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Helpful hints on setting up a wireless connection at your home

Posted December 28, 2015
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Here are a few tips to help you enjoy a good, fast and reliable wireless connection, making sure your modem is set up for further reach either at your house or office.

By Nick Hughes, Client, Solution and Strategy Manager

wireless-featuredHave you ever wondered why the wireless modem you bought doesn’t reach that room at the very back of the house?  Or why the connection drops all the time? If so, please continue reading.

WHERE TO SET UP MY WIRELESS MODEM?

When installing your wireless modem you need to confirm where it’s being placed and consider key factors that can impact your connection. How far away it reaches, how many solid obstructions the signal goes through and how many other wireless modems are visible at your location are some examples of critical elements of choosing THE RIGHT place to set it up.

You may ask why I have referenced solid obstructions… Wireless signals are heavily impacted by solid walls, especially when trying to go through metal frames or roofs. The general rule is if you are able to install the wireless modem in the most central place in your house it will provide you the maximum coverage.

HOW TO CHOOSE A GOOD WIRELESS MODEM?

As you will find various options of modems, from really cheap to more pricey ones, the thought of spending $300 on an unknown piece of technology may seem quite daunting.

Let me help you out. Which modem to buy? There’s no right answer to this question, it all depends on your needs and where you are going to set it up. However, there are some points to consider that can make your life easier.

You can buy a standard wireless modem, which is 2.4GHZ. You will find that it has better penetration than 5GHZ, even though a 2.4GHZ  can still be impacted depending on location, size of the house/office and obstructions, as mentioned before. The ideal option though, and most common nowadays, is to buy a dual band modem which provides both 2.4GHZ and 5GHZ.

Sometimes, it is also worth spending a few extra dollars to have a better wireless modem.  The more expensive units are generally configured to produce a stronger wireless signal to ensure better coverage. For a house, which is not  extremely big, you will find wireless modems with prices that range from $80 to approximately $400. I have found that for $100 you can purchase an average modem, that would perform well but the reach won’t be as good. The slightly more expensive wireless modems tend to have greater signal power which increases the range.

So when choosing a modem, keep an eye if it is dual band (2.4GHZ and 5GHZ) and don’t forget to compare different price ranges and power sent to the antennas, that will make it easier to choose one within your budget and requirements.

OK, BOUGHT IT. NOW HOW IS THE BEST WAY TO CONFIGURE IT?

When configuring your WiFi modem, a simple tweak, like changing the wireless channel, can also provide benefits as it will avoid receiving interference from your neighbours.  I generally use the wireless channels 1, 6 and 11 for 2.4GHZ modems.  I have generally found most wireless modems use channel 6.

Summarising, the 2.4GHZ frequency  can sometimes be more congested and doesn’t always have the ability to transmit data as fast as the 5GHZ frequency. However 5GHZ has a much lower reach and penetration through solid objects. I have found 5GHZ is generally best used for devices which have the closest proximity to the wireless modem due to the poor penetration through solid walls. That’s why I recommend getting a dual band modem if you want options and the ability to separate devices to different frequencies.

GIVE YOUR MODEM’S SIGNAL A BOOST

If you still find that you don’t have enough coverage, you can also look at purchasing larger antennas which will boost the signal further.  9DB antennas will set you back for approximately $20 per antenna.  I personally have a wireless modem with larger antennas sitting at the front of my house within a metal cabinet.  Without the larger antennas I would only get 1 bar signal at the other end of my house, but once the new antennas were installed I now get full bars and full speed.





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By Nick Hughes, Client, Solution and Strategy Manager

Result-driven professional with over 10 years’ experience in the IT industry specialising in process optimisation, strategic alignment and driving continual improvement.

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