Tips to Keep Your Wi-Fi Running At Peak Performance
Congratulations! You already nailed step one in your journey to turbocharged Wi-Fi speeds; you chose ACE Fiber as your Internet Service Provider (ISP). As you may already know, our fiber-optic internet service consistently delivers internet speeds between 200 Mbps (megabits per second) and 2 Gbps (gigabits per second), which is lightning-fast. In short, fiber offers you and your family the fastest internet speeds possible in Alcorn County.
To make sure you make the most of your internet service, we’ve put this article together to help every ACE Fiber subscriber achieve and maintain peak performance speeds for their wireless (Wi-Fi) network.
A Quick Wi-Fi Explanation
Before we delve into how to make your Wi-Fi speeds break the sound barrier (ok, maybe not THAT fast), let’s make sure we understand how Wi-Fi networks operate, so we can optimize your set-up. Because Wi-Fi is wireless, as in not physically plugged into your ACE Fiber Residential Gateway (RG) router, it relies on radio waves to connect devices to the internet. These radio waves are known as “bands” and they send signals to your RG that are translated into data. To put things into perspective, your cell phone and car radio use radio waves in the same way that your Wi-Fi network does.
Step 1: Understand The Differences Between 2.4 and 5 Gigahertz (GHz)
Now that we understand what wi-fi bands are, let’s talk about the difference between the two bands your RG (Residential Gateway) uses. The frequency of a band of radio waves is measured in gigahertz (GHz) and the two bands that are available for your Wi-Fi devices are 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz.
So, what’s the difference? Well, it all comes down to two factors: Speed (your bandwidth) and Range (your coverage).
The higher the number of GHz a band of radio waves offers, the greater the speed and frequency of waves it has. BUT, the higher the number, also means the less strength to travel through barriers like walls, mirrors, and cabinets. A higher frequency of waves increases your Wi-Fi network’s capacity to carry more data at faster speeds. Devices that use a lot of data (cell phones, laptops, TVs, tablets, etc.) typically require greater bandwidth or a 5 GHz connection in order to operate at peak performance levels. Devices that use significantly less data, such as baby monitors, video doorbells, etc., can operate well on a 2.4 GHz band.
We know that’s a lot of technical information, so let’s break it down a bit to help you understand it better. Think of these bands as different kinds of performance runners. The 2.4 GHz band is similar to a cross country runner. It is designed for strength and distance – traveling further from the ACE Fiber RG device and more easily through obstacles like solid objects, walls, and floors than the 5 GHz band.
The 5 GHz band is more like a track sprinter; it can transmit data at much higher speeds but does not travel as well through walls or cabinets. When we say high speeds, we mean lightning fast! Where the 2.4 GHz wi-fi band only travels at speeds of around 450 – 600 Mbps, the 5 GHz band can travel over 1300 Mbps. The 5 GHz band is great for devices that need more speed like gaming or streaming, but you’ll want to make sure you place those devices closer to the RG to enjoy peak performance.
We know that’s a lot of “geek speak” to remember, so we’ve done our best to take the guesswork out of your network settings and provide RG devices that use automatic band steering technology.
Dual-Band Technology and Automatic Band Steering
Your RG offers the latest in dual-band technology, so it is able to manage multiple devices operating on both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands with ease. More importantly, it also features automatic band steering. Automatic band steering is like air traffic control; when a device accesses a wireless network it connects it to the fastest available band (2.4 GHz or 5 GHz) with the least amount of interference—automatically. This enables everyone in your home to enjoy a seamless data usage experience since it continuously optimizes connectivity. It also means you can say bye-bye to buffering and sayonara to slow speeds. Nice!
Now that we’ve covered how Wi-Fi works, let’s take a look at how you can ensure your Wi-Fi network can experience top speeds.
Step 2: Choose a Central Location for Your RG
Oftentimes, you can dramatically improve the speed and performance of your Wi-Fi network just by placing your RG in an ideal location. Tech experts all agree that a central location in your house is best because it gives all of your connected devices an equal opportunity to access stronger signals. Think of your ACE RG as the sun and the devices in your home as the planets that draw energy from the sun. Like the sun’s rays, the radio waves that are emitted from your RG radiate in every direction. This is why you want to find the physical center of your home and locate your RG there. Locating your RG in the heart of your house enables the radio waves to better reach Wi-Fi enabled devices throughout your home. This enables the kids to do their homework on their tablets in their room, your spouse to watch Netflix in the living room, and you to catch the latest news program on your laptop in the den.
Step 3: Give Your RG an Open and Lofty View
Because Wi-Fi networks use waves to transmit data, those waves can be slowed or blocked by large objects, such as furniture, floors, and walls. They can also bounce off of shiny objects like stainless steel appliances, glass fish tanks, and mirrors, which can weaken the strength of the signal. Bearing all of this in mind, make sure you place your RG in an open space and not inside a cabinet. The HelloTech editors maintain that “The more walls in between you and your router [RG], the weaker your signal will be. Walls absorb wireless signals and reduce the quality of your broadcast.” Lastly, the waves of a Wi-Fi signal typically travel downward, so the higher the position you can place your RG in (i.e. on top of a TV cabinet, bookshelf, armoire, etc.), the greater your signal strength will be.
Step 4: Add a Wi-Fi Range Extender
If you live in a two-story home, or despite your best efforts your RG still has a number of walls to penetrate, then you will want to add a Wi-Fi range extender to your tech set-up. A range extender picks up signals from your RG and rebroadcasts them to devices that are located too far away to access a strong signal from the RG directly. Economical and easy to install (most are plug-n-play); range extenders are great for obliterating dead zones in your Wi-Fi network.
You Are Now Ready for Your ACE RG Installer
Now that you know how to maximize your Wi-Fi network’s speeds by finding a central, open, and lofty position for your ACE RG to reside in, you are ready for your installer to visit. When it comes to super-fast internet and Wi-Fi speeds, nothing beats ACE’s RG equipment. It utilizes the latest technology and built-in features, like automatic band steering, to ensure your “need for speed” is completely satisfied.