You’ll find wireless networks everywhere, on the train, in the pub, in restaurants, in hotels, and even on buses these days. But sometimes at home you just can’t get a wireless connection when you need it. More and more people are connecting through the airwaves and congestion can cause real issues with stability and speed. Doing a broadband comparison of speeds whilst wired and whilst connected wirelessly will identify the disparity between the internet speed coming into your home and that you receive wirelessly.
When you really can’t get online wirelessly with your current set-up there are both wireless and wired solutions.
You can of course choose to switch your router to one of the newer models with 5GHz frequency. At the moment, there are fewer people on 5GHz routers and therefore the congestion is less dense. If you live in a densely built-up area and there’s a number of wireless connections around, having a 5GHz router can make things a lot better. There’s also a 60GHz range coming soon. This will run over shorter ranges but offer faster speeds, potentially up to 7GBps.
Other than changing routers there is a lot you can do; you are not, as many think, limited to troubleshooting wireless interference problems, fiddling with microfilters and doing a broadband comparison to find another internet service provider.
There are a number of wired alternatives that bypass the need for wireless connectivity and enable you to get online around your home. In addition, many of us have Desktop PCs that cannot get on wirelessly and these can also benefit from the wired technology.
Wired Ethernet Local Area Network (LAN)
The most obvious and easiest way to overcome the problem is by simply running ethernet cables around your home to the points that you want to connect. For example, you could run a 50-meter cable out to the garage if you wanted to. Routers these days normally come with four or more ethernet sockets, so you could comfortably put several points around your house and plug in through the ethernet cable on your devices.
The performance on wired ethernet is extremely fast and latency is low. You can theoretically get a thousand megabytes per second transfer through the cables and will generally have a more stable connection. Security is also good because it is a closed network and someone will have to get in to your house to get on it. It’s also very cheap. You can pick up a cable on e-Bay of 25 meters for under £5.
You’ve got to run cables around your home. This can be unsightly and a real challenge. You’re also limited with the points that you can get online, especially if you wire the cables to fixed points rather than let them have some free wire at the end. In addition, not all devices that you’ll want to connect to will have ethernet ports, for example smartphones obviously don’t, and many tablets don’t either.
WiFi Ethernet Adapters
Sometimes the issue isn’t that your WiFi is suffering interference but that your devices can’t get onto WiFi. A number of the technologies these days only have WiFi installed in the most expensive level pieces of equipment; a good example is TVs, which generally come with Ethernet rather than wireless internet connectivity. Running a long cable around your home can be a problem. A solution is a wired network adapter that picks up your WiFi signal and turns it into a wired signal to be plugged in through the ethernet. Signals are passed back and forth and converted by the piece of equipment. A good example is Netgear’s Universal WiFi Internet Adapter, which can be purchased for under £50.
It can be very convenient and cheap, and also require very little power.
The performance of the adapter is completely dependent of the performance of your WiFi network, and therefore isn’t a WiFi alternative; it uses WiFi. It won’t mean that the broadband comparison ratio between wired and wireless speeds are any better.
Overall it can be very good if you just want to plug something in but don’t want to run cables around your home.
A HomePlug Ethernet Adapter
If you don’t want to be running a cable around your home it’s possible to get low latency and extremely powerful performance by using your power line set-up. Essentially the technology utilises your power line, without interfering with the distribution of electricity, and turns it into a wired network for your home.
Configuration is very easy. All you need to do is plug an adapter into a power socket in your room, plug another into another room and then sync them up. Speeds are fast and stability is very good. These plugs must be put straight into the socket rather than through extension cables in order to get the best speeds. You can get HomePlugs with several ethernet ports, if required.
There are a number of brands offering these products, including NetGear, D-Link, ZyXEL, Belkin, and TP-Link. Performance is hampered over distance and some homes have split power networks and therefore the system may not work throughout your whole house.
In addition, there can be interference as they work at 2MHz to 86MHz radio spectrums. This can cause problems with DAB digital radio and even ADSL broadband connections.
The performance levels for speed, stability, and latency are high. Generally, the solution is inexpensive. It’s also not necessary to run wires around your house and can be more secure than WiFi.
You can get interference, especially with the older 85MBps adapters. Speeds are not up to the claimed 500MBps and are normally much closer to 100MB or less. And the system may not work throughout the house, especially if you have a split power network.
Conclusion and Broadband Comparison
So there you have it, a look at some of the ways to overcome wireless problems in your home. Perhaps the most discrete and fastest is the HomePlug Adapter System. These provide a secure, stable, and easy to set up solution to overcome wireless interference, but watch out for the interference that they can create themselves.
Make sure you do a broadband comparison before you get your connection to ensure that you are getting a good speed into your home. Wireless connectivity is always slower than wired so maximising the speed of the line is important.