Updated: Sep 14
How much do you understand about the internet, wifi, and the equipment needed? There are a lot of things that go into a fast and reliable internet connection.
In this post, we'll go through some information so you can know how to have dependable internet or, at least, be a little more informed.
Your Internet Service Provider (ISP)
Spectrum, AT&T, and WoW are all internet service providers. They bring the internet into your home or business. The modem connects to the entire internet so that your router can give you that access to the internet.
Not all routers from your ISP work well. You are able to purchase your own equipment and use it to connect to the internet/modem.
Your ISP sets your internet speed. In this post from February, I talked about internet speed. ISPs are beginning to offer higher speeds, but typically you're averaging 25-50 Mbps (megabits per second). However, that's not 25-50 Mbps per device. It's to share among all connected devices.
Also, it should be noted that you don't always get the maximum Mbps offered. Sometimes your 25 Mbps could actually average out to be 18 Mbps.
Now, you might be inquiring about your router's channels. Some of you might notice you have two (or three) wifi channels to connect to: 2.4 GHz, 5 GHz, and the newest 6 GHz. Do they really mean anything?
2.4 GHz has a more extended range, so it can reach further but is slower.
5.0 GHz is faster and has more bandwidth but doesn't reach as far.
6.0 GHz is the fastest but has a much smaller coverage area.
Single router vs. Mesh system
Consider a few things before purchasing a new router or mesh system.
How large is the space you're covering?
Are there any thick walls or devices that will interfere with your signal?
How much money are you willing to spend?
A single router is restricted to where you can place it because it must be connected to an existing socket via ethernet cable. Your connection will be strongest closest to the router and get slower the further you get away from it.
A mesh system has a central hub, which is basically the 'single router,' and connects to nodes around the home or building. Your device connects to the closet node, giving you more coverage and a more reliable connection. A mesh system is ideal for someone with a larger home or building, dead spots, or other interferences.
There are other options instead of a single router and mesh system. However, they aren't always ideal.
Wifi repeaters: it extends your range from a single router a little more but often isn't as effective as expected. It also may create a secondary network, so if you're closer to the repeater, you'll have to change your wifi selection on your device.
Access points: similar to mesh systems, but not as 'clean.' The more you add, the more selective it can become.
If you're looking at a new router, check the square footage it'll cover. If you have a larger home, consider a mesh system.
Mesh systems can cost hundreds to thousands, depending on the brand and amount of nodes. Single routers can cost anywhere from $50 upwards to about $1,000. Any upgrade from your primary ISP router will cost you.
Your internet will only be as fast as your ISP provides, even if your router can handle higher speeds.
If you're looking to upgrade your wifi connection in any way, reach out to us. We offer a free consultation to ensure we provide exactly what your space needs. You can read more about our network and wifi service on its respective service page.