The internet is transitioning from being a ‘nice to have’ to being a necessary utility for both business and home users, making it imperative it for internet connections to be fast and stable, according to Calvin Collett, CEO at iConnect Telecoms.
He continued that whether it is to access the latest cloud solutions or stream High Definition (HD) video, many businesses and consumers are investing in high speed internet connections, such as that offered by fibre. And yet, he notes, these consumers often struggle to actually get the speeds that their connection advertises, causing them to lay the blame at their service provider’s door in frustration and anger. However, their Wi-Fi equipment may actually be the real culprit.
The weakest link
Collett points out that a network is only as fast as its slowest point. “Where networks comprise of a mix of old and new technology, older equipment could be incapable of delivering the speeds and performance of newer technology, effectively becoming a bottleneck for the data travelling through this point.
For example, a person could have a 100 Megabit per second (Mbps) fibre line connecting to an older Wi-Fi router, but will only achieve 40 Mbps due to this being the maximum speed that their Wi-Fi router supports. Wi-Fi equipment that makes use of outdated wireless standards are often the reason behind slow speeds, rather than poor connectivity from the service provider,” he elaborates
Furthermore, wireless standards dictate the speed capability of a Wi-Fi router based on its intrinsic technology. “The original 802.11 standard enabled Wi-Fi devices to deliver speeds of up to 2Mbps which, at one stage, was great. But today? Not so much,” he continued.
Since then Wi-Fi has undergone many iterations from 802.11a to 802.11b and 802.11g, each offering higher speeds than the previous standard. The latest standards are 802.11n, also known as Wireless-N, which offers speeds of up to 300 Mbps, and 802.11ac, which gives us speeds of up to 450Mbps. Wi-Fi routers based on these standards use technology which enables them to make use of multiple wireless signals and antennae to deliver faster, better connectivity than ever before.
Collett advised that, in order to ensure that you are getting the speeds promised by your service provider, you need to be certain that your Wi-Fi router is capable of matching the speed of your connection. “The appropriate action would be to ask your service provider to confirm that the Wi-Fi router won’t cause any bottlenecks on your connectivity. If the Wi-Fi router is not the problem, you may need to check the Wi-Fi capability of your computer or notebook which could also be using older standards and, therefore, be incapable of meeting the connection speeds,” he elaborated.
In cases where the equipment, be it your computer or the Wi-Fi router, is causing your connection to slow down, it is best to upgrade to newer technology to take full advantage of your connection. Of course, the need to upgrade is determined by your connection speed. If have only purchased a 2Mbps Internet connection, for example, older Wi-Fi equipment and computers should be fine and any slowness can rightly be investigated with your service provider.
Another culprit of slow speeds can also be poor signal strength, and this can actually be quite easily solved. “If the place where you need connectivity the most is far from where your Wi-Fi router is located, you may need to re-evaluate the positioning of the device, or look at adding more Wi-Fi devices to your network, effectively extending the signal,” he explained.
Additionally, Collett pointed out that a good service provider will ensure that proper surveys are done to give you coverage where you need it most. How much coverage you need, though, is up to each individual, with a person requiring coverage in every room of their house or office building needing more Wi-Fi devices than a person who only needs coverage in their living room or boardroom, for example.
“Whatever your connectivity needs, ensuring you get the best out of your service need not be something you have to work out on your own. Partnering with a reputable and knowledgeable service provider will ensure you get the most out of your Internet connection and the devices connected to it, giving you the speeds and functionality you expect and deserve,” he concluded.