomenal rate, and if you’re not technically minded to begin with it could throw you off quite easily.
Slow Wi-Fi is frustrating, especially when you don’t know what’s causing the problem. People tend to take their Wi-Fi for granted, like their electricity supply: it’s just supposed to be on. But unlike your power, if your Wi-Fi stops working, too often it’s up to YOU to diagnose and fix it.
If you use home wifi, you need to learn a bit about how the internet works. It’s not like electricity, where you can mostly afford to not understand how the power grid works. Your ISP is only part of what gets you online. Your ISP is responsible only for the cable/DSL “wired” connection to your home, and (usually) the modem device which receives that signal. What happens with your wifi router is your responsibility.
So, let’s start with the basics…
A common source of confusion is this whole Wi-Fi and Internet malarkey. Many people don’t know the difference, and the difference is HUGE.
Internet and Wifi are not the same thing. You can have full wifi signal but no internet what so ever.
You have a WiFi signal from your router, you are not paying for WiFi, and you are paying for broadband.
Your provider provides you with an indication of the BROADBAND download and upload speed that they can provide to your property. Your WiFi signal is down to factors in your home, such as walls and objects it travels through, distance from router etc! Your provider is not obliged to provide you with strong WiFi signals through your property.
WiFi signal can be boosted with extenders or adapters (we do not recommend repeaters). A wired in WAP (wireless access point) is one of the ways you can increase the wireless coverage without losing speed. See our blog for the difference – https://www.blacknovadesigns.co.uk/blog/wireless-access-points-vs-wireless-repeaters
In most cases you are allowed to purchase a good quality 3rd party router, you can also get a wireless specialist in like us to advise the best way to make your wireless work for you.
A few tips to improve your Wireless:
1. Location… Location… Location…
A Wireless Hub/Router is usually Omnidirectional, which basically means its firing out signals in every direction. So, putting it against an external wall is not ideal.
The best way to ensure a great connection is to put the router as close to the centre of the property, but also try to limit the number of walls between the router and the devices you want to connect to.
Also are you using the latest router (either aftermarket or provider provided) or is it the same one you have had for years? As technology has grown many new features have come out, which are designed to support more devices and provide a better connection, where the old devices don’t have this technology causing you to suffer from poor connections, drop-outs and even complete outages.
2. Don’t automatically think it’s an Internet Fault
Are you sure it’s your internet that is at fault, many issues can be due to wireless issues and not the internet connection that is actually coming into your property. We have seen many cases where the wireless signal is not performing well and is causing a decrease in speeds on the internet, where actually the speed coming into the property is very good and stable. It is always good to test the speeds on an Ethernet cable first before calling your Internet Service Provider (ISP)
3. Concrete is the enemy.
If you have an older house your internal walls may be bricks and concrete. This is not good for Wi-Fi. Actually, this is like Wi-Fi’s kryptonite.
Your signal may get through one wall, maybe even two if you’re lucky but that’s your lot. So as previously mentioned, if your router isn’t in a central location, you’re going to face serious connectivity issues.
The good news is that floors and ceilings are much easier to penetrate. So, with this in mind, it may be a good idea to invest in a wireless access point or two for the home.
As I said at the beginning of this blog, technology is forever changing and improving. So keeping on top of this can be a pain.
As with most devices, routers get regular updates becoming available but are not always done automatically so you may need to do these manually.
5. There is no one fits all solution.
The router/hub your internet provider gives you is the same generic one they give everyone – not all houses are the same, and not every household has the same demands.
We always suggest looking at alternative routers that specialize in wireless signal and strength (keep in mind some internet providers do not allow you to use any other router so ask when signing up)
6. Having older Wi-Fi devices on the network can bring down the new router’s performance.
Many users upgrade their router to newer standards but fail to realize that older devices accessing the network will bring down the overall performance of the network.
That old cell phone or laptop that you use occasionally may be bringing down your performance, because wireless systems act on the “lowest common denominator” principle, setting the router’s performance to the standard with the lowest possible top speed.
The fix: Remove (or upgrade) any older devices that may still be on the network. You can also configure some routers to operate in an “802.11n only” or “802.11ac only” mode, which will prevent older devices from accessing the faster network.
7. Final tip.
How many people come to your house and ask for your Wifi code? Loads no doubt, often it’s the first thing people ask nowadays.
Bear in mind that many devices connect to your Wi-Fi these days. The list will contain laptops, smartphones, tablets, smart TVs, set-top boxes, game consoles, Wi-Fi printers, and more.
Well the more devices attached the slower the network becomes so start logging into your router and taking them off.
Keep in mind, Wireless has always been around, but the requirements we have for it has quadrupled – we expect wifi to miraculously run xbox, Netflix, facebook, kid’s laptops, cctv and sometimes home alarms and much much more. The simple router that the ISP (internet service provider) provide is not always ‘man enough’ to cope with that sort of demand.
As well as improving the speed and strength of your Wi-Fi, these tips can also improve security on your router to protect your network from intruders.
Please please remember if you are struggling with WiFi don’t call your internet provider as they have zero responsibility for your WiFi.
Thank you so much to our guests, Black Nova Designs for this informative post which is hugely relevant to not only our rural readers but everyone. Slow internet speeds can be incredibly infuriating and it pays to know a little bit more about what might be going on behind the scenes and how to tackle the issues we may face.
A silent, stroppy dance doesn’t always do the trick… as much as it helps us cope at the time!
Until next time…
Lots of love,
*This is a sponsored blog post.