Friday Five – Home Networking

Scott Larmee Friday 5, News

So this week I thought I’d share some quick pointers about home networking. With all the great streaming content available these days, maximizing the performance of your home network is a must! (Your home network is your internet service and WIFI that typically is provided by your TV provider. It is what connects all your digital devices like smart phones, tablets and even TVs to the internet and each other.)

 

1) Bandwidth, bandwidth, bandwidth!

The more you can afford through your internet service provider the better. Generally speaking, the higher your speed the greater likelihood you’ll be able to stream smoothly and at a high (HD) quality.

 

2) Your router.

A higher-end router is something many home network novices don’t think about, but really should. The all-in-one units (cable modem and network router combined) that the cable companies provide are usually the prime culprit in a poorly performing home network. They are not that fast and their WIFI range is often very limited (plus you pay more over time using theirs). Providers are able to offer you with just a cable modem and then you can very easily hook-up a higher-end router of your own and upgrade your network fairly inexpensively. Here’s a great router you can get online (always check compatibility please): http://www.amazon.com/NETGEAR-Nighthawk-AC1900-Gigabit-Router/dp/B00F0DD0I6

Also be sure to check your router settings, especially the channel you are on. It is often on a default setting and may be the same as that of a neighbor, and can therefore cause unwanted interference.

 

3) Location, location, location!

Some install technicians will do a good job and place your modem in the right place for your home, some will not. Many consumers even ask them to put it in the wrong place for certain personal reasons without considering the consequences. For optimal WIFI performance, your router should be as centrally located in your home as possible. It should be unobstructed if possible, not behind a TV or brick wall, to avoid potential interference.

 

4) Number of devices (and which network they’re on).

With more and more devices connected to your home network these days, it’s easy to really bog down your performance. Devices share the overall bandwidth in your house (unless like the router I linked to above, you can broadcast 2 separate networks simultaneously on different bandwidths – 2.4G and 5G) so more is never merrier in this case. Turn off WIFI on devices you’re not using to free up bandwidth for those that need it most.

 

5) Streaming device itself.

The quality of your media player itself will also determine how well it plays content for you. From computers to iPads to dedicated streaming devices like Roku or Amazon Fire and Google Chromecast sticks, the newer and more capable the device, the better and more stable the quality of the stream and navigation interface. Newer devices can have better antennas and better WIFI campabilities, plus 4K quality content for your new ultra-high-def TV!

 

Well, that’s all for this week! Please be sure to drop a comment below or email Gadget Guide with suggestions for upcoming Friday Five posts. Thanks for tuning in!