Making the Most of your WiFi

By 2021, the average Australian will have 14 smart devices. Often, the speed at which broadband enters the home will not equal the speed that is delivered to the separate devices, and this is affected by a variety of factors.

Broadband needs to transmit and receive signals from a modem which sends and receives information from a wireless router, a device that turns signals into radio waves. These radio waves can be affected by the position of the router and the setup of your home. There are many factors to consider influencing the speed of your broadband connection, so here are some ways to make the most of it.

Dispelling physical interference

Router signals decrease in strength proportionate to the distance traveled, so it’s important to place the router proximal to all your connected devices. If your devices are scattered around your home, a central location may be better. But if most are located on one side, then place the router closer to that area of the home. Know that the shortest distance to your devices is always preferable. 

If possible, place the router six feet from the ground to ensure that the signal doesn’t need to travel through any objects that will further lessen the signal strength. This also ensures that the signal is in line with the majority of connected devices. 

Objects in your home can interfere with signal transmission. Other wireless devices, water (from a fish tank or bathtub), household appliances, and building materials (such as concrete, metal, brick, stone, ceramic, floors, and mirrors) can all dissipate broadband signals. As a rule, the less obstructions between the router and wireless devices, the better.  

Dispelling non-physical interference

Too many devices can place a strain on the router, causing a degradation of individual signal strength. If a device consumes a significant amount of broadband strength, it may be better to run a wire directly from the device to the router. 

WI-FI can travel long distances, so it is possible for your neighbor’s WI-FI to be interfering with your signal and yours with theirs. There are 13 channels on a router, so if you suspect interference, ensure that you and your neighbor are on different channels. 

It is also important to assess the age of your router to see if it may be time to upgrade to a newer device. Newer devices will be more capable of handling a stronger broadband signal. 

Internet speed will also be affected by usage at peak times usually between 7 and 11pm. The time that you most use the internet for browsing, streaming, or gaming is the same time most others are accessing the internet, which can place a strain on the broadband service. 

Assessing these concerns and your projected usage will determine your National Broadband Network (or NBN) plans. The National Broadband Network or NBN is Australia’s attempt to replace fixed cable broadband with a multi-technology mix to ensure that Australia is prepared for future internet access advancements. The NBN will be offered at various tiers depending on individual usage, from less than 15 megabits per second for casual users to 60 megabits per second for heavier users or multi-device homes.

This technology will also be transmitted to homes via a wired or wireless transmission based on location and type of residence. Both wireless and wired connections will provide different access to the different speed tiers. To prepare for the switch to the NBN, it’s important for consumers to remain informed about what is offered, to ask questions of their provider, and to compare service NBN plans.

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