Who Killed Your Wi-Fi?
It's Friday night,you turn on your favorite streaming service. Only to find your TV is stuck on the loading screen. Someone has killed your Wi-Fi. But who?
It’s Friday night and you’re simultaneously turning on Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu to catch the most recent binge-worthy show. This week’s flavor is...crime dramas. Yet, the TV is stuck on the loading screen. Someone has killed your Wi-Fi. The screen will only show the spinning wheel that never stops. Instead of loading your show it simply taunts you. Thanks to having watched a few police shows already, you’re confident in your detective skills to assess the evidence, round up suspects, and deliver the perpetrator to justice. It’s the Internet Service Provider. Plain and simple. Cue the end credits, no need for further investigation. Right?
Bring It Out Into the OpenYour badge isn’t on the line, but admit it, you jumped straight to the conclusion that your ISP killed your Wi-Fi. Stop and look around the room. Locate the Wi-Fi router. Is it tucked away in the corner? Set high up a shelf with books? Hidden behind your TV because you’re ashamed that it doesn’t fit with the overall aesthetic? Now is the time to move it somewhere closer to the middle of your house or apartment. Wi-Fi, like a sprinkler, does its best when it’s in the middle of the space and can be seen from each corner easily. An optimal location for it would be to install it on the ceiling. Obviously, this isn’t an option for everyone. There’s also the concern of having your Wi-Fi router hanging from the ceiling like a bat. While this option may not be feasible for most, work to locate a spot near the middle of your living space. Be it an apartment or home, there should be a spot near the center that you can use to set your router. Also, try to get it up as high as you can. Going back to the sprinkler metaphor; sprinklers cast the water out and it falls to the earth. So the higher the sprinkler, the greater the coverage of the lawn. Same with a Wi-Fi router, though the signal doesn’t fall like water, you’ll notice better reception when it is placed higher.
Appliances Are An AccompliceYour Wi-Fi router, while sitting still and unassuming, is constantly being accosted as it tries to do its job--send and receive signals. Some of these suspects may be surprising to you.
Home appliancesThis may seem obvious. Most appliances plug into the wall and are made out of metal. All that metal and electricity interfere with a Wi-Fi signal. In a way, they create their own little signals. They don’t mean to do it as they’re just doing a job as well. The problem can be exacerbated further with appliances now coming with their own Wi-Fi signals in an attempt to make homes “smarter.” Think of the refrigerators with touch screens and cameras inside. While these are meant to work with your personal Wi-Fi network, they can also end up taking more of the bandwidth and leaving you sitting there staring at the pinwheel of boredom.
BlindsSome blinds are made of plastic or compressed board. And a lot are manufactured out of metal. Again, the metal is what will affect your Wi-Fi signal. On the flipside, there may be a new market here- “Interior Design that is both stylish and won’t kill your Wi-Fi!”
MirrorsThe reflective coating that gives mirrors their...mirror-ness, also bounce Wi-Fi signals off in haphazard directions.
Reinforced ConcreteThe rebar inside of reinforced concrete will affect the Wi-Fi signal, as well as the dense nature of the concrete itself. This time it's not just the metal, but the concrete too.
Fish TanksYes, there are comprised of metal too, but also a lot of water. So while Nemo is taking laps and plotting his escape, the water he’s swimming in is also making it difficult for your Wi-Fi signal to get through. Of course, you can’t take out all the metal in your home, nor can you leave the windows uncovered and tear down any walls. There will be obstacles to your Wi-Fi, but you can eliminate or lessen them by placing your router somewhere up high and near the center of your abode. There are also ways to extend your Wi-Fi signal.
The Butler Did It!Those smart home devices mentioned earlier? Yeah, they could be the ones who killed your Wi-Fi, or they may be taking up a lot of the bandwidth. Earlier this year, it was revealed that these smart home devices were actually bogging down your home's Wi-Fi signals. A bug in the system caused a lot of data to be sent at once, impeding the Wi-Fi. Most of the kinks are being resolved right now, but don’t be surprised if your Wi-Fi is slow after you plug in your newest smart home device. There is good news; patches have been sent out in updates to fix the problem. So if you haven’t updated yet, this may be the reason. Or maybe those little boxes just got tired of you shouting at it? Maybe.
It's an Open and Shut CaseThanks to buddy cop movies and police procedural shows we can solve the case of "who killed your Wi-Fi?" with confidence. But do not, and this is important, start trying to solve murder/arson/robbery cases on your own. Leave that up to the professionals! What it all boils down to is understanding the technology you use and how its affected by items in your home. This knowledge will ensure a proper solution to these “crimes.” The next time you see the spinning wheel of doom, take a moment to assess the room and figure out if the router just needs to be moved or if you have an appliance in the way?
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