Your Wi-Fi network at home is what connects you to the internet. For households looking to stream movies, tv shows, music as well as regular browsing on desktop or mobile devices, a strong internet connection is vital. Like radio, internet is brought to your home via a signal but instead of this signal coming form a communication tower, it is done through either cable, DSL or satellite service by a modem. This signal is then distributed to devices wirelessly through a router or a series of routers. With the governments NBN commitment, soon fibre optic will be available to all homes and can offer faster speeds than what has been previously seen in Australia.
Creating a Wi-Fi network in your home can be a quick and easy process so long as you have the right equipment and service. There’re a few important things you need to get started. Once you have signal going to your home form your service provider, you will require a modem that will connect you to the internet through your phone line, cable jack or fibre optic cable (NBN). Then you will need to choose a router, such as Netgear or ASUS, that emits your internet wirelessly throughout your home, creating your Wi-Fi signal. For convenience, some people choose a gateway device that combines the modem and router together or some may opt for a mesh system.
Bandwidth describes the amount of data that can be sent over a fixed amount of time and is generally expressed in bits per second (bps). It is important to gain an understanding of bandwidth as it is key to ensuring your network can support everything you are looking to do without interruption. First you will need to do is identify your download speeds given to you from your provider. The recommended minimum speed in order to stream TV movies is 25Mbps, however if you are looking into higher quality content such as 4K streaming or online gaming, you may want to consider an ISP who can deliver 100Mbps or more. Once you’ve chosen the suitable data speed plan for your home, you can choose a router that can handle your desired download speeds. The speed of a router can be found on the router itself, for example an AC1200 router can deliver 1200Mbps.
The strength of a network has a huge impact on how smoothly your devices or entertainment run. Having a strong network is more than just a fast router, the right network needs to be fast & stable. As you move further away from your router your signal will drop, causing interruptions such as buffering for movie streaming or lagging for online gaming. Online gaming also requires a lot of uninterrupted bandwidth for smooth game play which means you may look for a router with device prioritisation (QoS) for a free-flowing experience. With the introduction of smart devices such as locks, security cameras, lights etc, these all take up your limited bandwidth. Using a whole home system or more commonly known as a mesh system, households can maintain a strong signal around the house, not just near the router.
Slow internet and dead spots
These are the most common issues present in households and there are several causes to why this occurs. One reason being the number of devices connected to your network, as certain routers may have a limit to how many devices it can support comfortably. You may also have your router poorly located in relation to key high use areas of your home. As technology changes, equipment needs to change, and an issue may occur due to using an outdated modem/router.
Creating a secure network
In a time where crime and cyber-attacks are spiking online, protecting you and your family’s private information is a very important. We can assist in providing you with the appropriate equipment and systems to protect your sensitive data and help you to create secure passwords for your network.
Setting up parental controls
Younger generations are growing up with the use of technology more than ever before, so it is important that you keep your children safe from strangers and risks online. Find out how to set up parental blocks to avoid inappropriate web browsing, as well as incorporate internet “off” times to ensure kids have downtime away from their screens.
Do I have the right router and where should I place It?
Appropriate Router Placement:
The further away your devices are to your router, the weaker your signal will be. For example, if you have your router placed at the far end of the back of the house, streaming video or playing video games at the front of the house may buffer or lag. This can be resolved by moving your router to a more central point of the house or by using a range extender/powerline adapter.
Mesh Home Systems:
For larger homes, or those looking for strong signal throughout the house, a mesh Wi-Fi system may be suitable. Mesh systems use multiple devices, called nodes or satellites, which create a network that surrounds your home with a strong Wi-Fi signal. Many of these systems allow for as many satellites as you like, so you can cover hard to reach areas such as your yard or garage.
What should I do if there are many users on my Wi-Fi network?
It is common for households to have multiple people connected to Wi-Fi at the same time. For instance, someone may want to stream a movie while another is gaming online or others completing homework. This all takes up bandwidth and will result in slower speeds. A solution for this is to use a Mu-MIMO system. Mu-MIMO stands for “multi-user, multiple input, multiple output.” These include multiple antennas to create multiple, dedicated full-speed Wi-Fi signals, so several devices/users can be connected at the same time without slowing down the network. Another technology worth looking at is beamforming. Beamforming is a technique that focuses a wireless signal towards a specific receiving device, rather than having the signal spread in all directions from a broadcast antenna, resulting in strong, dependable connections. Most routers that feature dual-band or tri-band technology will also do a great job of managing a Wi-Fi network with multiple devices connected.
How do I prevent cyber-attacks?
One of the most essential forms of protecting your network is by setting up a smart firewall. A firewall I able to block untrusted or malicious content from entering your network from the internet. Firewalls are simple to set up with both options available through your PC as well as the router settings itself if applicable. Some firewall programs require a subscription fee similar to anti-virus, however others can also be free, but potentially less reliable.
How can I maintain my privacy online?
When considering privacy protection, its ideal to connect to the internet using a router rather than plugging directly into your modem (unless it’s a gateway modem/router combo). The beauty of routers is that they provide a great deal of control over your network. Port forwarding is a way to ensure that you can access internet content entering the house while preventing loss of information going out. However, in cases where you would like to share content, such as during live online gaming, you need to make sure that your router and firewall has exception rules in place so you can control what applications can run and when.
Should I create secure passwords?
All routers will come with their own username and password that will be generic for the initial set up. While people may just keep these, you do have the option to set up your own unique name and access password. Many will also allow for a guest network (with its own password) to help keep your own network separate and private. What's the best way to create secure passwords? One tip is to use a randomly generated password rather than something that can be guessed by others (birthdays, anniversaries, etc.).
How do I prevent inappropriate web browsing by my kids?
If you have young children in your home, parental controls are vital. Most modem routers will come with features that allow you to control what websites your children visit to block out inappropriate websites and content. You can setup these features during initial set up of your modem router or it can be done later. You can even block out specific pages or even pages relating to inappropriate content that you’d like to exclude your children from seeing.
How can I keep my kids from staying up too late online?
Internet "Off" Times:
Another way to help keep your kids safe online is to set up specific times when they're allowed to access the Internet. Many routers will let parents create "off times," which will prevent online access at bedtime, or any other time when you want your children to be Internet-free.
Is a home Wi-Fi network difficult to set up?
Home Wi-Fi network products have come a long way. Many are more powerful, offer more control over security and protection, and are easier than ever to set up. Most routers have simple step-by-step instructions for setting up a strong, stable network that will cover your entire home.