Gone are the days that Wi-Fi only needed to support one computer for email.  Nowadays the demands on Wi-Fi are extensive; multiple laptops, tablets, cell phones, printers, gaming consoles, smart TV’s, even possibly your refrigerator.  In addition to the actual devices, we have VoIP streaming (Vonage), video streaming (such as Netflix) and even services such as Pandora.  And it’s not unusual to have every one of these devices online at the same time. 

 With the increasingly availability of wireless networks we need to add in the congestion factor.  The more wireless routers that exist the more congested the airwaves become.  A great analogy is a party getting started.  Only you and one guest are there talking.  No problem.  As more and more guests arrive, it’s going to get more difficult having a conversation.  Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as unpacking the wireless router, hooking it up and getting connected.  Is your new wireless setup at home experiencing delays?  Is it “choppy”?  Just not working as well as you thought?

There are a number of things we need to keep in mind when buying a wireless router.  Most of the original (and cheaper) routers are “single-band”.  To understand this, we need to learn how a wireless router works.

Frequencies

Wireless Routers work on a series of frequencies.  Single-band wireless routers operate on the 2.4GHz range (that’s the B/G you see on the box).  There are only 11 frequencies that these routers are allowed to operate on under the 2.4GHz spectrum.  And they’re only given 100Mhz spread.  You’ve already figured out the problem here.  Most of these frequencies overlap.   Which is why we want our wireless routers on either Channel 1, 6 or 11.  These are the non-overlapping frequencies.  By default, most wireless routers operate on Channel 6.  However, if you’re in an apartment complex or live close to others, usually ALL the wireless routers on that same channel.  We recommend changing your wireless router to a non-busy channel. 

A dual-band wireless router operates on the 2.4GHz and 5GHz range.  (That’s the N you see in the box).  5Ghz doesn’t travel as far (short wave length) but is able to “hold” more data.  “N” wireless routers are less prone to congestion as there are less devices on those same frequencies.  And since they don’t travel has far, there’s less concern for congestion.

Microwaves also cause interference because they operate on the 2.4Ghz range. 

Placement

You also need consider the proper placement.  If the router is placed on the one side of the kitchen and you’re on the other side, guaranteed you’ll have reception issues.   All that stainless steel and those large appliances will only cause the frequencies to scatter.   

Directing “IP” Traffic

With all the myriad devise sharing your internet connection (especially the ones that stream a video service such as Hulu or Netflix), you need to make sure your wireless routers processor can handle all the requests.  Again, a cheap router is like having a 110-year-old person direct traffic at 6 lane highway intersection after Super Bowl XXXIVXXI gets out.  He just can’t keep up.  You need a higher end processor in that wireless router. 

The solution?

Call or stop into the Geeks at Work / Computer Tamers.  Let us help you decide and better yet, let us do the worrying and help you install and setup your wireless network for you; the correct way!

Geeks at Work / Computer Tamers – 828-262-3359; located at 178 Southgate Drive, next door to Walmart!