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Friday, July 29, 2022
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Teknik IT Mgmt & Data Security Blog

Teknik IT Management & Data Security has developed this blog to give you ideas and useful information to help our readers understand and receive the most benefit from fast-changing technology.

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Get the best Wi-Fi Performance for Working at Home

With more professionals working at home, it’s very important to have your home Wi-Fi working at its optimal performance. There are a few things you can do to enhance your Wi-Fi speed and performance.

Residential grade Wi-Fi routers are cheaply made and only last a couple years. So, replacing them with a new one will give you better reliability. Obviously, newer devices have better compatibility and technology as well. The rule of thumb is that you get what you pay for, even though there are some higher quality low cost devices out there. Combo Wi-Fi routers are the most common devices used in residential networks. Spend a little more and get one that can do dual band 2.4 GHz and 5.8 GHz. This will give you the option to use which ever band has less interference. Stand-alone wireless access points are typically going to give you the best performance. External antennas will give you a stronger signal which will provide a larger coverage area and faster performance.

The placement of your Wi-Fi device is critical. Look for a place that is centralized to the area you are covering. If you are trying to get getter performance or use your wireless devices primarily in one area, move it a little closer to that area. Try to stay within 50 to 100 feet for best coverage. Even though manufacturers say they cover 300 feet or more, obviously the environment, structure and interferences effect this distance. Typically higher is better, so if you have a two story house, the top level would be the best place. If you have a three story, the middle floor would be best. Also remember that Wi-Fi signal, which is radio-frequency (RF), is line of sight. This means that the more stuff between you and the Wi-Fi device, the less signal you will have.

The Wi-Fi devices have antennas that are either internal or external. External antennas are better because you can orient them for optimal configuration. RF is polarized horizontal, vertical or circular. Wi-Fi (802.11 a/b/g) is vertically polarized, so having the antennas straight up and down vertically will give you the best signal. With 802.11n, they are using new polarization and transmission techniques so this isn’t as important and having angled antennas could actually work to your advantage. External antennas also have higher gain with means more coverage area, and higher signal which means faster performance.

New Wi-Fi devices often sit on the shelf for a period of time before you purchase them. The manufactures are constantly updating the firmware to improve the devices, fix issues and patch security vulnerabilities. The first thing we always do is to update the firmware to the latest version. This can be done by going to the support section of the manufacture’s website and downloading the firmware for your device. When you connect your computer to the device to configure it, there is typically a management tab that has a place where you can upload new firmware.

When you first get your Wi-Fi device, the default channel will be six. If you have two devices close to each other and they are on the same channel, it will greatly reduce the performance. So channel placement is critical. You want to have a two channel separation between you and neighbor devices. You can determine which channels your neighboring devices are on by using a Wi-Fi analyzer app. These can be downloaded for free on the internet. This will let you look at the strength and channel of all the neighboring devices. Then you can pick a channel with the least amount of competition on it.

Wi-Fi interference comes in many forms and he who screams the loudest get heard. So if the interference is screaming loud enough, you will not get heard. From Wikipedia “Electromagnetic interference (EMI), also called radio-frequency interference (RFI) when in the radio frequency spectrum, is a disturbance generated by an external source that affects an electrical circuit by electromagnetic induction, electrostatic coupling, or conduction.” This will greatly reduce your signal strength and speed performance. This interference is cause by many devices including home wireless phones, power circuits, breaker panels, electrical transformers, microwaves, refrigerators, freezers, florescent and compact florescent lighting, motion sensors, baby monitors and competing Wi-Fi networks. It is best to avoid having your Wi-Fi device near or in line of site of any of these interference sources.

Make sure you have adequate security enabled on your Wi-Fi. I recommend using at least WPA 2 with a long and strong passphrase or key. This will help keep your data safe as well as unwanted guests out of your network. If you lack security, neighbors close by can gain access to the internet through your network. They can then consume lots of data and slow your internet significantly.

If you have tried everything to get the coverage area you need but still are struggling, you can use range extenders but this will affect your speed. This might not even be noticed or be an issue for internet surfing. Wi-Fi networks typically have speeds greater than your internet provider offers but times are changing and they are getting faster and faster every day. When placing your range extender, make sure it has strong signal because it can only extend the quality of the signal it can receive from the source.

Written by Tim Alexander

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Written by Tim Alexander

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