Equip Your Household to Optimize Internet Speeds
on Friday, January 25, 2019
CFU delivers some of the fastest internet speeds in the country. But sometimes setting up your home to best capture those speeds can be intimidating.
If you experience slow WiFi or “dead zones” in your home, you may have heard purchasing an extender or repeater will solve the issue. But before you spend money on new equipment, make sure you know what your goal is and all your options.
There are a few things you can try before purchasing new equipment. An easy first step is to move your existing router to an area that is physically closer to where you use your wireless devices most. This is typically the center of your home. A CFU technician can move it for you for a nominal fee.
To maximize the speeds on your home network, connect devices with an Ethernet cable when possible. A wired connection is the best connection and will be faster than even the best wireless equipment. UTP Category 6a cable is best.
If you have old devices such as a printer or laptop, it is important to turn off their wireless connection when not in use or connect them via Ethernet cable. Old devices tell your router to slow down to their speed, which also slows down newer, faster devices.
If you need to extend WiFi to an area that is not well covered, consider a wired solution. Using a device called a wireless access point is your best option. This device will connect back to the parent router via Ethernet cable and transmits WiFi to your desired location.
It is possible to use a device that uses multimedia over coax (MoCa) on a coax cable (used by televisions) instead of an Ethernet cable but this will be slower. This option is still faster than most WiFi connections though.
Another option is a device that will extend your home network over electrical wiring such as Powerline or HomePlug. This option is generally slower and you must be careful to properly pair the device to avoid the possibility of neighbors gaining access to your network.
If using a wired connection is not possible, a wireless device is an option. Some people use the terms “booster,” “repeater” or “extender” interchangeably but in practice each is designed differently and produces different results.
A WiFi extender connects to the parent router just as any mobile device, however it creates a new broadcast on a different channel that helps prevent interference between the signal from the parent router and the extender. However, placement of the extender is critical. Mobile devices may see both the main router and the extender equally and jump from one to the other causing streaming issues.
A wireless repeater is another option. It uses the same channel as the parent router and is not recommended. This will make every WiFi device slower, whether it is connected to the repeater or the main router. A repeater may allow connections in places not possible before, but the resulting slowdown of all other wireless traffic generally is a greater problem.
Mesh WiFi extender systems have solved some of the issues created by extenders and repeaters. Many of them allow your mobile devices to seamlessly roam from one connection to another. However, your mobile devices have to support 802.11v, 802.11k, and 802.11r standards to work properly.
Make sure you choose the correct equipment for your household. If you have any questions, call our Help Desk at 319-268-5221.