Updated: Sep 6, 2020
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4 Signs It’s Time to Upgrade Your Home Network
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Every couple of years or so, it’s time to upgrade your smartphone, tablet, or computer, but do you ever think about when it is time to upgrade your home network? While your Wi-Fi might not be top-of-mind, it is one of the most important aspects of your New Jersey smart home system. Without a strong network, your technologies will not work to their full potential. Plus, as more devices hit the market, you will only strain your wireless network further which can lead to server performance degradation or possible failure. In this article, we identify four issues that could indicate it’s time for an upgrade in your Somerset or Morris County home. Continue reading to see what you can do if you’re experiencing these issues.
Many Users Slow Your Connection When there are many people at home using the internet, have you noticed that you’re experiencing lag times? The trouble may lie with your router. Many homeowners don’t think about what router they are using and often accept whatever their internet provider installs. A better router can make a huge difference when more than one person is using the home network. With a dual-band router, for instance, when one channel is being used, any extra traffic can be diverted to the second channel. That way, if your son is downloading a video game, you can still stream your favorite music while you’re cooking dinner. As a baseline, it’s wise to update your ISP-provided router every few years, because, like a phone or computer, the technology is always improving. But, for better overall speed and reliability, it’s best to find a third-party, high-performing router. Of course, it’s also important to have a router that’s properly configured—using the default settings won’t get you optimal performance and can also lead to security risks. Some Rooms Have a Better Signal Than Others Have you noticed any dead zones, or areas with slower connections, in your home? This is especially possible in large homes. The strength of the signal depends on proximity to the router, so the first tip is selecting a central location for your router. However, often this is not enough. We would suggest incorporating wireless access points (WAPs) throughout your home. These take the signal from your router and retransmit that signal. Therefore, you can extend your connection throughout your entire home. WAPs are entirely different for extenders. WAPs have a hardwired connection back to the router and are capable of preserving the bandwidth (throughput) of the router. On the other hand, extenders just plug into the wall. While they boost signal strength they cut throughput in half. The Strength of Your Signal Changes Unexpectedly When you’re home alone, have you ever noticed an unexpected change in the quality of your home’s Wi-Fi? This can often mean that you need to tighten your network’s security. It could be that someone from outside your home is accessing your Wi-Fi and slowing things down. A professional home network installation will ensure that you have a WPA or a WPA2 encryption enabled on your home router. It is also important to change the password from the factory setting to something unique and to periodically change this password. Bad Connection on Your Patio Often, the strength of a home’s network will drastically go down in outdoor spaces. One reason could be that the thicker walls on the perimeter of your home are impeding the signal. In order to bypass these structural obstacles and enjoy whole home audio by the pool or television on the patio, you can install an outdoor wireless access point (WAP). An outdoor WAP will be hardwired to your router and weatherproofed to withstand the elements. They are capable of preserving the entire signal strength for outdoor use.
Is It Time for a Network Evaluation? Maybe you’ve read over the signs above and thought to yourself “yes, those are true for my home, but is it really such a big deal?” For some homeowners, the answer may be “not really.” But here are a few follow-up questions to ask yourself about your home network:
Do you like to entertain friends and family or host holiday gatherings?
Are you, or is anyone in your household, easily frustrated when technology is not immediately responsive?
Do you work from home?
Do you stream a lot of music or movies?
Are you dependent on the technology in your home?
Would you like to schedule times and/or areas where the wireless will not be broadcast? (useful for parental control)
Are there spots in your house where your wireless coverage is poor?
For additional resources, please visit our page on Home WiFI Networks with articles like this on everything you need to know. Additionally, you can check out our photo gallery on the same page to explore our previous work.
Bravo AV is proud to be an HTA (Home Technology Association) Certified Installation Firm and professional A/V experts. Tom Curnin, the owner of Bravo AV, is a CEDIA Professional Designer, a certified THX Level 1 home theater professional and a member of the Home Acoustic Alliance trained to Level II. You can contact Tom directly at (908) 953-0555 or through email at Tom@BravoAV.com.