How to Maximize Your BandwidthAdobeStock 158283936 web

When it comes to the Internet, it is all about speed. Whether you are streaming your favorite shows or just surfing the Internet, you want the best performance. The average household in the United States has ten connected devices and that number is expected to increase to 50 connected devices by 2020. Adding more devices can place a strain on your existing network.

That’s why it is no surprise that in the past year, 37 percent of households reported that their Wi-Fi network seems slow. Many people think that adding more bandwidth is the solution to every issue, but that is not always the case. Wireless technology is complicated. There are many factors that can affect the performance of your Wi-Fi network.

 

The Basics: How Wi-Fi WorksiStock 915347404 web

Many people think that Wi-Fi and Internet access are the same thing, but they are not. Internet access gives you the connection and a set amount of speed, usually measured in megabits per second (Mbps). Wi-Fi is a radio signal that is used to distribute that connection and speed to all of your devices. Wi-Fi allows your devices to connect to the Internet and to each other without the use of wires or cables.

There are two main pieces of equipment that are needed to make your Wi-Fi work:

  • A modem is a device that provides access to the Internet. The modem provides the connection to your Internet service provider and delivers the bandwidth you have purchased.
  • A router is a small box that allows multiple devices to connect to each other to form a network. Most routers are wireless, which means they do not require cables to connect the devices. In order to connect your devices to the Internet, your router must also be connected to your modem.

Most often, the modem is provided by your Internet service provider, while the router is something that you purchase separately. There are some products that combine a modem and router into one device. Most D & P Connect customers have a 2-in-1 router that delivers Wi-Fi to their home and allows our technical support team to provide technical support 24/7. However, some of our legacy customers still have two pieces of equipment.

If you want to troubleshoot issues with Wi-Fi performance, it is helpful to look at all of the devices and technology involved in your network. Looking at each component individually can help to isolate the issue and get to the root of the problem.

 

Factors that Impact Wi-Fi PerformanceiStock 974974214 web

There are four main factors that can affect Wi-Fi performance:

  1. Not enough bandwidth. Your Internet bandwidth is shared among all of the devices running on your network. So, if you have a lower bandwidth package, and you have a family of four using multiple devices for streaming, gaming, and surfing the Internet, then you might want to consider upgrading your package.
  1. Router location or capacity. If you already have a higher bandwidth package, your router also could be a limiting factor. If you have not upgraded your router in a few years, it might not be capable of processing and distributing the higher bandwidth. Also, you should make sure your router is located in a central place in the home to avoid dead spots that can slow down your Internet connection. There are router extenders you can purchase that will help with this.
  1. Interference. Because Wi-Fi uses a radio frequency to send a signal from your device to the Internet, it is possible for the signal to become distorted. This is common in apartment buildings or homes in close proximity, where multiple devices are operating on the same frequency.
  1. Capacity of devices. All devices are not created equal. For example, your laptop may run a lot faster than your smartphone or tablet, or vice versa. Older devices can slow down the overall performance of your entire network. Every time you add a new device in your home, it can affect your Wi-Fi speed.

All of these factors combined can have an impact on your wireless network speed. It involves a lot more than just the speed package you have.

 

The Truth About Speed Tests

Many people use a speed test website to test their network performance. But are speed tests an accurate way to measure performance? The answer is no. The speed test only tests the speed at which the device used is able to access the Wi-Fi network. You might see different results on a speed test at different times of day, depending on what other devices are in use and how many users are on the larger network. The age and capability of the device you use to run the speed test can also affect the results, as well as the overall radio frequency environment in your home.

Our D&P technicians often perform speed tests directly from the modem to determine whether customers are getting their full bandwidth, but the full picture of network performance cannot be understood without considering the particular devices, user consumption patterns, and radio frequency environment.

wifi myths graphic v5 01

In short, a speed test can be a useful tool, but it is not always an accurate measure of the overall bandwidth in your home. If you notice a variation between your speed test and your bandwidth, you might want to investigate some of the factors that can affect the results.

While Wi-Fi comes with its own unique set of challenges, it is important to keep in mind all of the ways it makes our lives easier. It may take some time and effort to get to the root of the problem and get your Wi-Fi network humming, but in the end, it will be worth it!

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