Wi-Fi, the all-encompassing invisible internet giver. A lifesaver when it’s working but a damn straight annoyance when you lose signal. In the world of Wi-Fi, the range between your device and router can be the difference in quality, speed and even connection. So how do you go about improving the range of your Wi-Fi?
This week our Tech Experts at TP-Link are going to take us through the options for improving your Wi-Fi range and what to look out for on the market.
Get the best out of your Wi-Fi
A smart TV isn’t smart if it’s constantly buffering, gaming online is no fun if you keep losing the signal and a tablet without Wi-Fi is little more than a paperweight.
To get the best out of your devices you need a solid network foundation. So if you want to sit back and enjoy smooth HD streaming, glitch free gaming and instant online chat here is the ultimate Wi-Fi boosting solutions for you. Whether you need to increase the speed of your home network, wipe-out wireless dead zones, improve network security or simply connect wireless speakers, we have the right solution for you.
For networking beginners, start with simple to set-up and easy to manage solutions like wireless USB adapters, wireless range extenders and powerline adapters. These devices will rapidly improve connection speeds between your wireless router, PC, laptop, smart TV, Xbox, PlayStation, Apple TV or blu-ray player. Ideal for networking novices, these devices are simple plug and play solutions. No configuration is required.
We love Wi-Fi and always want to be online. However, most homes have Wi-Fi dead spots which means there are areas where wireless just won’t reach or there is a poor signal resulting in slow downloads and buffering. One option is to run Ethernet cables through the house connecting the router and your wired only devices.
A powerline network overcomes these problems. By connecting a powerline adapter to your router, and plugging the second powerline adapter close to your device, you can connect via Ethernet or, depending on your powerline’s features, via wireless.
Powerlines, also known as ‘homeplug’, ‘powerline adapter’ or ‘powerline extender’, are more versatile than Ethernet cables, easy to install and simple to use. Powerline is the secure, fast way to extend your home network. Using your home’s existing electrical circuit, powerlines connect your devices directly to your router via electrical sockets.
Whilst standard powerlines provide a wired only connection, wireless powerlines allowing multiple wireless devices to benefit from a stronger wireless signal provided by the original router. You can also benefit from seamlessly roaming because some of the wireless powerlines automatically copy the wireless network name (SSID) and router password.
Range ExtenderBoost the range and strength of your Wi-Fi network to banish wireless black spots. A range extender or wireless booster, when placed within range of your wireless router, amplifies the strength and range of your wireless network. This simple device can be used to provide wireless coverage to that hard to reach bedroom, office or even the garden for uninterrupted browsing and smooth streaming.
Before running through the simple set-up, it’s important to find the best location for your extender. You need to put it halfway between the router and your wireless dead-zone. Because a range extender rebroadcasts the router’s original wireless signal, it needs to be positioned within the wireless range. Some of range extenders have lights that help you find the ideal location for the maximum wireless boost possible.
A range extender works with any router and ISP connection to improve your wireless coverage. It will extend the wireless signal to the furthest reaches of your home, home office or garden providing a reliable, high speed wireless signal so you can stay connected everywhere.
Turn ‘wired’ into ‘wireless’ with wireless USB adapters.
Use a wireless USB adapter to improve and upgrade the wireless connection to your Windows PC, laptop or netbook. Simple to use, secure, flexible and portable, a network adapter slots into any USB port to provide a stable wireless Internet connection.
When you need extra speed, management or security options, consider upgrading your router. A concurrent dual band* router will speed up your overall network to improve the wireless signal strength and stability for your bandwidth hungry applications like FaceTime, Skype, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video as well as your favourite online video games like League of Legends, Call of Duty or team games like Minecraft.
Choose the right type-
Upgrading your router can increase the overall speed of your network plus, provide additional security and management features to prevent bandwidth hogging, slow downloads and interrupted movie streaming. Before choosing a new wireless router it’s important to select the right type. DSL routers will work with Phone Line ISP’s like BT, TalkTalk or AOL broadband. If you have a contract with BT Infinity or Virgin Media you need a cable router.
Choose the right standard-
The first generation of wireless routers was ‘802.11b’, followed by ‘802.11g’ then ‘802.11n’, and now ‘802.11ac’, also known as ‘AC’- the next Wi-Fi generation. The primary difference among the router standards is speed and range. AC Wi-Fi offers data transfer speeds 3 times faster than wireless ‘n’, delivering seamless performance for super-high speed, home wide coverage while minimizing the risk of interference.
If your router pre-dates wireless ‘n’, you should seriously consider upgrading.
Dual band or tri-band?
When Wi-Fi first became a standard fixture in homes and business around the world, it transmitted and received data on a single 2.4GHz band. This connection was relatively slow, but was compatible with almost all wireless devices and could provide satisfactory coverage and range. Eventually, the era of dual band Wi-Fi arrived, with its addition of a 5GHz band. The newly added band provided the speeds that are necessary to support for all of our favourite bandwidth-intensive online activities, such as streaming video and online gaming. Now, tri-band Wi-Fi is poised to become the new solution and enhance the speed and reliability of our connections by creating an additional connection on the 5GHz band.
The 2.4GHz band is used by a lot of other wireless devices such as digital phones and microwave ovens. Because there are more devices competing for space in this band, it results in interference and congestion which may affect how well the router performs both in speed and consistency. The 5GHz band provides better performance because there is less interference.
When you consider a dual band or tri-band router you need to make sure your wireless devices such as mobile phones, tablets and computer are compatible with 5GHz band. It is an end-to-end operation so both ends should be able to send and receive data over 5GHz frequency band.
*Please note, you will need a dual band USB adapter if your devices are not dual band enabled.