If you’re looking forward to a summer filled with BBQs, festivals and weekends glamping, then it’s time to get your gadgets in order. Apparently, the average smartphone user spends 2 hours a day glued to the screen.
If like me, your phone is an extension of your arm, then a limit of 2 hours is like going cold turkey. Without some contingency plans in place, this could end up being an expensive summer, paying for extra mobile data.
So forget your beach body, get your connectivity ready for summer! Our #TechExperts at TP-LINK will run you through how to get the most out of your Wi-Fi whilst outside!
Going to friends is fine, most of the time they’ll let you hop on the wireless, public venues often provide free wi-fi too. However, further afield it can be very hit or miss. So here are my top tips for a super summer whether you’re hosting the perfect party or glamping at Glastonbury:
The House Party
What makes a good party? For me, it boils down to generosity. As the host, you put a lot of thought and preparation into the guest list, playlists, menu and drinks selection. And I like to offer wi-fi too.
A lot of routers have a guest wi-fi feature so you can offer your guests secure, high-speed wireless without compromising your own connection speeds or privacy. This means, no matter how many Youtube videos your guests upload or watch, there’s still plenty of bandwidth for your carefully created Spotify and Apple Music playlists.
Most parties end up in the garden and, depending on where the router lives, connecting to the wi-fi can be a struggle. This means streaming from your phone to a Bluetooth speaker, for example, is impossible without dipping into your data plan. Wireless Range Extenders are a simple solution. They boost the wi-fi signal strength and range from your router so it reaches further and buffers less. Not only are they great for parties, if you work from home or find it easier to revise outdoors, they provide ample bandwidth for browsing and streaming.
The queue for charging stations can be as long, if not longer, than for the loo. Don’t ration your phone usage to save battery life, or waste precious time recharging, take a power bank and charge on the go. Be a hero and share the love – choose a power bank with two USB ports so you can charge two devices at the same time.
Camping and Glamping
Nothing beats the great outdoors; fresh air, good food and games round the camp fire. However, sometimes it’s necessary to relax with home comforts and catch up on the latest episode of ‘Game of Throne’s or ‘Preacher’. Tethering a tablet to your smartphone not only drains your battery but can be expensive depending on your data plan. MiFi is a convenient, lightweight and low-cost way of providing a secure, high speed and private wireless network. Choose an unlocked MiFi device so you can pick the most appropriate SIM from any network. This is particularly important if you are going abroad where data roaming charges can come as a nasty shock and bump up the overall cost of your holiday.
If any of these gizmos take your fancy then here are some handy hints to consider when choosing the right device for you.
The foundation to your home network. As a rule of thumb the higher the Mbps the more bandwidth they will provide and therefore the more devices you can connect simultaneously without impacting performance. Choose an AC router. AC is the latest wireless standard which is not only x3 faster than the previous wireless N standard, it also automatically broadcasts on two wireless bands simultaneously. A VDSL router is the most flexible, enabling you to replace most ISP provide routers. Check the router is easy to configure and manage for example using an app from your phone or tablet.
I like the Archer VR2600 because it offers up to 2600Mbps, and includes MU-MIMO so the router performs multiple tasks at the same time for smoother streaming and glitch-free gaming. It also comes with a free app for Android and iOS so you can see which devices are connected to your network and manage them in real-time.
Powerline adapters can be used to extend and boost the wireless coverage throughout your home and into the garden. Whether you have a wireless black spot in your basement, sluggish connections in the attic or just want to extend your wireless to the patio, a wireless powerline kit will demolish those wireless dead zones. Powerline adapters work with any router or ISP making them a simple plug and play solution. You might want to take a closer look at the WPA8630Pkit from TP-LINK, which simultaneously provides up to 1200Mpbs over the wired and wireless connections via your electrical circuit. This kit also includes 2×2 MIMO with beamforming for more stable connections over longer distances.
Range extenders work with any router or ISP and are a great way of extending your wireless reach. They boost the range and strength of the existing wireless signal, a great solution when there are few structural barriers to block the wi-fi. When looking for a range extender think about whether you want it to plug directly into the wall or sit on a work surface. Desktop range extenders often have more functionality than plug in ones, like additional Ethernet ports. The RE450 from TP-LINK includes an intelligent light signal so you can put it in the optimal place for maximum wireless coverage.
POWER BANK/ PORTABLE POWER
There is a massive range of power banks on the market. When choosing the right one make sure you check its capacity or the number of recharges available. Also, look out for the safety features protecting your phone or tablet.
When looking at MiFi, choosing one that is unlocked gives you maximum flexibility to choose the data provider and data plan that best suits your requirements. You also want to bear in mind the battery life and number of simultaneous users. Devices like the TP-LINK MR7350 provide dual band wireless connections for better streaming and also include a built-in display showing how many devices are connected and how much data has been consumed – handy if you’re on a budget.
So whatever the summer brings, make sure your connectivity isn’t a damp squib.