WiFi questions you need to know the answer to in 2020

WiFi questions you need to know the answer to in 2020

WiFi has completely changed the way we connect. Some us remember those days that in order to get online, your computer had to be physically connected and that was the only way. We were essentially chained to our desks. Today, we take it for granted that there is connectivity at hotels, coffee shops, restaurants and of course our home and offices.

During this Covid pandemic, we have come to realize just how much we rely on that ability to connect. We need to keep our work going, and our kid’s school and college activities on track. I love that some cities are providing residents with free or low-cost Internet access, even big companies like Charter, has offered free Cox internet deals to students, making sure their studies remain unaffected.

As we head into our wireless future its good to understand the basics of wireless so we know the foundation that our connected lives are built upon. Here are some common WiFi Questions and Answers that everyone should know:

What is WiFi?

Fun Fact: contrary to popular belief, WiFi is NOT a short form for “wireless fidelity”. WiFi doesn’t stand for anything. Somewhere it got picked up that it must be an acronym but that is not correct.

The Wi-Fi Alliance used the advertising slogan “The Standard for Wireless Fidelity” for a short time after the brand name was created, and the Wi-Fi Alliance was also called the “Wireless Fidelity Alliance Inc” in some publications.” – Wikipedia 

A wireless local area network is a wireless network. Radio frequencies are entirely different from car radios, weather radios, walky-talkies, and cell phones. For e.g., in kHz and MHz (AM and FM stations) your car stereos receive frequencies; in Gigahertz, Wi-Fi delivers and receives the info. WiFi frequency is measured in Hz (Hertz) which is why you see a 2.4 GHz or 5GHz

What’s the difference between 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz?

The smaller the frequency, the farther a signal will move. For Wi-Fi, the lowest frequency is 2.4 Gigahertz, which means that it can connect to devices that are further away from the router.

5Ghz has more capacity to carry data but needs to be closer to the router as it struggles with distance.

Should you use 2.4Ghz or 5Ghz?

There is no right/ wrong answer as it really depends on your circumstances and environment layout.

While its tempting to always use the 5Ghz frequency because of its faster speeds, you might find that your devices perform better using the 2.4Ghz as they are physically further away from the router.  Or there might be too much interference such as thick metal walls which cause the 5Ghz signal to drop. Therefore 2.4Ghz is a good choice.

On the other hand, if your devices are in close proximity to the router, then the 5Ghz will perform better.

Can you shape or direct the signal from your router?

Yes you can, however, your router needs to have an external antenna to do that. Most new routers have multiple antennae which can be shaped in different directions to really maximize the way the signal is distributed around the home.  By knowing which direction your WiFi antenna should be, you are able to provide more Wifi coverage and avoid those dead-spots.

What can you do about dead WiFi spots?

If your WiFi doesn’t reach all the areas you need it to reach, there are several options.

You can purchase a WiFi extender that will “extend” your WiFi to those areas. Another option is to purchase a Whole Home Mesh system that provides various nodes around your home. These nodes are intelligent WiFi system that can direct traffic around your WiFI network so you get that nice fast internet speed.

You can also change the WiFi antenna with a High-Gain WiFi Antenna so that you can get even more control of where your WiFi signal goes.

Should you get a new 5Ghz router?

Not if you have devices that are still running on 2.4Ghz. Typically these would be older computers and smart home devices such as security cameras, smart plugs, garage openers, doorbells etc.

If you change your router to only have 5Ghz then those devices will lose their ability to connect to the network.

Remember that even the PlayStation 4 only runs on 2.4Ghz!

Don’t forget about WiFi security

Just like you can connect to your WiFi so can other people and this can be a security risk. There are several ways to protect your WiFi such as using a strong WPA2 password for accessing the network, changing the default router username and password, ensuring your router is up-to-date with the latest software as you do with your computer.

So in summary:

The technology is evolving fast and WiFi 6 is on its way soon which gives us an even faster Internet speed experience.  As the tech continues to evolve we will see more devices providing even more services in our daily lives. All without wires!

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Liron Segev - TheTechieGuy

Liron Segev is an award-winning tech blogger, YouTube strategist, and Podcaster. He helps brands tell their stories in an engaging way that non-techies can relate to. He also drinks way too much coffee! @Liron_Segev on Twitter

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