Home is where your phone auto-connects!
According to some of the latest statistics, about 6.92 billion people have access to a smartphone. Now, everyone with a smartphone has a chance to connect to the internet, and the majority of people prefer Wi-Fi as the way to do so.
This is because Wi-Fi (unlike mobile data) has unlimited internet, and the signal is usually significantly stronger. Now, while you can’t find Wi-Fi everywhere, you can secure a reliable connection in your own home. Here’s how you can make this happen.
- How much internet are you using?
The first thing you need to do is set some basic parameters right. For instance, if you’re just browsing and handling emails, you only need 1-5 Mbps per device. This part “per device” is incredibly important since if you have four residents and a visitor, you may need a 25 Mbps connection just for this most basic of functions.
On the other hand, if you’re streaming HD videos, you will need 5-10 Mbps per device. Online gaming and streaming are the most demanding; they take anywhere between 10 Mbps and 25 Mbps.
If you’re working from home, you’ll probably engage in a lot of video conferences, which is an additional 2-8 Mbps (depending on the quality of your camera).
Now, keep in mind that it’s a lot safer to assume the highest internet usage than to hope that it will be the lowest. In other words, if you have four gamers in the house, start by assuming that they’ll use 25 Mbps at the same time. Your broadband needs to be able to withstand this type of peak.
Still, with the expansion of IoT and smart technologies, this is becoming more important than ever.
- Determine your home network requirements
First thing first, how much internet do you need?
You need to consider a few things here; the most important one is the number of residents. A household of four people should go for at least 100 Mbps. Sure, some guides suggest that even 25 Mbps may be enough; however, these updates are mostly outdated and shouldn’t be taken seriously.
Just remember that the number of permanent residents may not be all that matters. Your family members will bring over guests, and they will get access to your Wi-Fi. If you have teens, sleepovers without Wi-Fi are no longer acceptable. In other words, just get 100 Mbps just to be safe.
Another thing you need to take into consideration is what this Wi-Fi will be used for. Namely, even smaller broadband will do if you just like to scroll on Instagram, occasionally hopping to argue on X (formerly Twitter) or Reddit. If, on the other hand, you’re a podcast enthusiast, a mobile Netflix enjoyer, or a serial YouTube essay watcher, you need something faster. This is especially the case if you prefer to watch videos in original quality – like 1080p or 1440p. In 2023, however, even 4K streaming is nothing unusual.
Most importantly, if you have a smart home, getting the right network is essential for the functioning of your household. In this scenario, you must look for the right smart home Wi-Fi.
- Pick the right router
The first technical decision you’ll have to make is the type of router that you want to use. There are many different options, but the most common are:
- Single-band routers: These are the oldest, most basic, and the most affordable. Naturally, they provide a weaker service than other entries on this list. The frequency band here is usually 2.4GHz.
- Dual-band routers: These have two frequency bands and work on 2.4GHz and 5GHz. This gives you a lot more flexibility since you get to choose the type of band that you want to work with.
- Tri-band routers: These routers have one 2.4 GHz band and two 5 GHz bands. These routers are amazing for homes with more devices since they have more bands to distribute. They also offer a superior performance based on this distribution.
- Wireless AC: These are standard 802.11ac routers, which perform better than some older routers and are available in both dual-band and tri-band configurations.
- Wireless AX: These routers are incredible compared to older devices, but you must check whether your devices are Wi-Fi 6 compatible. If they are, you’ll enjoy their performance’s full scope.
You don’t have to become a technician to learn how to use these. You can usually ask for a suggestion from your provider after you describe your needs and situation in detail. Still, it’s good to know a technical term or two. It helps you understand the way this vital household function works.
- Extend your network
If you already have Wi-Fi, you should go around the place and check if you have dead zones. More importantly, check where the signal starts dropping off. To fix the problem, consider getting additional equipment, like a Wi-Fi signal amplifier or extender.
These Wi-Fi amplifiers work simply – they take the signal from your primary router and rebroadcast it. The connection strength remains the same, but the reach (which is usually the problem) will remain the same.
This is also a great way to eliminate dead zones and expand your potential working area. For instance, what if you’re a remote worker who wants to take their laptop to the backyard or the balcony but can’t take it that far without losing Wi-Fi? Well, you can easily solve this by extending the network.
Increasing coverage is also great for harmony within your home. After all, no one wants to be too far from the router. This way, you can create several hotspots and solve this issue for good.
Ultimately, start by assessing your Wi-Fi needs (by the number of devices) and plan for future growth (bigger media formats, more devices, etc.). Then, pick the right router and set it up in the best (ideally central) location. Pick an amplifier or two if your home is too big or has dead zones. The majority of the work will be set up by your internet provider (probably in just a couple of minutes), and the bulk of your work is to make the right decision.