Reliable home wifi is quickly becoming an essential during this advent of our ever-advancing digital age. Much like common utilities and television of the past, a home without wifi just feels like it’s missing something. Being able to count on a wireless internet connection throughout your home has become akin to having electricity and running water. It just feels wrong if you flick a switch and the room isn’t instantly lit up, or if you turn your shower on and no water streams out.
Unfortunately, many of us suffer from living spaces where the reliability of our home wifi comes and goes as we traverse from room to room. And it’s the worst! You probably know what it’s like, having only certain rooms in your house where you can stream reliably or play games. However, what you may not know is exactly why your wifi coverage is having issues.
The size of your home
Simply put, the bigger the home, the more wifi coverage you’ll need. Basic routers, including the one you rent from your Internet Service Provider (ISP), can only effectively transmit a wifi signal so far. The farther you get from the source of your wifi signal, the weaker the signal, and typically the wifi speed, becomes. This can be a particularly common issue in larger homes.
Household decorations and furniture
Objects such as mirrors, televisions, appliances or anything large made primarily of metal (i.e. decorative furniture, filing cabinets, even fish tanks!) have the potential to impair your network’s signal strength. Moving any problematic obstructions (if possible) or your router away from them may rid your living space of the dead zone.
Your home or apartment’s building materials
As you might imagine, thicker interior walls mean wifi signals have a harder time traveling throughout a living space. This includes thick concrete, brick, and even metal supports. Metal materials within walls act as dampeners that hinder a router’s ability to effectively distribute a wifi signal. This is why wifi systems such as Milo are a great solution as they act as multiple points of wifi distribution to combat the effects of non-friendly wifi walls.
Location of your router
People are often handcuffed to having their router located wherever the internet-connected wires come into their home. In many situations, this location being the hub of a home’s wifi signal is suboptimal and actually hinders your ability to make full use of your internet bandwidth. This is because the further a connected device is from the internet source, in this case the router, the weaker the signal becomes.
Your router itself (and not regularly restarting it)
If you’re still using that dinosaur router from the early 2000s, it’s probably time for an upgrade. Outfitting your home with a smarter and more advanced router could be the solution to your wifi woes, especially if your existing router is a very old model with limited capabilities.
Another thing to keep in mind is to regularly reboot your router. Routers that are asked to complete many requests, such as handing out multiple IP addresses to different devices and handling large or consistent downloads, can end up slowing down because of the heavy workload. You can think of rebooting your router as basically refreshing it and clearing any memory or stalled tasks. You can learn how to properly do so here.
Competing wifi signals
With at-home internet now more a necessity than a luxury, it’s easy to understand why everyone has a wifi network. However, you might not know that in living spaces like apartment buildings, too many broadcasting networks can interfere with each other and impact wifi quality. This is because routers broadcast across two wireless channel bands, 2.4 and 5 GHz, and when one is too crowded it acts like a highway packed with cars.
The good news is you can switch channels within your router’s settings to utilize the lesser crowded of the two! Downloading an application like NetSpot (works for Windows 7, 8, and 10 and for Mac OS X 10.10 and higher) will help you figure out which wireless channel has less traffic.
People you live with
Whether it be family, friends, or just roommates, you share more than you might think when it comes to people you live with. Living space, water, electricity, and internet are all some common things you might think of. However, internet is shared in a more in-depth way than you might think.
You can imagine internet bandwidth working like your home’s hot water supply. If more than one person is taking a hot shower, the temperature of the water isn’t going to stay hot for very long. So, the more people using your wifi connection, the slower it will become. This is because you pay your Internet Service Provider (ISP) for an allocated amount of bandwidth, and if a person (or more than one) is a heavy internet user, it will diminish the available bandwidth for other users. In other words, they're stealing your speed! Heavy internet usage typically includes, but isn't limited to, streaming Netflix and other video services, gaming, and downloading large files or updates.
Been searching for reliable wireless internet coverage all throughout your home? The solution is Milo -- an affordable hybrid mesh network wifi system that brings you wifi wherever you need it, without breaking the bank.