Wi-Fi, My Best Friend, or is it?
Wi-Fi is a technology that allows us to connect wireless enabled devices (computers, tablets, smartphones, gaming consoles, etc.) from almost anywhere in our home to our router which allows us to use our Internet. Most people want the freedom to be in any room, at any time and connect to the Internet. They also don’t want the fuss of all the wires, which is why there are thousands of Wi-Fi enabled devices to give us that freedom. But like they say, freedom doesn’t come free. Wi-Fi has some things you should understand and consider to get the best experience and keep you safe.
First, let’s talk about getting the best experience.
Issues: In almost all situations your speed will not be at max on Wi-Fi because it is using radio bands to connect you to the Internet. The main bands are 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz. Since it uses radio bands to give you Internet, everything between you and the router (walls, appliances, etc.) is reflecting the bands further weakening your signal and your speeds. Additionally, the further away from your router the weaker the signal. When the signal weakens, your speeds will slow down as well. Remember also, the more devices you have connected the slower your speed will be as well.
Solutions: Think of your router as sending out light beams and move it to where it can shine the best and be closest to where you usually connect to the internet, such as in your TV room. You can also purchase a Wi-Fi Booster** to give the signal more strength.
Issues: Because we are using radio bands, there is a possibility of wireless interference. Wireless interference happens when you have other devices in your home or possibly the neighbors’ home are broadcasting on the same radio band (usually 2.4 GHz). Some examples of devices that can interfere are your neighbors’ router using the same band and channel as yours, microwave ovens, cordless phones, and baby monitors to name a few examples. When that happens, you can experience degraded Wi-Fi speeds or possibly not be able to connect to your router.
Solutions: First, try changing the channel your router is using. For more information on how to do that, call one of our friendly Customer Service Technicians. Another option is to purchase a dual-band router (2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands).**
Now that we are getting the best user experience we can, let’s make sure we are being as safe as we can be.
Issues: Since your Internet connection is being broadcasted in the air, ANYONE with a Wi-Fi enabled device that can pick up the signal can use YOUR Internet! That includes your neighbor, your teenager’s friend, or someone just walking past your house. It is possible for someone who connects to your network to steal information off of your computer (account passwords, bank information, etc.). They can also illegally download copyrighted material such as movies, music, games, books, etc. from the Internet using your connection. Because it would be tied to your IP Address you would be held responsible for the copyright infringement and the fines and penalties associated with that crime.
Solutions: Luckily there is a fairly easy and safe way to combat those things, and that is to simply add a Wi-Fi password/network key to your network router to make it harder for someone unauthorized to connect to your network. If you do not have a password set up or you are not sure if you have a password on your router, please give us a call at 1-800-362-2576 and we would be happy to assist you. If you do have a password, make sure you explain to others about copyright infringements before you give them access.
If you have any questions about a device and whether or not it can use Wi-Fi, or how to connect or improve your Wi-FiI or about copyright infringements, please call or come into one of our Solutions Centers.