How essential is a router for your wireless connection?
Consider this: you have moved into your first home or apartment and what’s the first thing that you need? Not food, not a shower – but what’s the WiFi password for your WiFi router.
Am I right?
According to an article on ZDNet, an IT Professionals website, consumers are willing to change hotels, airlines and a secure WiFi signal doing business to have an active WiFi connection. In fact, it is becoming the norm at home, where “94% of consumers use WiFi” when they are in house. So what do you do when your signal isn’t strong? Check these router numbers to resolve the concern.
Why do we need WiFi so much?
ABI research, which has tracked WI-Fi shipments since the industry’s inception, states that “at the end of 2014, 9.98 billion Wi-Fi devices had been sold worldwide and that about 4.5 billion Wi-Fi products are in use today”. That is a huge demand for bandwidth.
Will we have to keep up with Wi-Fi demand, or is this a trend?
Trendy – not so much.
The International Data Corporation states that “the global internet of things (IoT) market is expected to grow by more than $5 trillion over the next six years” (ZDNet, 2014). In other words, WiFi and it’s demand is only going to be greater as we increase smart home, cars, watches, wearables and any other thing that can make us smarter.
In fact, “industry research firm Gartner revealed that it had estimated the worldwide IoT technology market would accrue a value of around $1.9 trillion by 2020 and encompass up to 26 billion individual devices”.
The idea being that the more IoT devices that are created the more data we will have. In turn, the more automated items we can create the more we can exert our energy on more important items and avoid sweating the small stuff.
For example, smart refrigerators will start to know the products you buy. When you start to run out, it alerts your in-home personal assistant (devices like the Amazon Echo) and gets the product replenished by shipping it to your door in the next few days (maybe even hours depending on the service you use).
Router Problems: Quick Fixes
Change the WiFi Channel
Much like your television channels of old, WiFi functions in a similar fashion. When you set up your internet router, it usually chooses a certain channel by default. By using free tools like InSSIDer, take a look at which channel you are on (typically US routers operate on channels 1, 6, and 11). If you can’t find out how to access it, check with your router manufacturer.
Find a Better Spot for Your Router
Many place their router in a location that is out of reach of children, animals or casual foot traffic but that might not be your best option. A router needs to be elevated, in the center of your house and free of any walls or obstructions to maximize the WiFi signal. Some people place these in their attics, lofts or crawl spaces to allow the signal to avoid interfering with other objects.
Take a look at this Windsurfer tin foil hack featured in a LifeHacker.com article. Much like the TV antennas of old, signals can be improved through some little tricks of the trade. The article states “by carefully folding tinfoil into a parabola, you can boost your wireless strength tremendously.” It goes on to mention that the gentlemen who created the video saw it improve from “82% to just under 100%”. A simple trick to turn a cheaper router into a productive router while avoiding the high cost of an expensive router.
Run a Speed Test to Check for Throttling
There are a lot of applications to ensure you are not being throttled by your current Internet Service Provider (ISP) but one particular app that identifies accurately which speeds you receive is the Speed Test provided by Okla. This is a great test to do both wireless through your Wi-Fi and then through an Ethernet cable if possible. This will help determine if it is an internet connection problem or a problem with your router. It also helps to test with other speed test to ensure the most accurate data.
Purchase A WiFi Antenna Booster
Ranging anywhere from $2-$25, purchasing a bigger antenna to place on your WiFi router is not a bad option. Some recommended models might be the TP-Link TL-ANT2409A (around $25) or you can find a generic antenna under many different brands. Do not expect a huge difference, but expect that it will make a difference. By adding onto your router you can expect a 2-3 MB difference in download or upload speeds.
If you are more of a do it yourself type person, check out these Parabolic Reflectors to see if this is something you are interested in as well.
We hope this guide has been useful. Still having problems with your internet connection? See what packages are available in your area by clicking here.