Bad WiFi. How do I fix it?

Let’s talk about  bad WiFi.

Have you ever had to hold your smartphone high above your head in order to get a strong WiFi signal, in your own home? Does it take forever to load a webpage on your laptop? Does Netflix freeze on you mid-movie, or appear grainy on your TV?

I hear these complaints, and more, from people all the time. The good news is, it doesn’t have to be that way!

But first – why are so many people having issues with their WiFi?

To get a better understanding of this, we have to think about where WiFi has been heading over the years. Not long ago, the only thing we needed WiFi for was to surf the Internet and send emails, so routers were fairly basic. Now we’re demanding more and more of our Internet service (streaming TV shows, playing high-definition online games, connecting tons of new WiFi-enabled devices all over the house), but many peoples’ home WiFi haven’t been able to keep up.

I strongly believe that any device that can be hardwired to the Internet, should be hardwired, and that WiFi should be left for mobile devices. I also think that we need to change the way we think about WiFi in the home. With so many new WiFi-enabled devices, we are now expecting WiFi service all over the home, rather than just one or two rooms. Plus, with piping inside walls, such as with heat pumps, and other factors, the WiFi signal in most homes is not consistent. Often, a single router can no longer provide enough strength and speed for all the activities we like to use Internet for.

The best way to deal with these problems is with Wireless Access Points (WAP). These devices are hardwired back to your router or Ethernet switch, and receive Internet just as strongly as any other hardwired device in your home. You can have them strategically placed in multiple locations in your home, where you tend to require WiFi. This is so that your laptops, smartphones, and other mobile devices only have to reach the nearest WAP to get WiFi, instead of reaching the router all the way in the basement.

  • It’s often optimal to have one WAP on each level of the home
  • Normally, you would want to install WAPs while your house is being built, but many houses already have telephone outlets that are wired with standard Cat5e cable, which can be used for this purpose
  • Your WAPs are encrypted and share the same password, so that it only appears once on your mobile device

A quick note on other solutions – Many people set up “repeaters” throughout their homes to try to tackle the problem of bad WiFi. Compared with Wireless Access Points, they tend to be slower because the repeater has to “repeat” everything, both ways. For example, your laptop sends signals to the repeater, and the repeater repeats that to your router, and back again.

Another solution people choose is to get multiple routers, but this can cause IP address problems if they’re not properly configured. If you’re looking to improve your WiFi experience at home, Wireless Access Points are the way to go.

If you have any questions about WiFi, feel free to send me a message!