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Smart homes thrive on a secure wi-fi connection for obvious reasons. Speed matters for all sorts of reasons, but it?s often dictated by the quality and speed of the signal that enters your home. For the devices already in your home that don?t benefit from wired connections, your internal signal is of immense importance.
If you find your smart devices losing connection or taking time to respond, it may be time for a couple of tweaks. Fortunately, you don?t need to be overly technical, and anything you need to do that?s out of the ordinary can be well worth it for when you need that extra boost in the future.
1. Check Your Wi-Fi Band
Wi-Fi is an all-encompassing term for the invisible internet connection throughout your home, but there is more to it than that. Wi-Fi is available across several different bands. If you?ve researched smart devices, routers or anything else that works on your home network, you?ve undoubtedly seen different Wi-Fi types mentioned. Ideally, most of your devices will connect to your router on the 5GHz spectrum. Older devices, and those that the manufacturers have opted to limit, will connect on the 2.4GHz frequency.
As the older frequency, 2.4GHz is typically busier. With more devices connecting, there?s more wi-fi traffic but that?s not the only consideration. You also need to think about other electronics causing interference. Bluetooth connections and microwaves can get in the way of this frequency. It is, therefore, an excellent habit to get into to connect on the 5GHz band whenever you add a new device into your smart home.
2. Change the Channel
The nature of wireless signals means that you?re not only competing with different devices and signals in your home, but also the activities of others. Fortunately, not many people take the time to adjust channels on their router so, unless you live in Silicon Valley or college accommodation for a computer science course, this can make a massive difference.
To speed up your smart home with this tip, log into the router. If you have 2.4GHz devices, you?ll need to keep an eye on channels 1, 6 and 11. They are the most commonly used as they don?t overlap with anything else.
One thing your router won?t tell you is how busy a channel is. Wifi Analyzer works on Android phones, while Windows users can try WiFiInfoView. If you?re on a Mac, you can check channels without any additional software.
Before you go into all that effort, think about how long you?ve had your router. If it came out more recently than 2018 and didn?t come bundled with your internet package, it may well automatically select channels based on which is least busy.
3. Fill Out Blackspots
Your home may not lend itself to full coverage, especially if your router isn?t particularly central. All the technical modifications in the world can?t overcome the limitations of your signal. You could switch to a better router or install a mesh network, but they are rather drastic solutions. A potentially more straightforward solution is to fill in gaps with more flexible hardware.
While everyone doesn?t share this opinion, I like to use powerline adapters wherever possible. It might be from my video game days where wired connections trumped their wireless counterparts, but I still have these adapters throughout my home today. Smart TVs, PCs and those game consoles all benefit from an always-on connection ? or always on until you need to reboot the adapters every few months.
Failing that, you can improve your wi-fi network with range extenders and even use old modems as repeaters. Some of these options set up secondary networks, so you need to ensure your devices have access to all of them to reap the benefits that will speed up your smart home. If you reach a point where you need more than a couple of extenders, it might be time for that mesh network.
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