Wi-Fi Speed GuideUpdated 5 months ago
Discover further insights into Wi-Fi and the various elements within your home that can impact the speed of your wireless internet connection. It is worth noting that the speed can also be influenced by external factors, including networks both in New Zealand and abroad, environmental conditions, and the geographical proximity to the server you are connected to.
There are two ways to connect to the Internet:
Ethernet: To establish an internet connection, simply connect your computer to the router using an Ethernet cable. This connection ensures a stable and faster experience, though it requires you to have the cable plugged in whenever you want to go online.
Wifi: Unlike Ethernet, Wifi enables you to connect to the internet wirelessly, without the need for any physical cables. Data is transmitted between your device and the router using wireless technology, providing convenient internet access.
Modern routers often come equipped with two Wi-Fi bands: 2.4GHz and 5GHz. When you search for your Wi-Fi network on your device, you might come across two similarly named options.
The 2.4GHz band offers Wi-Fi coverage over a wider area, albeit with slower speeds. On the other hand, the 5GHz band delivers higher speeds but within a smaller coverage area. It's important to note that certain devices are only compatible with the 2.4GHz band.
Newer routers feature bandwidth control, automatically connecting your device to the appropriate Wi-Fi band based on your proximity to the router. However, if you are using a different type of router, you will need to manually select the most suitable band to establish a Wi-Fi connection.
For broader Wi-Fi coverage in multiple rooms of your home, opt for the 2.4GHz band. If you have a smaller, more open living space, the 5GHz band may offer a better Wi-Fi experience, provided your device supports it.
Another option to enhance Wi-Fi coverage and eliminate dead spots in your home is a mesh Wi-Fi network. A mesh network consists of multiple interconnected devices called nodes or access points that work together to create a seamless Wi-Fi network.
With a mesh Wi-Fi system, you can place multiple nodes throughout your home, strategically positioning them to ensure optimal coverage. These nodes communicate with each other to create a unified network, allowing devices to seamlessly transition between nodes without experiencing any drops in signal strength.
WiFi Interference and Obstacles
Interference can disrupt your WiFi network, and several factors within your home may contribute to this issue, including:
Physical barriers: Concrete or metal barriers like walls, floors, TVs, or aquariums are common culprits hindering the WiFi signal. These physical obstructions can significantly reduce or even block the WiFi signal from reaching your device.
Other devices in use: Some common household devices operate within the 2.4 GHz spectrum, which is the same frequency range used by many WiFi devices. Microwave ovens are often a source of interference, as well as other appliances such as cordless phones, refrigerators, and baby monitors. The signals emitted by these devices can interfere with your WiFi signal, leading to degraded performance.
Proximity to the Router & Active Devices
The strength of your Wi-Fi signal diminishes as you move further away from the router. In a spacious dwelling, certain areas may experience weaker Wi-Fi coverage with fewer signal bars or even dead spots where the signal cannot reach. If you have a device that is quite far away from your router, it can degrade the speed of your entire network.
In most households, there is a multitude of devices, including cell phones, laptops, and other smart devices, all connecting to the internet simultaneously through Wi-Fi. These smart devices can range from Wi-Fi-enabled TVs, security cameras, voice assistants, smart lights, plugs, to vacuum cleaners.
When a device accesses the internet, it typically utilizes a significant portion of the available bandwidth. However, when multiple devices are simultaneously connected and accessing the internet, the available bandwidth is distributed among them, resulting in shared usage. This means that the bandwidth is divided among the devices, potentially affecting the overall speed and performance of each device's internet connection.
Optimising Your Wi-Fi Speed
Router Placement: Ensure that your router is centrally located above the floor and away from objects that may cause interference. This will help maximize Wi-Fi coverage throughout your home.
Check your ethernet cables: verify that the Ethernet cable connecting your fiber optic box (ONT) to the router is Cat 5e or higher. Ethernet cables with a category lower than Cat 5e can limit the maximum speed to 100 Mbps or less. You can typically find the category printed on the cable itself.
Wired Connections for Stability: For a faster and more stable connection, consider connecting devices such as televisions and desktop computers directly to the router using an Ethernet cable. Remember to check if the cable is Cat 5e or better.
Extending Wi-Fi Coverage with Mesh Networks: To enhance your Wi-Fi coverage and address areas with weak signals, consider utilising a mesh Wi-Fi network. Mesh systems utilize multiple interconnected devices called nodes to create a seamless and expanded Wi-Fi coverage throughout your home. By strategically placing nodes, you can overcome coverage limitations and enjoy a reliable connection in every corner of your house.