Portrait by Hillary Ehlen
Wireless Internet is everywhere.
No really, take a look on your phone or computer at all the available Wi-fi networks . . . I’ll wait. The number is generally astonishing and will only continue to grow as population density increases. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and some large players such as Microsoft and Google are looking at bringing WiFi to the globe. However, separate Wi-fi networks don’t always play nice together.
So how do you claim your WiFi ground?
It isn’t always easy to do so. Lots of factors play into how well your WiFi works in competition with other WiFi and radio signals. Let us take a look at a few of those factors.
1. LINE OF SIGHT
Having a direct, or least infringed, path to your router is best. WiFi will always be susceptible to signal-blocking from certain types of materials such as concrete and metal siding. Try moving your routers into more open spaces or ceiling mounted locations.
2. 4 GHz VS 5 GHz
These are the common Wi-Fi Frequencies used today. Each has its advantages and can be used almost interchangeably with current devices. 2.4 GHz has a longer reach and is better at penetrating solid objects with its signal. 5 GHz is less susceptible to background noise and radio frequencies such elevators or microwaves, while also sporting faster data-transfer speeds.
3. CHANNEL WARS
Both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz frequencies operate on small variances in the frequency it uses to communicate. These are called channels. For example: channel 1 is 2.412GHz and channel 2 is 2.417 GHz. Most routers are set to use channel 1 by default, but this leads to congestion on that specific frequency. WiFi-analyzing tools can help you determine the lesser-used channels of the surrounding WiFi networks. This offers less direct competition for the specific frequency that is over-utilized.