Is your wireless connection, or lack thereof, driving you mad? Do you find yourself excited to add smart gadgets to your home only to be frustrated by sluggish service and the constant loss of connectivity? While it often has to do with the quality of service from your Internet Service Provider, how well your home network processes and connects to the available service has a lot to do with the quality of your networking equipment. Let’s help demystify why your devices are struggling to stay connected.
THE TYPES OF APPLICATIONS WE USE TODAY
Everyone knows that the types of applications and devices we use today are overwhelmingly audio and video centric – video surveillance systems, Facetime, Amazon Echo, Netflix, Spotify, wireless speakers and smart TVs—the list goes on and on. But what is lesser known is that audio and video streaming, especially high-definition (HD), is very taxing in terms of data usage and both are considered latency-sensitive data traffic. This means they can hog a lot of your bandwidth and are more sensitive to the inconsistency of a strained network. Because we expect steady, high-quality streaming and instantaneous connections, throughput and device capacity in terms of wireless service are more important than ever. Since technology is evolving so quickly, it’s important to have a network that not only supports your technology needs today, but can also scale to meet your technology goals in the future.
THE QUANTITY AND QUALITY OF CONNECTIONS IN YOUR HOME
Now, that we’ve considered the types of devices and applications, ask yourself how many Internet-connected devices you have added to your home in the last three years? In that time, we’ve added CCTV, smart lighting, wireless speakers, playstation and smart TVs that exclusively stream video from web-based applications. But we’re not alone. According to reports, by 2020 there will be 31 billion smart devices installed world-wide!
Now ask yourself when was the last time you upgraded your home network? Not just the service plan from your ISP, but the last time you actually made sure the hardware was up to par? If you haven’t reviewed the quality of your network in a while, then it’s time you did. It is, after all, the foundation that supports all of the connected technology in your home.
A FEW BASICS THAT YOU SHOULD KNOW
If you plan on making your home smart, you need a network that can support the influx of technology you bring into it. Let’s start with some basics:
- To start, your router throughput should meet or exceed the speed of the service you are subscribed to via your Internet Service provider; otherwise, you aren’t making use of the service you are paying for. Especially as Gigabit speeds are becoming more common worldwide, you’ll want a router that can actually utilise all that speed.
- Most ISPs provide a piece of networking equipment that serves as both a router and a wireless access point, but if your home is larger or includes many smart/connected devices, then you really should use dedicated wireless access points in addition to, or instead of, the wireless capabilities that might be built-in to your router. You’ll also want to consider using wireless access points if your home is made of building materials that are made of high-density or refractive building materials (e.g. interior walls made of stone or floor-to-ceiling mirror walls) which can block or interfere with wireless signals. Why? Dedicated wireless access points can be more appropriately placed so the signal doesn’t have to pass through problematic building materials and so that your wireless source is located in key areas. They also allow your network to handle more wireless connections.
- If any of your connected systems are critical or are primarily used for latency-sensitive video streaming and storage (think home security system), then you should seriously consider hardwiring those connected devices. Not only is it more secure, it will also free up bandwidth on your wireless for devices that need to be mobile.
Tip: Wireless repeaters or extenders are poor solutions for trying to stretch your wireless signal. They extend wireless signals by ‘stealing’ speed from the wireless source.
If you’d rather leave it to us, then give us a call. We’ll be able to come and have a look at the devices and systems you’re operating and provide a network solution not just for now, but for the growing demands of the future.