5 tips to bring your homes Wi-Fi dead zones to life
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An interview with Wi-Fi Guru Jeffrey Parker,
editor of the Milo Wi-Fi Blog
Have you ever noticed certain locations in your home where Internet-connected devices and smartphones are unable to receive a steady Wi-Fi signal (or any signal at all) from your router?
These sad places are called dead zones:
Dead zones typically include bathrooms, second and third story bedrooms, attics, basements, garages, and back patios — and they can drive everyone in the house absolutely crazy, says Wi-Fi Guru Jeffrey Parker, editor of the Milo Wi-Fi Blog.
If Emma can’t access the Wi-Fi on her bed upstairs, then she can’t Snapchat her friends or watch her favorite YouTube makeup vlogger. If the Wi-Fi doesn’t reach the front door then the new Ring doorbell camera won’t work. If Grandma can’t access the Wi-Fi from the back porch, then she can’t sit outside with her tea on Saturday morning browsing on her iPad.
We expect to be able to stream video and data anywhere and anytime, but, unfortunately, traditional routers were designed during a time when video streaming was limited to only one or two locations in the home, such as the living room television. Additionally, smart home devices that rely on Wi-Fi to function, like Ring doorbell cameras, Nest Wi-Fi thermostats, Canary security cams, Phillips Hue light bulbs, and Wi-Fi smart plugs, were not available and popular with the home consumer, says Parker.
So, given today’s basement-to-attic demand for Wi-Fi access, what is the most economical and effective strategy for winning the battle against dead zones in our homes?
Parker offers five no-cost/low-cost suggestions which he says can provide you and your family a joyous, satisfying Wi-Fi experience:
1. Keep your router away from metal
Objects such as mirrors, televisions, appliances or anything large made primarily of metal (i.e. decorative furniture, filing cabinets, even fish tanks!) have the potential to impair your networks signal strength. Moving any problematic obstructions (if possible) or your router away from them may rid your living space of the dead zone.
2. Switch to a less crowded frequency
In living spaces like apartment buildings, too many broadcasting networks can interfere with each other and impact Wi-Fi quality. Because routers broadcast across two wireless frequency bands, 2.4 and 5 GHz, when one is too crowded it acts like a highway packed with cars. The good news is you can usually switch frequencies within your mobile device settings to use the less crowded channel.
3. Reboot regularly. Routers asked to complete many requests, such as handing out multiple IP addresses to different devices and handling large downloads, can end up slowing down because of the heavy workload. You can think of rebooting your router as basically refreshing it and clearing any memory or stalled tasks.
4. Ask your Internet provider for their latest hardware
If you’re still using that dinosaur router from the early 2000s, it’s probably time for an upgrade. Outfitting your home with a smarter and more advanced router could be the solution to your Wi-Fi woes, especially if your existing router is a very old model with limited capabilities. Internet service providers often provide router upgrades on request for no charge.
5. Consider a distributed mesh Wi-Fi system like Milo: MeshWi-Fi systems consist of the main router connected to a modem and a series of satellite Wi-Fi distribution modules placed throughout the house. They provide a strong uninterrupted signal to every Wi-Fi device in the home, from the attic to basement.
SAMPLE INTERVIEW QUESTIONS
1. What is Wi-Fi and what are the typical causes of a Wi-Fi dead zone.
2. How many Wi-Fi dependent devices does the average home have, and how much bandwidth do those devices typically require?
3. How does rebooting the router increase Wi-Fi signal and how do you do it?
4. How can Wi-Fi connectivity be improved by switching to another frequency?
5. Which is more effective: buying a faster Internet service or upgrading the router?
6. What is a distributed Wi-Fi system, and what benefits does it provide to households or businesses with heavy Wi-Fi demand.
7. How can listeners get more tips on improving their Wi-Fi reception and learning more about the Milo Wi-Fi System?
ABOUT JEFFREY PARKER:
Jeffrey Parker, (aka the Wi-Fi Guru), holds over 40 US patents covering various innovations in wireless technology. He is the co-founder of ParkerVision and the editor of the Milo Wi-Fi Blog, a source for practical advice, new products, and leading-edge technology dedicated to enhancing the Wi-Fi experience.