Making the most of WiFi at home

Making the most of WiFi at home

With more of us working and studying at home, and making use of digital entertainment services, it’s worth making sure that you can get fast, reliable WiFi across the entire household, says Patrick Hirscher, Wireless Market Development Manager EMEA at Zyxel.

A few days ago, I spoke to a friend of mine who had recently moved house. On a conference call, he told me how thrilled he and his family are to be in their new home. It does sound charming. It’s almost 200 years old, traditionally-built with walls of brick and wood, and different shaped rooms due to the additions that have been made over the years.

It was a pleasant call, but the signal kept dropping. My friend told me that this was because his WiFi was not great in the upstairs room he was using as an office. He was surprised to have experienced quite a few problems around the house. While old, it is not really big, and the walls are not that thick.

Unexpected gaps

I have to say that I was also a little surprised. But this example shows you that you can never really be sure how well WiFi is going to work in any particular building until you try it. For my friend, the patchy signal was a real problem. Like most of us now, he is working from home much of the time and has a busy schedule. He could move downstairs, closer to the router, but that would mean working in the living room, which would not be ideal.

His daughter was having the same problems in her room, and his son was due to return home from college soon. He would need to study and would definitely want to have a decent WiFi signal in his room.

This kind of scenario is actually quite common. In most houses, there will be small but noticeable gaps in coverage where, for some reason, you can’t get a strong WiFi signal from the router. With more of us working and studying from home, that can be a real problem.

You can purchase Powerline extenders to boost the signal, and these are perfect in smaller houses or business premises. But if you need to extend further than one room or floor, you will need to use two or more extenders, and when you do that, the signal will weaken. You’d maybe lose 50 percent on the first hop, another 25 percent on the second. If you are trying to do videoconference calls, watch a movie, or play real-time interactive games, that’s not going to give you the performance you need.

Consistent strength

A better solution is to use one of our Multy mesh systems. With Multy you can be certain of getting the same, consistent and reliable signal strength throughout the building. Effectively, Multy is a ready-made high-performance WiFi network for homes or small offices. It works by reserving bandwidth on a dedicated 5GHz frequency between the router and two (or in some cases, three) Multy devices, which you can position pretty much anywhere.

Doing this will give you a maximum speed WiFi connection everywhere. There will be no need to worry about whether you can work or use entertainment services in an upstairs bedroom, a loft, or even in an annex or office that is outside the main structure.

No turning back

Once you experience using a Multy WiFi mesh, you will never want to go back to just relying on the signal from the router. Multy devices are really easy to install and use, and there are several options for different scenarios and situations. Our latest offering, the Multy WSM20, for example, provides excellent dual-band support for WiFi 6 (802.11ax) and is really fast.

Anyway, I told my friend all of this, but I have not spoken to him since. I am sure he is just busy with his usual back-to-back schedule. Hopefully, by now, he has bought and installed a Zyxel Multy wireless mesh system, and all his conference calls are running smoothly and without interruption.