As the battle against COVID-19 rages on, more and more countries from around the world are issuing total lockdown orders on schools, businesses, and all social gatherings, with people being ordered to remain indoors at all times.
That said, companies are embracing Work From Home (WFH) policies. Schools are adopting distance-learning programs. People are buying groceries online. Never before have we seen such a global community effort in the combat against a common enemy in human history, and yet, never before have we seen the sheer volume of connected devices that it takes in order to make this incredible worldwide effort achievable.
It’s therefore crucial that we continue in this vein. At its core is the assurance that you’re getting the most out of your home Wi-Fi network. Not just because your income depends on it, not just because your food supply depends on it, not just because your children’s education depends on it, but, if that connection goes down and you’ve got yourself and your whole family stuck at home to entertain all day, everyday… well, let’s just hope it doesn’t come to that.
Let’s take a look at 6 ways to ensure you and your family get the best Wi-Fi possible as we all hunker down at home for what could be a very long time.
First, let’s set the scene…
Dad is on a conference call in the dining room, mum is online shopping in the living room, the twins are distance-learning on their tablets, their brother is online gaming in his bedroom and the eldest daughter is binge-streaming her favorite TV shows while constantly updating her social media pages at every chance. Lest we forget the abundance of connected IoT devices throughout the home already, from IP cameras to voice-activated smart speakers, all battling for bandwidth simultaneously, all day, every day, for what could be months on end.
If your situation sounds pretty similar, then maybe it’s time to consider the following tips to get the most out of your home Wi-Fi network and give your Router the helping hand it deserves during these trying times.
1. Get the Plan that Fits Your Needs
With so many devices connected to your home Wi-Fi during the COVID-19 outbreak it’s vital you’ve selected the right plan from the right Internet Service Provider (ISP) that offers the right amount of data to suit you and your whole family’s Wi-Fi needs.
The right plan enables enough high-speed Wi-Fi so that multiple devices can connect to your home network and each one gets the bandwidth it needs to carry out the plethora of tasks required throughout the day, without any buffering or lag — because let’s face it, nobody wants that!
Likewise, it’s essential that you keep an eye on your data usage. Online activities like streaming, gaming and video conferencing will eat through your data package quicker than your kids through the pantry, and the last thing you want is to have to buy more at the end of the month.
2. Get the Right Router for the Job
In times like these it’s important to remember the unsung hero of the modern smart home, the Wi-Fi Router — from surveillance to gaming, 4K streaming to video calling, none of it would be possible without your trusty Wi-Fi Router. And as smart homes become smarter and more and more devices compete for a piece of the Wi-Fi action — you need to make sure that the “internet box with the antennae things sticking out that sits in the corner” is up-to-date, positioned well and functioning at its utmost best.
So, what’s the best Router to go for? Well, for optimal connectivity you want to be running at least an 11ac (Wi-Fi 5) Router (preferably with Gigabit WAN connectivity), and at best, the latest standard, 11ax (Wi-Fi 6) which, as well as Gigabit WAN connectivity, has been specifically designed for optimal performance in device-dense areas. Operating with a staggering 4 times greater capacity and 25% faster speeds for a wealth of connected devices — perhaps it’s time to give your home the Wi-Fi upgrade it deserves, with a Wi-Fi 6 Router.
3. Put Your Wi-Fi to the Test, the Speedtest!
If you’re concerned about your Wi-Fi connection but aren’t sure how to confirm if your suspicions are correct, then put it to the test. You can test the speed of your Wi-Fi online on your laptop’s browser or even on your mobile device through a number of different online platforms offering ‘internet speed tests’. However, some clever Wi-Fi Routers now come with built-in internet speed tests, powered by Ookla®, that let you check the true performance capabilities on both the uplink and downlinks in different rooms throughout your home.
Note, it’s important to identify the areas around your home where the Wi-Fi is performing significantly lower than others, so that the next step (below) in improving your Wi-Fi network can be taken.
4. It’s Time to Set Your Router Free
Yes, as simple as it sounds — move your Router! If you’re getting a lot of lag, some brutal buffering or wondering where’d your Wi-Fi go? A straight-forward re-positioning of your Wi-Fi router to a better location can maximize its potential.
Contrary to popular protocol — Wi-Fi Routers do not like to be stuck in the corner, out of sight, nor do they like to be beside any large metal surfaces like refrigerators or microwaves, and definitely not large volumes of water, so keep it away from that indoor fish tank, if you can, too!
For optimal performance place your Wi-Fi Router out in the open, if practical, equidistant from the floor and ceiling and in a central location within your home. After all, it is transmitting radio signal, and they like nice open space to help them do their job as efficiently as possible.
The result? There shouldn’t be any more conference call lag, video stream buffering, and most importantly, no more nagging teenagers complaining that their online gaming connection just dropped… “again!”
5. Reach Further with a Wi-Fi Extender
Placing your Wi-Fi Router in what would be your home’s optimal location may not always be practical (the middle of the kitchen table springs to mind). So, wherever your Router cannot go, a handy plug-in Wi-Fi Range Extender can. It boosts your existing Wi-Fi signal even further throughout your home and what’s more, they are super easy to set-up and use the same network ID as your current Wi-Fi. Simple.
6. Maybe it’s Time to Mesh Things Up a Little
Big house? No big deal. There’s even a solution for the biggest of homes that often experience pesky Wi-Fi dead zones, too. Whether your home office is on the fourth floor of your town-house or the kids play online gaming in their rooms at the end of the hallway, with whole-home mesh Wi-Fi systems your entire home is blanketed in one high-speed Wi-Fi mesh network.
It works by placing several units (usually two or three) around your home that pair with one another to create a stable, consistent and seamless Wi-Fi mesh network that fits everyone’s needs.
So, say “bye-bye” to buffering and “see you later lag”, because you’ll never have to wait for Wi-Fi again with the latest whole-home Mesh Wi-Fi networks.
During these trying times, for as long as they may last, it is important to ensure your home Wi-Fi is operating at peak performance — especially if you, and others at home, rely on it to earn an income and especially where your kid’s education is concerned. It is also vitally important if you need it to order essentials online and keep in touch with family and friends across the globe.
Are the techniques above working? If not, perhaps it may be time to upgrade to the Wi-Fi network your home deserves.
Until next time, stay connected… and protected.