There are a lot of things in the modern world that we take for granted. Do you know how your computer translates billions of 1s and 0s into the applications you use every day? How does your phone turn magical radio waves in the sky into fun games and Facebook likes? What on earth is a “Bitcoin?”
At some level, the very deep nuances probably don’t matter. If it works, it works, right? While that is true — you don’t need a physics degree just to live your life — it does help to have some idea what’s going on.
This thought process can specifically help when it comes to getting the most out of the connectivity in your home. There’s no need to get out the toolbox and dismantle the device to look under the hood. But just by getting to know your WiFi router a little bit, you will be able maximize the service you’re paying for.
1. WiFi Router Basics
Your WiFi router is what sends your internet connection throughout your home. It all starts and stops here. Without it, you wouldn’t be able to connect to the internet and watch your favorite shows or share those weekend photos of Fido at the park.
Nowadays, routers are pretty simple. You just plug them in to the wall and attach the ethernet cable. That’s about it. Now the WiFi router will transmit the signal you need to connect with any device.
One important thing to remember is to make sure the connection is secured. While it may seem like a hassle, protect the account with a password and don’t allow any unauthorized access. “It’s better to be safe than sorry” isn’t a friendly recommendation when it comes to cybersecurity. It’s a must!
2. WiFi Connection Speed
We all have that need — the need for speed. When it comes to a WiFi router, the faster the better. No, most of us don’t need some warp speed, space-age transfer rates just to waste time on YouTube and download a few files off the internet.
But you do want to make sure that you (a) know what you’re paying for and (b) are actually getting the speed you’re paying for. That speed will usually be based on price, and many providers offer different packages at different rates. Netflix recommends 5.0 mbps (megabytes per second) so that is a good starting point, but it’s usually best to get the quickest service you can afford (within reason).
Sometimes, however, customers do come to discover that they aren’t actually getting those speeds. While this generally isn’t some nefarious deceptive scheme (there are usually logistical reasons that speeds run a bit slow), you can use testing services like Ookla Speedtest to see how fast your connection actually is.
WiFi Connection Range
After speed, you want to understand distance. How far does a WiFi signal actually go? Well, that can depend on a lot of factors, primarily the quality of the router and other environmental considerations in the space itself.
In a practical sense, the goal is always to get the most range possible out your signal, and there are devices known as “WiFi range extenders” that can give you a boost if the connection seems to be lacking. This is especially helpful for large or multi-story homes that have some dead spots where you just can’t seem to ever get a consistent connection — or perhaps any signal at all.
So how do WiFi range extenders actually work? They effectively catch the waves emitted from the actual router and transmit that farther out so it can be picked up by nearby devices. Essentially, they are like a wireless version of a WiFi access point. And what you need to know is that they can be a lifesaver if you need a little boost.
Getting the Best Connection Possible
Unless it’s part of your job, nobody needs to have an advanced, in-depth knowledge of how their internet connection works. But, at a minimum, you should at least understand a few WiFi router basics. And to get the most out of your connection plan, you want to know what speed your paying for and how to extend the signal as far as possible throughout your home.
As they say, knowing is half the battle. Once you learn a few simple facts about how it all works and get to know a little bit about your WiFi connection, it will all be smooth sailing. Then, all that’s left to do is sit back, relax, and start surfing away to your heart’s content.