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Wireless Wizardry: How to get the most out of your WiFi Router

Category: Hardware, NBN Co, Software/  Posted On 06/12/2018

Wireless routers are lifesavers. You can connect your devices without a cable, and access the net from any room in your house. Well, almost any room. If you’ve ever wrestled with an Internet dead spot in the middle of your own bedroom, this guide to wireless networking is for you.

Location, Location, Location

All routers benefit from elevation and a good line of sight. Your wireless router generates a radio wave to provide you with a wireless signal, so it’s at its best when it has open spaces to work with.

The kind of objects that would stop your wireless signal include:

  1. Solid walls and doors
  2. Large bodies of water – like fish tanks
  3. Ceilings and roofs

If you can put the router up high and out in the open, that’s great, because its the best place for a good signal. Alternatively, you can mount the router on the wall so that it’s not in the way, but still offers good coverage.

Channel Surfing

If you have a dual-band router, you can connect your devices to one of two channels (“2.4 GHz” and “5 GHz”).  All of the recent models of wireless routers sold by SkyMesh have this feature.

But what do those two channels really do? The answer is that they are both WiFi channels, but they have slightly different uses.

The 5 GHz channel has a shorter range, but it offers a faster wireless network speed to devices within in that range. The 5GHz channel does not pass very well through obstacles, which is why its so important to have that elevation and line of sight.

The 2.4 GHz channel is a longer range channel. It’s still best if its up high, but the signal is a more able to pass through obstacles.

Interference

Because wireless signals have particular frequencies, its possible for multiple signals in the same place to interfere with each other. Your wireless router should not be placed near other wireless routers, your microwave, or a wireless dongle.

Passwords

Your wireless router can support multiple devices, but you don’t necessarily want to share with everyone in your neighbourhood. Make sure your wireless router uses a secured network connection, and keep your password safe and secure.

Check out our earlier blog posts for a guide to password strength.

Control Access

If you leave all of your devices connected to your router, they can use data without your knowledge. Your devices might start downloading a hefty software update just as you’re starting to watch Netflix on the TV. This uses up your data, but it will also mean that your wireless router is sharing the speed of your service among multiple devices.

Signal Boost

There are two ways you can boost your signal:

  1. You can buy a WiFi Range Extender. You’ll still want to make sure the Extender has a good line of sight to the router. The Extender still needs to be in the range of your wireless router so that it can share your WiFi network with other devices in your home.
  2. If you’re handy with scissors and tape and don’t mind the aesthetic, you can also create your own WiFi Range Extender using a can of coke. Be sure to drink the coke first.
Keep your router updated

If your router is a few months old, the manufacturer of that router may have released updated firmware. Updating your firmware can improve the speed of your router, so it’s a good idea to stay up to date. If your router is a few years old, it will most likely be out of date. You can purchase a new router from your local electronics store, or from SkyMesh.

SkyMesh routers come with a three-year warranty, excellent WiFi coverage and full technical support from SkyMesh. To discuss WiFi router options, call our friendly sales team on 1300 759 637.

Written by Brendan

Brendan joined the SkyMesh Support team in 2016. Brendan joined the marketing team in 2017 and now helps out with our knowledge base guides and social media channels.