WiFi has become the universal gateway for unrestricted everyday connection. Can you imagine a world where you did not have wireless access to the Internet through your computers, smartphones and other devices? Typically, as consumers, we don’t think about the Internet unless it is not working. Then we think about it constantly! While we depend on and demand a quality connection, often we are not as informed as we could be about our Internet set-up. In this post, we are interviewing our very own Steve Starr to answer some of the underlying questions you may have about WiFi. Our hope is to make sure you have the right equipment and are getting the most out of your WiFi.

Q: What are the most important things that consumers and businesses should understand about WiFi?
As a customer, it’s best to be educated on what you are purchasing. First of all, you need a router and a modem to make your wireless connection work. A cable, DSL or fiber modem is the little magical box that provides access to the Internet. A router is a box that connects to your modem and routes the Internet signal between all of your wireless devices.

Another important element is knowing that a wireless router is only capable of handling a limited number of devices, generally ranging from 25-50. If there are more devices being supported than the router can handle, the speed of your connection will be reduced. Businesses that require a large number of employees to have a stable connection might consider investing in a wireless system with additional access points.

The distance between your device and the access point is also more important than you would think. Keep in mind that while you may have a full signal, your speed can be affected if you are further away from the source of Internet. WiFi-enabled devices are omnipresent and on a continual incline, so your investment will be worthwhile.

Q: Why is a quality wireless router important and how does someone know if they have a good one?
A: While it is tempting to look for the deals and steals when shopping, be mindful that when a router is cheap, it’s cheap for a reason. It’s worth spending the extra money to ensure you have the best quality router possible. After all, this is the device that is delivering the Internet to you.

If you want information and connection instantaneously, investing in a quality wireless router is the way to go. But be careful, bigger isn’t always better or faster. Look through website reviews of tests on wireless routers to see what’s working and what’s not. Talk to someone who has experience with installing WiFi networks so you can make an informed decision on a reliable router. WiFi drives many businesses today, so it’s worth spending the money on quality while knowing that you’re making a good investment.

The New York Times recently published an article about this very issue dealing with routers and WiFi. As they so plainly say, “If Your WiFi is Terrible, Check Your Router.”

Q: What should customers look for when choosing a router? Can they get one from DayStarr?
A: Some cheaper and older routers have slower components that can affect the speed at which information is sent. You can be connected to a router at 100 Mbps (Megabits per second), but the actual router can only process information at 25 Mbps. For this reason, it is hard to recommend what to look for as companies can easily advertise a capability of connecting at 100 Mbps when in reality, routers can’t handle it. With consistent updates on devices each year, routers from two years ago aren’t able to provide the speeds that devices can handle today. Look for a wireless router that has the power to endure these updates on technology and your speeds will be much faster, leaving you a happy customer.

DayStarr currently rents a Netgear R6100 to its customers at $10 a month. These are efficient for residential or small business use. We also sell more complex wireless network set-ups. These can range in cost depending on the size of the area that needs to be covered. We are happy to talk to anyone looking for more information.

Q: Why don’t tablets and cell phones always have the power to get the new, higher Internet speeds?
A: Tablets and smartphones are built much like computers. The components they have must process information before it’s shown to the end user. If the components in these devices are slow, then the information is processed slower. There are many inexpensive tablets that are built with older components. While they may have been purchased from the store brand new, they were likely built with technology that is a couple years old – ancient in technology years. If you buy a cheaper, older version of a tablet or cell phone, it is likely that they were not built to process the higher Internet speeds. Be sure to look into this before you make a purchase!

Q: Explain the relationship between today’s consumer and the Internet — why does the high use of tablets, phones and multiple computers impact Internet speeds?
In today’s world, we are more demanding of information and have a perpetual desire to be connected. If we want that constant connection, we must consider all of our devices when choosing a reliable router. The more devices connected to a network, the more the wireless router is sharing its resources. Having a wireless router that handles 100 Mbps shares this amount among all devices. If you have multiple people using different applications on numerous devices, then you can easily use up all the capabilities of the router. Investing in a router that can handle 1,000 Mbps (1 Gbps) would be much safer and cause less frustration.

Q: How can people get the most out of their current WiFi?
A: There are several things you can do to make sure your Internet is working as hard as it should be. Here are a few:

Q: How has WiFi progressed in the last several years?
Just 10 years ago, a wireless connection was simply an idea. We have come extremely far in the world of technology and wireless connections. As the number of WiFi enabled devices continues to grow, so does the importance of a dependable WiFi connection.

Q: Where is WiFi going in the next 2-5 years? What do consumers/businesses need to know?
Like all technology, WiFi is going to become bigger and faster. Most devices that are coming out are WiFi ready/enabled. The demand for higher WiFi speeds and better connectivity is continually growing. In the last few years, we have gained the ability to connect the refrigerator, washer, dryer and stove to the WiFi. There’s no way to know what’s next, but with a reliable wireless router, we can always be prepared.

What other questions do you have about your WiFi connection and router set-up? We are happy to help any way we can! Contact us today!

Published by Steve Starr
December 14th, 2015