Optimise your wireless network

We have had hundreds of calls this year from people who are at their wits end dealing with snail paced Internet browsing, buffering media content and lack of wireless signal in critical areas of their home. In Singapore, there are a number of factors that can result in slow speeds and Wi-Fi black spots and slow speeds. We’ll explain some causes and share a few tricks of the trade to help optimise your home wireless network.

Causes of low signal
In Singapore, Wi-Fi is particularly troublesome due to the heavy steel/concrete construction of buildings. This is because radio waves do not penetrate such heavily reinforced walls. They also do not bend well around corners and so further problems are encountered in unusually shaped apartments.
In addition, the high population density in Singapore also contributes to wireless congestion resulting in radio interference. It is not uncommon to pick up the signal of 40 other wireless networks from within a condo.
Another possible reason for low or zero signal strength is that your computer is too far from the wireless access point. This is very common in large houses, particularly where the access point is usually in the basement.

How to optimise your home network
So, we have discussed possible reasons why your Internet experience may be pretty poor, what can you do to improve it? We use a number of different
Techniques and equipment, some of them are very simple (which you can have a go at trying) and others are more complex and you may need us to help.

1. Check your wireless router and access point is working properly
First things first, make sure the router or access point is turned on and that the wireless signal light is illuminated. Try resetting the router/access point by turning it off, waiting at least 10 seconds, and then turning it back on. If it is an old router, it will most likely be using an old wireless standard. Consider upgrading it to one that uses Wireless N (802.11n) or Wireless AC (802.11ac). These technologies will greatly increase the range and speed of a formerly 802.11g or 802.11b network.

2. Do an Internet speed test
What speed of broadband should you be getting? The local providers have a vast selection of different packages ranging from 1MB to 300MB. Find out if you are getting your purchased download speed by plugging your computer directly into the first router and doing a speed test. You ideally need 50MB and above of download speed for smooth internet browsing, the more the better. It is worth remembering that you won’t necessarily get the download speeds that are advertised so check the small print of your contract (it is usually 60% and above). If the speeds you are getting are below what you are paying for, give your provider a call to file a complaint. If you have the option to upgrade to fibre (i.e. you have an Open Net termination point in your house or fibre in close proximity), we strongly recommend doing so as this should ensure a superior Internet experience.

3. Move your router/ access point
In order to achieve “wireless Feng Shui”, the physical location of your router is important as you need to allow your wireless signal to flow effortlessly throughout your home, dancing harmoniously with all of the other noise and interference that may be going on. This means positioning your router centrally. Ensure it is placed away from solid walls that may shield its ability to radiate freely in the direction where coverage is required. Also ensure it is away from microwaves, cordless phones or any other device that can interfere with the signal.

4. Install wireless repeaters
If you have wireless black spots and would like good coverage throughout your home, consider placing wireless repeaters in strategic locations. A repeater will pick up your wireless network signal retransmit it from that area. For example, by placing such a device on the stairs between floors, it may be possible to “repeat” the wireless signal and provide a strong signal to multiple floors of a house

5. Install wireless access points
You can try adding additional wireless access points (APs) to your network. The traditional and generally more reliable way is to buy access points and run ethernet (LAN) cables from your router to each additional AP. If you don’t already have Ethernet LAN/wiring around the property, you can try utilising your existing electrical outlets. Plug in HomePlugs into the electrical outlet and connect one end to the router to bridge your network over the power supply.

As you can see, wireless optimisation isn’t an exact science; there is no one universal solution as there are so many variables. What is good though is that generally, there are solutions; you shouldn’t have to put up with poor functioning wi-fi. You may just need to make simple adaptions or it may be more complex using a combination of methods. If you need help, Tekkie Help can come in and analyse your wireless environment and devise a plan to achieve fast running and seamless wireless throughout your home.

If you would like us to come and enhance your home or office wireless network, please get in touch on 81138682 and we can arrange for a network specialist to come to the rescue!

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