Home Wi-Fi’s have taken a huge uptick in use over the past 12 months. During the pandemic, nearly everyone started working and going to school from home, ordering online instead of going out, and replying on video as a substitute for online meetings.
All this extra bandwidth demand left many families with frustrating lags that caused buffering of their latest Netflix binge, frozen work video calls, and other W-Fi problems.
Here are a few statistics from Mid-March 2020, slightly after the pandemic first began that illustrate how much more online use it has caused:
- 1,087% increase in education app downloads between March 2-16, 2020
- 42% of adults used the internet to virtually socialize with friends and family
- 43% of people watched more streaming entertainment
- 160% increase in VPN usage between March 8-22, 2020
We’ve got tips on two ways you can improve your home Wi-Fi speed and reliability and reduce your whole family’s connection-related stress.
Choose the Best Wi-Fi Hardware for Your Needs
There are a few different things that can cause an older router to have bandwidth problems. These include:
- Inability to handle bandwidth allocation to multiple devices well
- Inefficient handling of data packages and device communications
- Limited range that causes weak signal and dead zones
- One point of failure – if the router goes down, everyone is offline
Today’s wireless systems were designed with those issues in mind and have more sophisticated technology to handle modern bandwidth demands.
When choosing the right Wi-Fi hardware for your family, there are two main options to consider:
- New Wi-Fi 6 Router
- Wi-Fi Mesh System
We’ll go through each below.
Wi-Fi 6 Router
Think all routers are created equal? Not by a long shot, especially if you have an older Wi-Fi 5 router (802.11ac).
In 2019, a brand-new wireless update came out called Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax). This represents a major update in how wireless transmission is handled and also includes a big upgrade in security.
1. Faster Connections
Testing by PC Magazine found Wi-Fi 6 routers to be as much as 71% faster than Wi-Fi 5. This is done through things like better packet handling and the ability to communicate in both directions with more than one device at a time.
If you think of your Wi-Fi connection as needing to deliver packages (data packets), Wi-Fi 6 is like buying a bigger delivery truck, allowing more packages to be delivered in a single trip.
2. Improved Security
Wi-Fi 6 is updated with a new security standard called WPA3. This improves connection encryption, so even users on a free-public Wi-Fi have protection from others trying to spy on their traffic on the same network.
It also includes a protection against dictionary attacks, which is when a hacker downloads a cryptographic key and then uses software to try multiple passwords in minutes trying to crack the code.
3. Can Handle More Devices
Wi-Fi 6 was designed to handle many more devices simultaneously than its predecessor. Bringing the router up to speed with today’s complicated bandwidth demands that can include computers, smartphones, tablets, smart speakers, and other IoT devices on the same network.
Wi-Fi Mesh System
A mesh Wi-Fi system can also use Wi-Fi 6, but instead of having a single router connected to your modem, you have that router, plus multiple satellite units (called “nodes”) that can be used throughout your house.
Just like its name, a mesh network bounces signals throughout each node and the modem-connected unit to cover your home with a strong “mesh” of internet connectivity.
Here are some of the benefits of having a mesh network.
1. Strong Signal Everywhere
If you have any weak or deal signal zones in your house, all you have to do is add a node there and it automatically strengthens your internet signal to the area and increases its reach.
Because nodes connect between each other, you also have multiple Wi-Fi connection points, not just one that emanates from a single router.
2. No Single Point of Failure
If one of the nodes goes down for some reason, everyone isn’t automatically cut off from the internet. Instead, their connections are just transferred to another node.
The same thing happens if one node gets overcrowded, devices are moved to one with less traffic to keep a strong and reliable signal flowing.
3. You Can Easily Expand Your Wi-Fi
Do you wish you had Wi-Fi in your garage or out on your backyard patio? Using a mesh network gives you pretty much unlimited capability to expand your Wi-Fi reach, without needing to sign up for another internet plan.
Get Help Choosing & Optimizing Your Network Device
Carl’s Computer Care can help you choose the best wireless option for your family for a strong, fast, secure, and reliable internet.
Contact us today to schedule a consultation! Call 225-315-3498 or reach us online.