We live in a time when our cell phones, tablets and laptops really do act as the centre for communication and most of us want these devices to be mobile – which means we need to connect wirelessly via Wifi (rather than be plugged in).
It’s something that we take for granted, but it wasn’t always like this. I remember the days when if you wanted to connect to the internet you had to be connected to a big heavy computer and a dial-up internet line.
It has certainly made our lives easier being able to connect wirelessly on the go.
So, how do you get the most out of your Wifi at home?
Your router should always be placed somewhere where you spend the most time online.
Typically this is the living room because that’s where the entertainment hub is for most families – especially as streaming has become the dominant way that we enjoy everything from music to movies and series.
Darren: Is there a difference between one router and another?
Myron: Yes, there is. All routers are not created equal. Webafrica do provide our customers with the “best in class” routers, to make sure that their experience is going to be the best that they can get.
But there are several things that one should look at if you want to buy a router, or when looking at an ISP who provides one for free.
Make sure that it’s a reputable brand.
Myron: When things go wrong you want to know that your ISP has a good maintenance plan with the hardware provider – which will only be possible with a good brand.
Then look for a multi-band router.
Myron: Most modern routers run on two bands. The most common of these is the 2.4Ghz band. This is best for connecting at long distances. For example, if the router is the living room and you are in the kitchen you will get the best signal from the 2.4Ghz band.
The trade-off is that you’re going to sacrifice speed for distance. So while your speed will be slower on this band your signal strength will be better.
The other band is 5Ghz. Think of it as a short distance / high-speed connection. This band works best if you are in line of sight of your router.
Either way, you should always check your signal strength when connecting to either band to ensure that you get the best experience.
Darren: When would you need a repeater to boost your signal?
Myron: Every house has a different layout and the biggest prohibiting factor to having a good Wifi signal is usually obstructions like walls and mirrors which inhibit your Wifi signal.
A repeater is simply a device that allows you to extend the range of your Wifi signal to let you get a better signal all over your home. Typically, you will need one if you live in a large house with split levels or concrete walls.
A repeater, booster and range extender are pretty much all the same thing, although there is another technology called a mesh network which is a little bit technical, but important to talk about. This allows a smooth hand over of signal from one area of your house to another, without you having to select a new Wifi point depending on where you are in the home. It can be a little bit pricey but it is definitely worth it if you want a seamless experience while you walk around your home.
Darren: When you go and buy a package and you want uncapped – and then towards the end of the month your internet is getting slow and you’ve been throttled. Can uncapped internet still be throttled?
Myron: Yes it can be. The good thing is Webafrica sells uncapped, unshaped (or un-throttled) internet over most of the networks. Which is why we are the fastest. It all comes down to which particular provider is on your area, in terms of the packages that you can get. There can be a price difference depending on what package you take, but for the more savvy internet user who is looking for the ultimate experience, this would be worth it.
Darren: So you should tell your sales consultant what you want to use your internet for, or visit Webafrica.co.za to find out what’s available for you.
The other question is, when you do sit on your patio and you see your neighbours’ Wifi signal pop up, how secure or safe from your neighbours (and hackers) is your wifi.
Myron: It depends on how safe and secure you want to make your network, and it’s a very scary notion that a stranger might be lurking on your Wifi network. Fortunately, there are ways to prevent this.
You’ve got to think of your Wifi as a computer and it runs something called “firmware”. You’ve got to keep this up to date by logging into your router, maybe once every two months, to see if there are any updates available.
The other thing to update is your Wifi password. You should change it every two to three months. Make sure you use a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters and include some numbers and special characters to make it difficult for people to guess.
Some routers allow you to hide the Wifi name altogether and they will only let your known devices connect with them. This is the first prize for security. You can also set up guest logins to allow you to keep your guests connected when they visit you, without having to update your device passwords all the time.
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