Everything these days is reliant somehow on the Internet, even things that can’t be plugged in. That’s where WiFi comes in. WiFi is the delivery of an Internet signal using radio waves. WiFi networks usually come as part of standard Internet plans, and are activated alongside your IP address. Internet service often provides a wireless router built into your modem, and you can set up your WiFi network using your provider’s online portal.
However, there may be a few other things to consider when setting up your WiFi. Many people go through the trouble to set up their routers only to find they are in the wrong place and don’t reach all the devices they need to. Others find their networks vulnerable and unprotected, or hamstrung by lag at peak usage times.
To avoid dilemmas like these, here are a few questions to ask yourself when setting up your home network.
What devices use WiFi? Between cell phones, tablets, gaming consoles, smart home devices, and even wearables, your home is full of items that are running on your WiFi network. Not everyone has a smart home, but most people have at least a smartphone, a personal computer, and a gaming console. Some devices access the Internet at all times while others only connect to the network when they are activated, but anything that doesn’t get plugged in relies on wireless to run.
This means that where there is no signal, no devices can be used. If that is okay with you, then where your WiFi signal reaches is up to you. If you want to cover your entire home or property, you have to plan ahead to carry the wireless signal where you want it to go. Most people want to cover their home and at least part of their property so they can stream movies on a tablet on the porch or play online games in the backyard.
Where you put your wireless router is one of the most important considerations to ensuring your WiFi signal reaches where you want it. The router is the central broadcast unit for your wireless home network, and needs a clear area to be most effective. The center of the ground floor of your house is what is most often recommended, but the router should not be placed near anything that might obstruct the signal, such as metal frames, brick walls, or appliances and devices that might clutter it.
It should also have a clear signal to any wireless access points you may have in your network. An access point is like an antenna that extends your wireless connection beyond your router’s range, as long as your router can reach it. It is an optional feature that some people use to spread their signal over a wider area, such as a large property or a big house. In these scenarios, obstructions might include anything from trees and terrain to basement walls, so if you need access points in your home network, the location of your wireless router needs to take them into account as well.
Having a password on your connection isn’t just about preventing hackers from accessing your home, although that can be unpleasant enough. Hackers are still a threat that is able to turn your wireless devices into useless “bricks” by taking them over or locking you out of them. There have been cases where baby monitors have said creepy things or entire networks have been used to provide computing power for fraudulent activities. If you have open access to your WiFi, that means anyone close enough to your wireless router can use it. This includes anyone passing by or neighbors who live within your range, which can affect your speed and open you to whatever they happen to be downloading on your connection. The more smart devices you have, the more vulnerable your WiFi is to outside invasion, because each unprotected device can act as a backdoor into your network.
This sounds absolutely frightening, but is very simple to fix by creating passwords using both capital and lowercase letters, numbers, symbols, or groups of keywords. A password manager, which is an app that generates unique passwords for each of your devices and can only be accessed through a central portal, is a good investment if you have a lot of smart technology that can be password-protected. Even with a private username and password, you can set up guest access for your company so they can stay connected in your home.
Every item on your WiFi network is going to take some of your overall bandwidth. From your smartwatch to your security cameras, each item uses a varying amount of Internet speed. Most of them are not noticeable, but when everyone is home and running a myriad of unique devices at once, this could show in everyone’s latency. It does depend on the device, as some devices use more speed than others, but all of them are using the home network to be connected.
Plus, it also depends on what activities are being conducted. Downloads, streams, and video chats will take more bandwidth, while your smart bulbs will likely not take much, even if you have a lot of them. Security cameras use bandwidth when they are recording, so whether you can record all day depends on your Internet package.
To ensure you have enough bandwidth for everything, it is important to know every single device connected to WiFi in your home and how much bandwidth each is likely to use. Add it all up as though every single item were being used for its most stressful Internet purpose. Plan on extra, in case visitors bring devices or you add new ones.
As we look to the future, more things are being made that use the Internet to make our lives convenient. From appliances you can run remotely to thermostats you can talk to, WiFi is becoming more of a necessity in our everyday lives. Having a reliable WiFi network is important these days, with so much depending on devices connected to it. To find a connection with a great WiFi package or compare your current package to what’s available, just tell us your zip code. We will show you all the providers in your area and their packages and rates, so you can get all your devices connected, even if they don’t have plugs.