In today’s online world, unstable Wi-Fi can become a frustrating experience, according to TP-Link, one of the world’s largest computer networking product maker. Unfortunately, not many know what to do to when it comes to improving their home Wi-Fi experience, let alone the functions of the Wi-Fi router itself.
Luckily, there are some simple solutions available to help you get the most out of your Wi-Fi connection.
Here’s 5 best ways to enhance your home Wi-Fi experience, suggested by TP-Link.
1. Upgrade to a TP-Link AC-Standard Router
AC, the most recent standard for routers, incorporates some highly effective new technologies. If you’re still using a router based on a standard preceding AC, such as N, you’re missing out on a faster, more stable, and much more efficient connection.
Why AC is better than your N-standard router:
- Faster speed
AC has a maximum speed of 1.3 Gbps compared to just 0.45 Gbps of the previous N standard. Though it should be noted that these are theoretical maximums and are unlikely to ever be achieved in anything but lab conditions, the fact remains — AC routers are faster.
- More data
Routers use a method called QAM (Quadrature Amplitude Modulation) to encode data on to the signals to and from your router. AC uses 256 QAM, a major contrast to the 64 QAM or less that is used in older standards. Simply put, 256 QAM can encode larger amounts of data onto the same signal than 64 QAM. More data means more efficient connections at faster speeds.
- AC Dual Band WiFi: 5 GHz & 2.4 GHz
AC routers come with an additional band transmission 5 GHz which means much less signal interference for neighboring Wi-Fi. Combined with beamforming, this improvement is profound and allows for multiple streams at fiber optic broadband speeds, all over your home. Moreover, dual-band AC routers come with both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz anyway, making them extremely flexible.
With possibly the coolest sounding name, beamforming is a technique that uses multiple antennas to detect where connected devices are and boost the signal in their direction. What this means is that your devices get the full attention of your Wi-Fi, instead of the router sending an equal signal outward in all directions. Beamforming has been around for a while, but it was not standardized until AC. As a result, while not every AC router supports beamforming, it is becoming increasingly common.
In short, AC standard routers are simply better, and if you aren’t already using one, you really should go out and buy one now. What’s more, AC routers are backwards compatible, so they will work with any older devices you might be using. Plus, you won’t need to pay a massive price — you can find high-quality TP-Link AC routers for under RM500.
2. Get a USB WiFi Adapter for your Old PC
If your PC does not have built-in Wi-Fi connectivity and is based on a lower standard of Wi-Fi such as N, then you’re missing out on the whole point of Wi-Fi. Not to worry! This is easily solved with a Wi-Fi adapter, a small device that simply plugs into your device’s USB port. This is allowing you to freely move around your home without the need to be physically attached to your network device through cumbersome ethernet cables.
Being physically attached to your network is more than just an inconvenience. If you can’t move with it, you quite simply aren’t getting the most out of your laptop. For PCs, having to be physically near your network device can also prove difficult, resulting in the need to run unsightly cables throughout your home.
Purchasing a Wi-Fi adapter eliminates all these problems without having to install any new hardware or spending lots of money upgrading your computer to a new model. Wi-Fi adapters are cheap, simple to use, and can be used on multiple devices, and the best part is that many are so tiny that they’re barely noticeable!
There are numerous TP-Link adapters available on the market with a range of different prices, speeds, and sizes.
3. Move your router to a more optimal location
You may have found that some areas of your home can’t be reached by even the best router’s Wi-Fi signal. One way to address these “dead zones” is by finding a better location for your router. Metal objects, power cables, and some household electronics are known to interfere with Wi-Fi signals, so you’ll want to keep your router away from them if possible. This means that the kitchen or any room with a mirror is probably not the best place for your router.
Another quick fix is moving your router to a higher position. Some routers broadcast their signals downward, so if you place your router on the floor, your connection quality may suffer.
Finally, if you’re keeping your router tucked away in a cabinet or closet, your Wi-Fi signal can be slowed down or absorbed by the surrounding materials, never reaching devices. Moving your router to a more central, open area allows the signal to travel more freely. Many people prefer to hide their router because it’s simply not nice to look at, but this doesn’t have to be a concern now that many routers feature sleeker, more understated designs.
4. Extend coverage by setting up a Powerline Network
Homes with dense walls or multiple floors might have dead zones that can’t be eradicated no matter how much you experiment with the router’s location. This is where powerline adapters, also called homeplugs, come in.
A powerline network connects to your home’s electrical wiring and uses it to transmit data, allowing you to bring a high-speed connection to anywhere you have an electrical outlet. As electrical wiring generally covers every room in a home, it’s an immensely valuable resource for extending your network range.
Setting up a powerline network is as simple as plugging at least two powerline adapters into electrical outlets and connecting them to your router and devices with Ethernet cables. The adapters then detect each other automatically (or, on some models, after you instruct them to), and instantly from a network.
Powerline networks are excellent solutions for most homes because they maintain consistent speed, stability, and security wherever they are installed.
5. Use a Wifi Range Extender
Powerline networks are great for expanding your home network range without compromising speed, but the price tag can be off-putting. If you’re looking to save money, range extenders may be just what you need.
Range extenders are small desktop or outlet-based units that do exactly what they sound like they do — extend the range of your Wi-Fi signal. They receive your router’s signal and then re-broadcast it wherever they are placed, effectively bringing dead zones to life.
Range extenders can be limited by partitioning or dense objects that might block the Wi-Fi signal. If your house fits this description, you’re better off taking the powerline route. In addition, because a range extender uses half of its internal antenna for receiving the router’s signal, network performance is somewhat weaker than that of a powerline network. If you do activities like online gaming or HD video streaming, consider a powerline instead.
However, for less bandwidth-intensive everyday tasks, such as web browsing or checking social media, a range extender does the trick at a fraction of the cost.
If you’re interested in more ways you can enhance your connection, please visit TP-Link Malaysia’s website, or feel free to leave a comment on TP-Link Facebook page.