What about your Wi-Fi ?
Posted by Mark Vandepol on 26 January 2016 11:20 AM

Sometimes, your home network is to blame. So if you’re ready to point fingers at your wireless network, it’s often the biggest culprit behind a persistently slow network. This is why it’s best to try to plug directly into your modem for a speed test, because then you can see if your problem goes away with a direct link to the network.

When it comes to Wi-Fi, the easiest problem to solve is one of older gear. (This is after you reboot your router and modem of course!) Like phones or computers, Wi-Fi routers (the machines that convert the signals from your modem into a Wi-Fi signal) grow obsolete after a few years. Current Wi-Fi routers are using a radio standard called 802.11a/c, which can handle gigabit network speeds. You may not need these speeds, but if your router is operating at anything other than 802.11a/c or the previous generation’s 802.11n, which can handle network speeds of 300 Mbps, then you might want to consider an upgrade.

It’s not just the radio standard that matters. Newer beam-forming technology inside modern routers mean that multiple devices can share limited capacity more efficiently from a single router. Additionally, your router should offer the ability to seamlessly switch between the 2.4GHz and 5GHz channels inside your home. These are the two frequency bands that are used for Wi-Fi devices, and for the most part, the 2.4 GHz band is pretty crowded with devices talking to one another.

So in many homes, the 5GHz band is still relatively uncluttered, which makes it a good channel for many high bandwidth applications where losing packets results in a noticeable degradation in quality. Things like streaming video, video calls, and even gaming are good candidates for the 5GHz channel, although as more devices come on the market that can switch between the frequencies, this band will likely see more clutter.

Finally on the Wi-Fi front, even if you have a modern router with all the bells and whistles, you may be placing it in a terrible location, which means that while the closet where you keep your router has a speedy connection, the rest of your home does not. To solve that problem, you may have to move your router or invest in access points

Or you may need to upgrade your current Internet service plan. To know what to expect by connection speed, see our below.


Download Speeds


1-4 Mbps
Generally, this is the lowest level of service available in most areas. Email and most web site will load fine and most music streaming services will work without interruption. Internet phone services (VOIP) should have no trouble. But Standard Definition (SD) videos will buffer on occasion.


4-6 Mbps
Users at this speed should not have any trouble with streaming audio or video. Service at this speed will allow some file sharing and should work fine for streaming Internet TV (IPTV).


6-10 Mbps
For online gamers and heavy video-on-demand, this is the preferred speed. This speed delivers uninterrupted online gaming and smooth on-demand video as long as only one device is using a high bandwidth service.


10-15 Mbps
Users at this speed say they do notice the increase in speed. Web sites drop right into the browser and your interaction with web-based applications and cloud services will be much quicker. Will help you interact with more complex online applications like remote education services, telemedicine and high definition Internet TV.


15-50 Mbps
If you have a number of devices connected to your network and want to use them at the same time without delays, this may be the speed for you. With the explosion of electronic products that can be connected to the Internet, keeping them all working at peak performance is going to be an increasing challenge. Multiple simultaneous connections will require this level of service.


50+ Mbps
Speed like this is now seen feeding home networks. The main reasons for such blazing download speed are video conferencing, real-time data collection and intense remote computing. But again, with the explosion of web-enabled devices in homes, speed like this are becoming the new normal. Remember, we used to access the Internet with dial-up modems.

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