Have you ever been frustrated because of slow or non-existent WiFi connections? Is a particular place in your home alien to WiFi coverage? Are your WiFi speeds abominable when compared to your internet service provider’s WiFi speeds? Then you’ve come to the right place. Read on to find the solution to your problems.
The Root of Bad Home WiFi?
WiFi connections use the 2.4GHz or the 5GHz spectrum to provide a radio connection between your devices and the Access Point (AP). These radio signals are often blocked by walls and other objects that the radio has to “penetrate” to reach you. This can often be an issue in apartments, when there are a lot of walls close together. Just bought a 5GHz router, thinking that your WiFi issues would be solved? Think again. The walls of your house are going to absolutely destroy your 5GHz signal.
The WiFi Indicator
We’ve all seen this indicator in several shapes and formats. People believe that this indicator accurately depicts the strength of the WiFi that their devices receive. Well they can be wrong. If you are experiencing internet troubles inspite of having a full WiFi bar, you can check the strength of your WiFi signal in your setting and correlate it with the table shown below:
On Mac ➡️Hold down the Option Key and click on the WiFi indicator on the status bar. Read the RSSI value.
On mobile devices, install the app Wifi Analyzer for Android devices and Airport Utility App for iOS devices.
Preliminary Tests you can do to improve your WiFi
Check if you have a modern router
If you are using a B router, you’re using caveman technology. Switch to a a/b/g/n/ac router to get up your WiFi speeds.
Don’t Hide Your Router
Routers can be disgusting looking things and your first instinct is to hide it behind your television or in a box. Resist that urge as a wide open router, clear of obstructions and with antennas pointed upwards, will perform better. Make sure the router is relatively close to where you’ll be using the WiFi.
If your WiFi is having trouble reaching all ends of your house or large office, consider buying a range extender. Amazon’s best selling extender should do the trick for cheap. This probably won’t make your WiFi any faster, but at least you’ll have larger Internet access, eliminating dead zones
Have you already tried all of these options? It’s time to explore the Mesh Router system for home WiFi.
The Mesh Router System
Mesh routers are the latest technology upgrade for home Wi-Fi networks. Mesh networks have been used for years in large places where a secure network is critical, like military bases and businesses. (In such cases, the network is often isolated and not connected to the internet.) Now, residential wireless-internet users can optimize their home Wi-Fi with a form of mesh networking, too.
If you have a large home — at least 3,000 square feet — or one with an unusual layout, more than two stories or interior brick walls, you probably regularly encounter Wi-Fi dead zones, and your setup could be a good candidate for a mesh-router system.
The benefits of mesh routers
In addition to creating a strong, reliable Wi-Fi signal, mesh-router systems have a few other prominent benefits. Here are some of the biggest pros. Tomsguide.com explains it well.
1. Easy network management: One main feature that distinguishes mesh-router systems from traditional routers is the easy network access they provide. Many mesh-router systems are totally automated, allowing for easy management through a mobile app, even when you’re not at home. Many mesh-router apps let users quickly scan their speeds, cut off Wi-Fi access to certain networks, create guest networks, test the quality between the various connection points and even connect to smart home devices. Some high-end traditional routers have similar features, but you’ll usually have to be connected to the local network from a desktop web interface to turn them on.
2. Streamlined connections: With traditional routers, devices known as range extenders are often used to repeat the signal so Wi-Fi can be accessed from long distances. However, many extenders require you to create a separate network, with a separate name, for the range extender. This means you may have to switch Wi-Fi connections, sometimes manually, as you move around the house. A mesh-router system, on the other hand, doesn’t require constant reconnection, even as you move from room to room. You also won’t have to deal with as much lag, as the access points all broadcast the same signal, rather than having to route requests through multiple networks.
3. Tight security: Along with easy management, some residential mesh-router kits come with good security support. Thanks to the aforementioned easy network management, it’s not hard to keep your router devices safe — many automatically check for, and install, firmware updates. (Until recently, most routers had to be updated manually by the owner.) The Luma takes security a step further by screening out known malicious websites.
The disadvantages of mesh routers
High Cost: Mesh Router devices often cost INR 20,000 – INR 35000. A good traditional router usually costs in the ballpark of INR 7,000- INR 13,000, while range extenders run anywhere from INR 1,500 – $INR 6,000. That’s a big difference in price, even for the most basic mesh-router setup.
The Orbi Mesh Router System by Netgear
Personally, I’ve been using the Orbi Mesh Router system for a couple of months now and it has been working – no problems whatsoever. Before, I used to constantly restart my range extender with the hopes of upping the speeds. The WiFi speeds would indeed soar, but only for a short time. After that, it was back to bad WiFi.
- Dual-band, AC2200 mesh router with AC1200 satellite
- 4×4 5GHz band, 2×2 2GHz band, no additional backhaul band
- Quad-core CPU, 1.4GHz
- 1GB RAM, 4GB Flash memory
- WPA3 encryption
- Two-piece system covers up to 3,800 square feet
- Satellites come in three colors and include Google Assistant smart speaker functionality
- Satellites do not include Ethernet jacks
- System does not support Wi-Fi 6
Here is their webpage so you can find out how this system works. Netgear Orbi WiFi 6 (new version, very expensive)
Netgear Orbi RBK50 (old version, economic)
The WiFi consortium released WiFi 6 in 2019. And WiFi router companies have just started adopting the new standard with new routers. If you are in the market for a router in 2020, you must check out WiFi 6 routers. If you have the latest devices, released from approximately 2017, your devices can take advantage of WiFi 6. Check device compatibility before purchasing.
I hope this article addresses your WiFi troubles. You can contact me directly if you need any specific help. Feel free to reach out!