We’ve all been there… You get upgraded broadband from your new ISP promising amazing new speeds and connectivity to make your life easier. In fact, what you end up doing is IT 101…. “Can you plug it out , leave it off for 30 seconds and plug it back in”. It’s frustrating but……It works! The reasons for this are down to a couple of factors but the primary reason for this is that in order for the ISP (internet Service Provider) go give you this great new Wi-Fi box for free (or at a reduction), they must get into bed with a provider. Almost everything will come down to price, so what you end up with is a unit barely fit for purpose with very low memory, low tolerance for heat / cold etc.
Most of these units that include Wi-Fi are usually, let’s face it, Awful! Again, the reason for this is generally down to the manufacturer coming in at a price point to keep the ISP happy.
Wi-Fi: The solution?
Well, you’re probably not going to like it but the fact is that if you disable the Wi-Fi and install a dedicated Access Point (not a router) instead, most of your problems with WI-Fi will disappear. This can only be said for well-known brands. The cheaper units still tend to give some problems and in my experience, this includes but is not limited to Netgear, TP-Link, Tenda, and Linksys. Too many to mention but they have been the most problematic. Also, there are varying levels of all of these units which tends to be reflected in the price.
- Use an app to check the “Wireless space” in your locality. There are loads of WiFi analyzers available for Apple, Android, and Windows mobile. The channels that have the least amount of overlap on 2.4Ghz are Channels 1, 6 and 11. Most routers will be set to auto and dynamically change depending on interference but set a channel that is relatively clear will help.
- Put the router in a central location. I understand that this is not always a possibility because of many reasons such as; the router is also connected to the phone, the installer wouldn’t go further than your front window etc. But if you can move it somewhere that is more central (to your needs and not the location). There is no point in putting the router on the 2nd floor when 90% of your time is spent in the sitting room
- Move to 5Ghz. The 5Ghz band is far better in terms of speed and more tolerant to interference. The problem is you will need a device manufactured after around 2014 is you want to be able to use it.
- Buy a Ubiquiti UAP AC. If you are not up to scratch, there are plenty of tutorials on how to set this gear up. You will need SOME level of technical ability but your ten-year-old nephew is more than qualified to get you up and running. These can run on both 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz simultaneously so you can get really fast Wi-Fi on your 5Ghz enabled devices while still being able to use your older devices on 2.4Ghz.