A problem a lot of homes and businesses have these days is poor WiFi. This can be caused by several factors but there are a few things that can be done to fix it.
The first thing to look at is your main router. Most people stick with the router that the service provider sends out. These routers are normally basic and cheap and just good enough to get you up and running but have trouble handling lots of users or complicated setups.
The basic router can normally handle 15-20 devices simultaneously, a few years ago that was loads but these days with everyone carrying a smartphone, several laptops and tablets in a house along with smart TVs and set-top boxes it’s very easy to have more than 15 devices connected to the same router especially if it’s being used in a business to give customers internet access.
If you’re a business you need to have a higher spec router. Look for one that has a guest WiFi option, this separates your customers from your own network that you use for your business computers. If you’re a bar/café or hotel that’s going to be handling large numbers of devices you really need to look at commercial routers.
For homes a higher spec router will give you better coverage and better quality of signal. It will add a few extras that could come in handy for some like a faster WiFi speed, control over device access, built in printer sharing and the ability to use a mobile 3G/4G USB dongle.
Key points for buying your own router:
- Fibre enabled: as the fibre network the expanded it’s worth while that your router will still be able to be used when your line is enabled.
- Wireless AC is the latest WiFi speed for the home and will future proof your router. If AC isn’t available or too expensive Wireless N will do.
Several websites will give you a list of routers to look for:
- Tom’s Guide: Best Wi-Fi Routers 2016
- PC Advisor: 10 best wireless routers 2016 UK
- Trusted Reviews: Best Router 2016
Even with a higher grade router you may still have dead spots in your home or you may have trouble getting a consistent signal to your set-top box in the living room. To solve this problem there are 3 options.
- Cable: You can get a cable run from the router to the device you want to connect. This can be a difficult option for most people as it normally leads to a cable being visible running along walls of your home or having to to put holes through walls and ceilings.
- Powerline Adapters: This is my recommended option. Powerline adapters use the electric wiring in your home to create a connection between your device and the router. Depending on what you want connected you can get a cable only set of plugs that would work well for a set-top box or smart TV or you can get a WiFi set that will create a new WiFi signal in the dead spot area. For a run down on the different adapters available here is a good article on PC Advisor:The 18 best Powerline adapters 2016
- Range Extender: This is a simple device that, as the name suggests, extends the WiFi signal already there. The plug device would normally be placed halfway between the router and the dead spot. It then creates a WiFi signal to cover the dead spot and connect back to the router. This device is cheaper that the powerline adapters but can give very mixed results.
To give your home the best coverage and least problems get yourself a higher spec router and a set of powerline adapters to cover those hard to reach spots or where you need a stable connection.