Everything is connected to the internet today; it’s called the Internet of Things for a reason, right? The average American household has at least eight devices connected to the home wireless network.
Being so connected is great, but when you have that many devices under one roof working at the same time, it bogs down the Wi-Fi.
And a bogged-down network only means one thing: buffering. The last thing anyone wants to see is that status update.
Fortunately, there are some things you can do to increase internet speeds on your home’s wireless network.
You’ll want to make sure the internet service you have coming into your home is fast enough to support what you want to do.
Check how fast your existing connection is by visiting the Geek Squad broadband speed test page, which measures your connection in Megabits per second (Mbps). For standard streaming video, shoot for at least 3 Mbps. For HD-quality video, 5 to 10 Mbps is ideal. Compare what you’re actually getting with what your Internet package provides. Contact your Internet Service Provider (ISP) if you need to upgrade.
Once your Internet connection is sorted out, consider your router. A router is the device that broadcasts wireless Internet throughout your house. (Don’t confuse this with a cable or DSL modem, the device that is wired directly to the ISP connection. The router is connected to the modem.)
It’s not the flashiest of tech devices, but your router is a critical component of your home network. If you don’t have the latest and greatest, think about upgrading. Here are two things to get familiar with:
Know your alphabet
Letters describe the wireless standards the router supports (for example 802.11n or 802.11g). For years, Wireless G was the standard for most routers, but this standard has been largely replaced by the faster, more capable Wireless N. The newest though, is Wireless AC, which gets you the most compatibility for your various devices, even if they’re older and don’t support AC.
It’s all about the processor
Inside every router is a processor or CPU that acts like a traffic cop, processing incoming and outgoing data through the network firewall and then transmitting that data. The faster the processor, the less time that information spends inside your router. That means you’ll have overall faster network speeds. Newer routers (and higher end routers) have powerful processors that sort data packets quickly and efficiently.
A router that supports the latest wireless standard, and has a good processor, should easily handle all your existing devices, as well as any new connected tech you bring home in the future.