Wireless routers are integral to one's internet connectivity experience. Think of it as a gateway that opens up your network to the truly vast expanse of the world wide web. You would think that a premium-grade router will effectively boost your internet speed. In a way, yes it does. But there are several layers of factors to consider, thus, improving your internet speed is not as simple as upgrading your router.
While getting a better Wi-Fi router can help, there is more to this than a simple unit upgrade. In this article, we will figure out how you can effectively boost your internet speeds and make the most out of it with the correct tools and know-how.
Better Wi-Fi Router = Faster Internet Speed?
First, let us get the big question out of the way. The answer to this question varies depending on several factors. For the most part, we can simply say that the answer is, NO. Let me explain, your internet speed hangs on three crucial elements.
- Packet data loss
These three are the primary factors that will affect your internet speed. After that comes the actual hardware you have, i.e. your Best WiFi router. So, understanding that these three factors are vital in building a quality network is the first step you will need to take.
- The Amount of Bandwidth Available
First off, check how much bandwidth your ISP is providing you. ISPs (Internet Service Providers) generally have several packages available that offer varying amounts of Mbps (Megabits per second). You can encounter anywhere in between 1Mbps to almost 1000Mbps. Obviously, the higher the Mbps, the pricier the package. The advantage of getting a higher Mbps means that your network can handle more data flow without experiencing 'traffic' which can slow down your system considerably. Think of the bandwidth as a pipeline. The larger the bandwidth allocated to your system, the larger the pipe will be, which means more data can go in and out.
- The Latency Quality
Latency refers to the amount of time a data goes through all necessary networks and back again [computer > internet > remote server > internet > computer]. This correlate to how fast your system can bounce around data from the server back to you. Does opening websites happen in a jiffy, or does it load slow and sluggish? That is latency.
Take note that the amount of Mbps offered in the ISP package you chose does not always reflect the quality of latency you will experience. In some cases, the way your ISP allows you to connect to the internet will have a huge impact even if you have a relatively large Mbps.
- The Packet Data Loss Factor
A packet data loss in your network is akin to having a leaky pipe. Data gets wasted as it falls through the cracks as it travels from your computer to the server and vice versa. Once your computer detects packet data loss, it will resend its request for said data to the server, thus doubling or even tripling the time for the essential data to be received or sent.
Packet loss can transpire on both ends of the network, either from your side or your ISP's end. Either way, this error will cause a noticeable and sometimes considerable slow down to your network connection.
The Advantages of Upgrading Your Wireless Router
So, now that we know you can't directly boost your internet speeds with a brand-new router, what's the point of upgrading? Well, there is a multitude of reasons why you should always keep your wireless router up to date. It can also solve specific issues which we will discuss down below.
- Wi-Fi Environmental Problems
In some instances, Wi-Fi performance is greatly hindered by the environment it is in. For example, numerous clients connecting to a single wireless router that is simply not designed to support multiple devices at once.
Older models are also susceptible to signal interference. Wireless devices and even microwaves can stifle the wireless signal of last-gen routers. If you live in an area with a high density of people, expect your home also to be bombarded by various wireless signals. This can negatively affect the performance of your router if it does not come with current wireless technology such as beamforming and dual or quad-bands.
- Up to Date Features and Standards
Once again, sticking with an older model router will be more of a deterrent to your wireless performance in the long run. Previous generation wireless routers incorporate 802.11G or an 802.11N wireless protocol – which by today's standard, is extremely low. Routers that still use this wireless standard can expect sluggish internet connection even if their ISP can provide decent Mbps.
As of today, the wireless standard you should look for must be at least using 802.11AC and above. This wireless standard will ensure you will be able to make full use of your ISPs total bandwidth. Also, newer router models will come equipped with modern applications such as a more in-depth QoS (Quality of Service) feature and Parental Control, to name a few.
- Optimizing Your Wireless Router's Performance
Here are some tips I picked up that aims to improve and clean up the overall performance of your local network. These tips mainly apply for home networks though, so keep that in mind.
Take full advantage of the cables. For devices that are stationary such as computers and game consoles, I highly recommend connecting it via wires to the router-modem to ensure the fastest possible internet speeds.
Utilize access points that are connected to the main router. Adding access points will require some technical know-how, and it is best if you have already placed network cables throughout the house.
Using the right wireless standard is vital. A safe bet today is with routers that incorporate AC1900 standard. If your home has multiple devices that connect to the internet simultaneously, routers that have AC3200 standard will do the job. You can go for higher standards, but it generally won't affect your internet speeds by a wide margin. Overall, stick between the sweet spots which are AC1900 and AC3200 wireless standards.