‘Where is the best place to put my Wi-Fi router?’

Is your Wi-Fi router in the wrong place? 

If you’re having issues with your Wi-Fi and can’t figure out what the problem is, one potential problem could be where your router is in your home. 

You would be surprised how many people have their Wi-Fi router somewhere that could cause slow Wi-Fi, internet blackspots and maybe even no connection whatsoever! 

Is your Wi-Fi router in one of these 3 worst places? 

When the internet isn’t working properly, it’s really noticeable. Like when there’s a power cut or no hot water – We’re all very used to this utility just always being there in the background.

And when it’s not working properly, it’s hugely frustrating. Whether you’re on a Zoom call for work and the screen keeps freezing, or you’re trying to binge watch your favourite Netflix show and it keeps buffering in the best bits – Slow, unreliable internet can make things stressful. 

But what if your dodgy connection is purely down to the location of your Wi-Fi router? If that’s the case then you’re in luck – It’s an easy fix! 

These are some of the worst places to put your router that could be suppressing your internet signal:

In the kitchen

The kitchen is full of appliances that could cause interference to your Wi-Fi like the microwave, so it’s a big no-no to place your router in this room. Things made of metal or containing water can cause significant issues with Wi-Fi signal, and you’re likely to find lots of these offending items in the kitchen area. 

Too low down

Putting your router too low down means that the signal it’s transmitting may not reach users’ devices effectively. 

Cramped space

Be honest – Is your router tucked away somewhere, like a cupboard or hidden behind things? We do understand that routers aren’t always the prettiest of things, and might be in-keeping with the design aesthetic of your home. But hiding it away in a cupboard or burying it under other things could well be the cause of your Wi-Fi woes. 

Where should I put my Wi-Fi router?

We’ve told you where not to put it – Let’s take a look at where your Wi-Fi router is going to work to the best of its ability. 

Place your router in a central location, out in the open 

Consider which room(s) you use the internet the most, or where you need the connection to be the strongest. If you work from home, do you have a home office? Where do you stream films or TV shows? Do you have online gamers in your home? 

The general rule of thumb is to place your router somewhere central to your home in an open space – That way you’ll stand the best chance of your Wi-Fi signal spreading throughout your home and reaching everywhere you need it to go. The further away you are from the router, the more signal strength is lost.

If your home office is outside at the bottom of the garden and getting the Wi-Fi out there is a bit of a stretch, you might like to have a read of our blog ‘How do I get Wi-Fi in my garden?’ which we wrote back in lockdown. 

Place your router high up 

You’ll find that your Wi-Fi signal is better the higher up your router is. If possible, install your router approximately 5- 7 feet off the ground. 

Somewhere like a high shelf could work well – But remember it needs to be plugged in and should also be away from windows. 

Your router emits signal out and down, so placing it up high should improve your signal range. 

Place your router away from thick building materials like brick, plywood and sheetrock

Certain types of building material like brick, plywood and sheetrock can hinder your Wi-Fi if you place your router too close to them. Try and avoid putting your router in a location where these materials could cause interference. 

Utilise available hardware and software

If, despite your best efforts, your Wi-Fi still isn’t quite reaching one area of your house then you could consider getting a booster to help you out. 

Also make sure that you keep up to date with software updates so your router is able to work at its optimum effectiveness.

Keep your Wi-Fi secure

Is your Wi-Fi password protected? Don’t just let all your neighbours and anyone passing by gain access to your Wi-Fi. Not only does this put your personal data at risk, it will also make everything slower! 

The more devices that are connected to your router, the slower the connection will be. Odds are you’ve already got a multitude of connected devices in your home as it is – You don’t need the neighbours’ devices too! 

Get in Touch

If moving your router to a new location doesn’t fix your Wi-Fi woes then have a look at some of our other blogs – We’ve got a lots of info on Wi-Fi problems and how to fix them.

For help with business Wi-Fi, large homes or rural internet please do give our Wi-Fi experts a call. We operate out of Hampshire, London and Cardiff covering the South of England.

Teltonika: End of Life Announcement for Routers

Teltonika has announced that they are discontinuing some of their routers, with an End of Life (EOL) being entered. These routers are used everywhere and will be sorely missed, but due to the current component shortage globally they have made this decision. 

The Teltonika Network products that are affected by this announcement are the:

What does this EOL announcement mean for you?

These products have entered their EOL, meaning they are in their final phase of the product life cycle. 

Here at Geekabit we are big fans of Teltonika Network products, and have installed them for clients across London, Hampshire and Cardiff. 

If these are products that you aren’t ready to lose out on, then don’t panic! There is still time to get an order in, and you’ll also be able to get ongoing support for them. 

What’s the EOL timeline for these Teltonika products?

Following the official EOL announcement from Teltonika Networks on the 1st February, here are the following dates to make note of: 

  • 31st July 2023 – This is the last date you will be able to order one of the above routers.
  • 31st December 2023 – This date marks the end of production, no further routers of this type will be manufactured.
  • 30th June 2024 – There will be no new software releases for these products after this date. Any RutOS improvements, updates and system features released prior to this date will remain available for the affected devices.
  • 31st December 2025 – Software support for these products will cease. Critical security, bug fixes and other support will be provided by Teltonika Networks up until this date.

What does the future hold for Teltonika Network routers?

If, like our Wi-Fi experts here at Geekabit, you are wondering what the future holds without having these go-to router products then read on for Teltonika Networks recommendations. 

The world of Wi-Fi know that these RUT240, RUT950 and RUT955 routers are key players when it comes to IoT devices and solving connectivity issues. 

If we can’t have those routers, then which should we choose for a comparable product?

Teltonika Networks recommend the following future replacements for the products entering EOL:

  • RUT240 – If this is your router of choice, then you could look at the RUT241 or RUT200
  • RUT950 – For possible replacements of this product, check out RUT 951 or RUT901 which will become available by March this year.
  • RUT955 – An alternative for this router could be the RUT956 but do bear in mind that it doesn’t support MicroSD cards like the 955 does. 

If this end of life announcement affects you, then the best thing to do is give Teltonika Networks support team a call and they can advise the best possible replacements to fit your needs. 

You can contact their team here.

Need some Wi-Fi help?

If your business or large rural home needs some help to achieve a strong, reliable connection then please do get in touch with one of our Wi-Fi experts. We can site survey, design, plan and deploy the Wi-Fi solution to meet your requirements. Get in touch with us today. 

Launch of UniFi Mobile Router

As regular installers of Ubiquiti kit since 2013, we’re excited to see the pending launch of their UniFI Mobile Router.

No signs yet that it is available in the UK, but as we work with Teltonika and Robustel 4G and 5G routers on a weekly basis, this has the potential to be a game changer in the market place for mobile connectivity Installers.

Enterprise clients will be looking to maintain the same manufacturer and one family of products wherever possible, and Ubiquiti will know this is a corner of the market they can easily win at.

How Much Electricity Does my Router Use – Should I Turn It Off?

Let’s face it, the temperature has dropped and in the current climate we’re doing anything we can to reduce our household bills. Many people are currently scrutinising their household appliances in a bid to see what’s using the most electricity and how they can reduce it. 

The most obvious culprits are of course anything that has a heating element – Washing machines, tumble dryers and dishwashers being big electricity hungry appliances. 

Consumer electronics also account for quite a chunk of our energy bills – About 6%. Think how many people you have in your home, and in turn how many of them have electronics that are plugged in a lot of the time. Laptop, games consoles, televisions. The trick is to switch them off from standby when you’re not using them…

But what about household items that are on all the time – Like your router? Is the internet ever not in use in your home? With the prevalence of smart homes comes the need for constant Wi-Fi connection. Hands up if you control your Christmas lights with Google Home or Alexa? Guilty. 

If you switched your router off overnight, what disruption would it cause? And is it even worth doing so? Let’s find out. 

Should I Turn My Router Off Overnight to Save Electricity? 

If you’ve joined energy saving forums or even if you’re just prone to the odd Google or blog read about how to keep bills down, you might have seen suggestions to switch off your router overnight along with other electricals. 

But what disruption could this cause? 

It’s worth remembering that most homes use broadband connections that are based off older style copper broadband lines (for example ADSL2+) or a hybrid of fibre optic and copper (e.g. FTTC / VDSL). These often use DLM technology (Dynamic Line Management) and its associated services.

A potential issue with these services is its negative response to repeatedly getting disconnected and having to reboot the router. This could cause your connection to become slower, which in turn brings its own problems! For this reason, it’s generally better to keep them switched on all of the time to avoid connectivity issues.

There are also a few other things to consider before switching off your router on your way to bed. 

  • Many routers receive security updates overnight so as not to cause any issues during the day. If you switch your router off every single night, then you could miss one of these security updates which could cause issues later down the line with device vulnerability.
  • Desperate to stay up to date with the latest Sky series but can’t stay awake long enough to watch it in real time? Then you might be someone who series links your shows so you never have to miss a moment. Except – In order for Sky (other providers are available) to be able to record said show, the TV needs to be connected to the internet. And oops – You switched the router off before you went to bed. No show for you.
  • Do you charge your smartphone overnight? Most use this opportunity to update to the latest software. If you’re not connected to the Wi-Fi then it likely won’t make any necessary updates. Likewise, if your phone stays on overnight, any notifications like WhatsApp or social media platforms will connect via your data rather than Wi-Fi which could result in your using up your data sooner than expected. 

Are these massive issues that you couldn’t possibly cope with? No, probably not. But if you’re used to things just quietly and consistently running in the background – Updates, show recordings, notifications – You might need to consider whether switching off your router overnight would work for you. 

And would it even be worth it? 

How Much Electricity Does a Router Use and Is it Worth Switching It Off Overnight?

Unfortunately it’s not possible for us to sit here and say exactly how much electricity a router uses as there are so many on the market and they will all be slightly different in terms of how much power they use. 

We can speak in general terms though. So generally speaking, a router will use roughly in a range of 2 to 20 watts to run. The average router uses 6 watts. 

So how much is that actually costing us? According to .Gov the current average price per kWh here in the UK is 34 pence. If you are using the average router at 6 watts per hour, then you would be using 0.00204 pence of electricity per hour that it’s running. 

Over the course of a day, that’s about 5p (rounded up) for the router to be on. So 35p per week, £1.37 per month. That’s a total of £16.45 for the year! 

So if you switched off your router overnight, let’s say for 9 hours, that’s really not going to be a massive saving is it? Every little helps and all that – But you’d be saving about 12p per week in exchange for the possible disruption we mentioned earlier. 

Even if you have one of the more expensive routers to run at 20 watts per hour, you would still only be saving about £1.26 per week. 

And let’s not forget that some homes have special economy metres that enable householders to benefit from lower priced electricity overnight. In which case, the savings from switching off your router would be even less! 

Whether or not it’s worth switching off your router to save electricity is really a personal preference! 

Is the Google Nest Wi-Fi Pro Any Good? 

Now that the deliveries have started to drop, the reviews are beginning to come in for the Google Nest Wi-Fi Pro – And so far they’re rather mixed opinions. So is it any good or not? 

Dubbed as the router for working-from-home and a valid step up from its predecessor – Is the Google Nest Wi-Fi Pro the right mesh router for you?

If you read our recent blog on this, you’ll already know that this latest Wi-Fi device from Google brings together Wi-Fi 6E, Thread and Matter functionality. (Wondering what Matter is when it comes to Wi-Fi? Read this). The Nest Wi-Fi Pro enables you to control your smart home devices through this mesh router.  

Wasn’t Google Nest already a mesh network? Yes. Back in 2016, Google launched it’s first mesh Wi-Fi system, followed by Nest Wi-Fi in 2019. This device topped many lists looking at the best mesh routers – Will the Google Nest Wi-Fi Pro follow in its footsteps?

They don’t come cheap – This latest addition to Google’s collection of Wi-Fi devices is more expensive than those before it. Which would make sense if it’s offering upgraded functionality. But is it worth the upgrade and the price? Let’s take a look. 

Google Nest Wi-Fi Pro – The Pros 

We’ll start with all the most positive things that make this new Wi-Fi device worthy of consideration for your home network. 

Why Does Wi-Fi 6E Compatibility Make a Difference for the Google Nest Wi-Fi Pro?

Perhaps the biggest upgrade from previous products is adding in Wi-Fi 6E functionality for the Google Nest Wi-Fi Pro. What does this actually mean? Let’s get technical for a second. The previous Nest device was compatible only with Wi-Fi 5, aka 802.11ac. This means that the router could only use the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands. With added Wi-Fi 6E functionality, the Nest Wi-Fi Pro can use the 6GHz band, giving you access to faster, more reliable internet. 

With the ability to access all 3 radio bands at the same time, the Nest Wi-Fi Pro can provide a combined maximum speed of 5.4 Gbps.

Unsurprisingly the addition of Wi-Fi 6E compatibility means the Nest Wi-Fi Pro will offer faster speeds for other Google products to make the most of – Think the Pixel 6, Pixel 6 Pro and the imminent Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro.  

It’s safe to say that Google are taking this new Wi-Fi standard and running with it, bringing the consumer a faster, more reliable internet connection. 

Google Nest Wi-Fi Pro Offers Sizeable Coverage With Scope to Branch Out

Even the largest of homes can secure a strong Wi-Fi signal with Google Nest Wi-Fi and Nest Wi-Fi Pro. With just the one unit you can gain coverage across 120 metres squared, and with the option to have a total of 5 units that’s 600 metres squared of coverage. This is what helps set Google’s Nest Wi-Fi mesh products apart from the rest. (Google doesn’t recommend exceeding 5 units so as to avoid any Wi-Fi interference). 

So whether you are living in a cosy flat or expansive mansion, the Google Nest Wi-Fi Pro has got you covered. What’s more, if you move into a larger property, it’s easy to add in another unit to scale up the coverage in your new home. 

How Many Connected Devices Can Google Nest Wi-Fi Pro Support?

The number of connected devices supported on the Google Nest WI-Fi Pro has increased to 300 (up from 200 on the previous Nest product). 

Why on earth would you need to support 300 devices on your network? Well that really depends on how large your home is and how many people live there. It’s not just about personal devices like laptops, tablets and smartphones. With the prevalence of the smart home, which this particular product is great for, comes the increase in smart home devices. Think smart light bulbs, smart speakers and any other connected devices you want to control remotely. 

The Google Nest Wi-Fi Pro has the capacity to handle these with ease, whereas a more traditional router might meet its limit rather quickly if you’re building a smart home. Furthermore, this device has the ability to prioritise connected devices so you get the connection where you need it most. With MU-MIMO technology, the Nest Wi-Fi Pro units can also communicate with multiple devices at the same time. 

Google Nest Wi-Fi Pro and Parental Controls

If you have children that use the internet, you’ll know only too well how important it is to have parental control over the Wi-Fi. 

The Google Nest Wi-Fi Pro has parental control software built in for free. This means you can:

  • Put your children on a Wi-Fi schedule e.g. no internet at meal times or after 8pm
  • Use Google SafeSearch technology to block content that is deemed unsafe
  • Edit control settings via the Family W-Fi menu in the app 

The fact that this is built in at no extra charge helps set the Google Nest Wi-Fi Pro apart from its competitors. For example, Orbi mesh routers from Netgear charge a subscription fee in order to set internet time limits and restrictions. 

It’s worth noting that this feature is also available on Google’s previous Nest Wi-Fi product as well. 

Matter and Thread Compatibility on the Google Nest Wi-Fi Pro

Google is really looking ahead with their latest product by including Matter support with this device. Technically it won’t be available from launch, but as we start to see an increase in more Matter-enabled devices creeping into our smart homes, it will make adding new products easier in the future. 

Like Matter, Thread is another network function being spoken about more and more. So it makes sense that the Google Nest Wi-Fi Pro also has a Thread border router built in. We could go into much more detail about Thread but we’ll save that for another time. For now, Thread offers a lower power mesh to your home network, so the ability to connect Thread smart devices in the future will be appealing to many.

Google Nest Wi-Fi Pro: Pros on Price

If you are looking for a simple, stand-alone Wi-Fi 6E router, then a single Nest Wi-Fi Pro unit is probably the cheapest option at a cost of £190. Other competitive alternatives are almost double this price. 

Even if you are looking at getting the pack of three units at £380, then it seems worth the money as you’re getting three units for roughly double the cost of one. That seems like pretty decent value to us. 

Google Nest Wi-Fi Pro – The Cons

So we’ve gone through the reasons why you might want to rush out and upgrade to this latest Wi-Fi product. But what could cause you to pause that thought? Let’s see. 

What’s the Design Like on the Google Nest Wi-FI Pro?

The aim of many modern Wi-Fi products is to make them less ugly. The less you are wanting to hide them away in a cupboard, the better these routers will actually work! But as with all things design wise, this can be hugely subjective. What appeals to the eye of one consumer might cause another one to immediately look away. 

For a mesh network to be effective, the units need to be spread about the home if you want to get the best Wi-Fi coverage. The previous Nest Wi-FI units have a soft, matte finish which some would argue makes it easier to blend in with other decor and not stand out too much. 

The Google Nest Wi-Fi Pro however, has a glossy finish that very much says ‘look at me’ – These are not meant to be hidden away! If you like the look of them and don’t mind making them a feature in your rooms then it’s all good. If you were hoping to let them lurk in a corner out of sight, that might be harder to do with these new units. 

It’s also worth noting that these Google Nest Wi-Fi Pro units don’t come with any mounting hardware, so if you were hoping to mount them to the wall or ceiling that might be rather difficult. On the plus side, they do have a rubber base so they’re unlikely to move around wherever you do place them. 

Does the Google Nest Wi-Fi Pro have Ethernet Ports?

We’ve just talked about the aesthetics of the Nest Wi-Fi Pro, and the lack of Ethernet ports fits into this. The design is minimalistic, hence why there are only two ethernet ports on these units. Of course, you could just add in a switch if you need more, but if you are picking the Nest Wi-Fi Pro based on it’s looks, then adding in a switch and hard wire might detract from the image you are looking for. 

This might not be a problem for many homes – Not many products need to be wired to the router and this device will be much faster than what has come before. However, if you have a security camera for example, you might find that it needs to be hardwired to the router via a hub.

The ports only support gigabit speeds which is a bit of a shame. 2.5GbE is becoming more common in order to offer the best possible speeds between wired and wireless. 

If you really need a router with plenty of Ethernet ports, then the Nest Wi-Fi Pro possibly isn’t the one for you – But worry not, there are other mesh routers available. 

What about Wi-Fi 7?

We know, we know, we’re only just getting to grips with the latest wireless standard Wi-Fi 6E. But Wi-Fi 7 is hot on its heels (as with all new technological developments – There is always something waiting in the wings). 

Wi-Fi 7 is set to arrive at the start of next year, offering consumers even faster internet speeds up to a possible maximum data rate of 5.8 Gbps. That’s more than double what Wi-Fi 6E has to offer! Amazingly, Wi-Fi 7 is set to feel like you’re using an Ethernet connection in terms of speed. That’s pretty impressive.

So whilst the Google Nest Wi-Fi Pro future proofs your network in terms of Matter and Thread, it won’t be compatible with Wi-Fi 7. The next Google development will likely take a few more years, so if you’ve already got a new router or your current Google Nest Wi-Fi is working well for your home then it might be worth waiting for the next Nest Wi-Fi Pro after this one. 

The Google Nest Wi-Fi Pro isn’t Backward Compatible

We all feel a bit more secure in making an upgrade if we know that the new device is backward compatible. We know that our other, older devices are safe and will still be able to function. This was true of the previous upgrade from Google Wi-Fi to Google Nest Wi-Fi. Unfortunately, the latest upgrade to Google Nest Wi-Fi Pro will not be backward compatible, which means that your current/previous units (routers or points for example) won’t be compatible with this new one so you won’t be able to combine the two. 

Whilst this may feel quite frustrating, if you’re considering buying a new mesh router anyway then this could be an ideal opportunity to replace what you’ve got to a completely new network that will offer you faster and more reliable internet as well as future proofing it for imminent Wi-Fi standard updates like Matter and Thread. 

Alternatively, the fact that you can’t link older products with the new might prompt you to buy a new mesh system altogether – Perhaps an Amazon offering to fit with your Alexa! 

Google Nest Wi-Fi Pro – The Verdict?

As we’ve discussed above, there are many pros and cons to consider when thinking about purchasing the latest Google Wi-Fi device. The final verdict really comes down to you and what your network demands are. 

Will this mesh network device work for you and your home? 

Wi-Fi 7 – World’s First Router Released

It feels like we’ve only recently been talking about Wi-Fi 6 being new on the internet scene, when up pops Wi-Fi 7! But actually, you might not know that the Wi-Fi 7 chipset infrastructure has actually already been available for a few months. 

Not only that, but last month we also saw the release of the world’s first Wi-Fi 7 router. Powered by Qualcomm, this router is the H3C Magic BE18000 Tri-band Wi-Fi 7 router. 

There’s not a great deal of information available yet as it’s so new, but look out for more from the China-based network technology vendor H3C for more announcements. 

This new Wi-Fi 7 router can purportedly deliver 18.443 Gbps peak data rate (which explains the BE 18000 in the name..) on 3 bands. 

What features will this new Wi-Fi 7 router support?

Due to it being powered by Qualcomm’s Networking Pro 1220 platform, the H3C Wi-Fi 7 router can support all the Wi-Fi 7 features you would expect it to, including:

  • 320 MHz channels
  • 4kQAM modulation
  • MLO

As the unit is tri-band, it is configured for 4×4 MU-MIMO on each of the 2.4 GHz, 5 GHz, and 6 GHz bands.

When will we see Wi-Fi 7 devices available on the market?

During May, Qualcomm as well as another 2 major chipset vendors introduced their offering of Wi-Fi 7 chipsets for both the device side and network side. 

As the prevalence of Wi-Fi 7 platforms increases, we’re likely to then start seeing Wi-Fi 7 devices appear on the market. We could be seeing Wi-Fi 7 enabled phones and laptops as early as the end of this year or early next year! 

We wouldn’t be surprised if the most influential technology event in the world, CES, will see the launch of the first Wi-Fi 7 device in 2023. 

Is Wi-Fi 7 certified by the Wi-Fi Alliance?

Before we get too carried away with all things Wi-Fi 7, it’s important to note that there is not currently any Wi-Fi 7 certification from the Wi-Fi Alliance. This means that even though the H3C Wi-Fi 7 router has been revealed, it cannot yet be certified as Wi-Fi 7. 

So technically, it’s more accurate for us to say that the H3C Wi-Fi 7 router has been designed in line with the standard IEEE 802.11be. 

But being the Wi-Fi geeks that we are – We are still pretty excited at the prospect of Wi-Fi 7 and a router that likely meets the upcoming features and specifications. 

Watch this space! 

Image from https://www.h3c.com/en/Products_Technology/Enterprise_Products/IntelligentTerminalProducts/Magic/BE18000/

Wi-Fi Woes at Home: Could it be your Router?

Wi-Fi is one of those things that we don’t tend to take much notice of – Until it breaks.

Just like when a power-cut stops our electric, or cloudy water comes out the tap – When our Wi-Fi goes down, we notice! Slow or faulty internet might be one of the most frustrating things of all time. There’s nothing quite as annoying – Whether you’re in the middle of a Netflix binge or an important Zoom meeting.

The last time you thought about your internet probably coincided with one of those moments. Maybe it was back when the first lockdown came in and you were suddenly thrust into a world of remote working. Or when schools were closed and you abruptly and unexpectedly became a teacher and had to navigate an online classroom with your children.

Never have we had to rely on our home Wi-Fi networks like we have the last 2 years. The world still looks like a bit of a scary place right now – Don’t let your home network be an added source of stress.

We might have electricians to sort out our electrics and plumbers to sort out our plumbing – But who sorts out our Wi-Fi in our homes? Here at Geekabit, our Wi-Fi experts are here to help you. Most people get sent a router from their broaband provider, plug it in and hope for the best (no judgement here!). But what about when that’s not enough to provide you with a reliable home Wi-Fi network?

We’re going to take you through the basics of Wi-Fi so you can make sure your router is providing your home with the network you need.

So let’s start from the beginning.

Wi-Fi Standards – What are they?

What we understand as Wi-Fi was only named that after the ability for us to connect to other computers and the internet has long been around.

It started out as 802.11 (The first Wi-Fi standard). Not quite the description you’d expect for such a transformative piece of technology! And certainly not a word that lends itself to the general population of internet users.

So what came next? Along came 802.11b (there was a 802.11a but we won’t go into that). Catchy huh! This was the first major revision of 802.11 which came in 1999 alongside the name Wi-Fi. These numbered standards come from the Wi-Fi Alliance – A global group of technology companies who ensure that anything labelled as a Wi-Fi product has been adequately tested as such.

This means that if you buy a product with Wi-Fi, such as a laptop, and you have a functioning Wi-Fi network, then the 2 will be able to connect. That’s the rule!

In the 20 years since we’ve had more revisions and improvements, taking us through more standards: 802.11b, 802.11g, 802.11n, 802.11ac and 802.11ax. They don’t exactly roll off your tongue do they?

What they have done however, is:

  • Increase the maximum speed
  • Minimise congestion in built-up areas
  • Improve connections when multiple users on different devices are accessing the same network

Wi-Fi Standards and Compatibility

What these complicated names also mean is that even the most technological savvy people don’t have much knowledge about how their home Wi-Fi network actually works. Again no judgement – It’s not your fault!

Without Googling or hunting down hardware – Do you know which of the standards above your home network supports? How about your laptop, tablet or smartphone?

Without also knowing what standard your router runs on, how could you know whether the standard your devices are running on is compatible?

Backward compatibility has its costs. If you have a new router running on the latest standard of 802.11ax, but your laptop is 20 years old with 802.11b compatibility, the laptop can only go as fast as the old standard. It can’t access the benefits of the newer standard that the router supports. Unfortunately, having this laptop connected to the network can cause the whole Wi-Fi system down to its level. For this reason, the default settings on many networks automatically kick off any older devices to stop problems arising for other users.

For this reason, it’s wise to make sure that the Wi-Fi standard that is supported, is common amongst your router and the devices connected to it.

The re-branding of Wi-Fi Standards

Thankfully assessing compatibility will become a lot easier now that the Wi-Fi Alliance has rebranded the Wi-Fi standards.

You might be surprised to find that you are already acquainted with the latest Wi-Fi standards – Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E.

With the branding of these newest standards, comes the relabelling of the older ones. They become:

  • 11 – Wi-Fi 1
  • 11b – Wi-Fi 2
  • 11g – Wi-Fi 3
  • 11n – Wi-Fi 4
  • 11ac – Wi-Fi 5
  • 11ax – Wi-Fi 6

The ones we need to know about and look out for are Wi-Fi 5 and Wi-Fi 6. Simply put – Your home Wi-Fi network will run better if use routers and devices that support the latest Wi-Fi standard.

We mentioned Wi-Fi 6E. This is the latest Wi-Fi standard which arrived this year. This standard, for the first time since the beginning of Wi-Fi, it uses 6GHz. This band is a new section of the radio spectrum which hasn’t been used by Wi-Fi before. This new standard will minimise interference with other networks and help achieve speeds we haven’t seen before.

Where do routers fit into all of this?

As you have seen, there has been a steady stream of Wi-Fi standards since the internet first emerged.

As with most things technological, improvements are constantly being made. We live in a world where there is always the newest device – Faster, more compact, better this, better that. Always competing with what came before it.

You probably replace your phone quite regularly, especially if you are on a contract or plan. Getting an upgrade is the norm! You may also do the same with laptops and tablets, TV’s and other smart devices around the home.

But do you do the same with your router?

Have you ever stopped to think that the router you’ve had since you moved in is stopping all your new devices from working to their optimum ability?

Your smartphone might support Wi-Fi 6, but that’s no good if your router is ten years old! Could your router be the cause of your home Wi-Fi problems? Slow internet speeds, bottlenecks, buffering?

What’s the point in spending thousands of pounds on the latest phone, tablet, laptop, smart TV etc if you haven’t invested in a router – And instead connect all your top-of-the-range devices to a box you got free from your provider when you moved in nearly a decade ago.

It seems pretty obvious now we’ve pointed it out, but so many of us do this very thing. We’re not trying to shame you – the majority of people don’t consider that their Wi-Fi woes could be a result of an older router.

‘I think my router could be causing my Wi-Fi problems – What do I do next?’

Assuming that the connection coming into your home is not ‘dodgy’ then a new router could be the answer to your Wi-Fi problems.

The majority of households have a pretty straightforward set of needs when it comes to Wi-Fi coverage. A simple change, such as a pair of Wi-Fi 6 ‘mesh routers’, could be just what you need to to provide a bit of extra bandwidth and even cover those annoying ‘black spots’. Esepcailly if one of those happens to be out in the garden where you desperately tried to catch a bit of sun whilst working from home during the summer!

For the cost of skipping the latest smartphone upgrade, you could fix the Wi-Fi problems for your entire household.

No more buffering mid Netflix binge. No more dropping out of video calls and online meetings. No more being ‘that colleague or friend’ that causes the tech problems.

This one small switch could be far more beneficial that upgrading your devices or doubling your monthly BT bill.

What if replacing your router could give all your Wi-Fi devices a new lease of life in your home?

 

Do I Need a Wi-Fi 6 Router?

Don’t suffer with the buffer! If you’re finding that your Netflix binge is being interrupted by buffering, or your Zoom calls keep freezing or pixelating then it’s a good idea to make sure that your router isn’t the culprit.

If you’re looking for fast, reliable broadband, then Wi-Fi 6 could be just what you’re looking for. Last time we blogged about the improvements from Wi-Fi 5 that Wi-Fi 6 will be bringing. If that hooks you in then read on and see whether a Wi-Fi 6 router might end up being a great investment for your business or household.

Wi-Fi 6 is specifically designed to improve the performance of your home network and increase network capacity. This latest generation of Wi-Fi standard will offer your home faster Wi-Fi speeds and a more reliable connection. What does this mean in real times? It means buffer-free streaming on Netflix (and other platforms) and quicker downloads – Even if your house is device heavy, it won’t slow down your internet.

More and more internet devices are Wi-Fi 6 ready, but will only work to their optimum if there is also a Wi-Fi 6 router in place. (Likewise, a Wi-Fi 6 router will only offer Wi-Fi 6 improvements for devices enabled with Wi-Fi 6 technology).

We thought we would share some of the reasons why you might want to consider a Wi-Fi 6 router next time you’re in the market for one (or even if you’re not!. )

My household has multiple devices – What will Wi-Fi 6 provide me in comparison to Wi-Fi 5?

Wi-Fi 6 will provide you with the highest level of performance, even in a device-heavy household.

Wi-Fi 5 provided us with great technology – Wi-Fi 6 is an extension of that. Whilst Wi-Fi 5 brought us gigabit speeds, it begins to fall short in homes where there are more and more devices being added. How many devices do you have in your home that connect to the Wi-Fi? Count them and we think you’ll be surprised! And this is only going to increase over time. Wi-Fi 6 helps with this because it uses OFDMA (orthogonal frequency division multiple access). This key feature means that it can increase your overall network efficiency by allowing several devices to connect to your Wi-Fi with various bandwidths.

What real-world speeds and range will Wi-Fi 6 provide?

Wi-Fi 6 will deliver the fastest real-world speeds.

Wi-Fi data travels on component streams on each of the frequency bands 2.4 GHz and 5GHz. Wi-Fi 5 and Wi-Fi 6 can carry the highest amount of streams, which allows for gigabit Wi-Fi speeds. Where Wi-Fi 6 goes further is that it increases the number of streams to 12 – A new high across the 2.4 and 5GHz bands. In comparison, Wi-Fi 5 only has a limit of 8 in a dual band configuration.

How do these streams affect your Wi-Fi? Not only does this increase in streams mean that you have access to a higher connection speed, it also means that your devices can communicate with your router via more paths. Compared to Wi-Fi 5 enabled devices, Wi-Fi 6 show an 40% increase in speed.

How is Wi-Fi 6 designed for the ‘Smart Home’?

Our homes are now full of smart devices. We can control the heating and the lights with the tap of a button on our phones. We can ask the postman to leave the parcel by the gate via our video doorbell. We turn music on via Alexa and we add to our shopping list by shouting Hey Google. We have smart TV’s as well as numerous laptops, tablets and smartphones all vying for a connection to the Wi-Fi. That’s a lot of devices. In fact, the average number of devices in the home has gone from 10 up to as many as 50. All of these put a load on your network.

Where does Wi-Fi 6 come in? Well, it’s been specifically designed to handle this demand on your Wi-Fi through the increase in devices – Without negatively impacting your internet speeds.

How will this affect your home? This improvement in internet speed will provide more reliability – Vital if you’re depending on it for your lights, thermostat and other IoT devices. The last thing you want with all these devices running is interrupted connectivity. Thankfully, Wi-Fi 6 will help with that

How will Wi-Fi 6 help with video streaming?

A Wi-Fi 6 router would be ideal for 4K/8K UHD streaming.

If you’ve tried to stream 4K or 8K video, then you’ll know it requires a constant high-speed connection. In busy, device-heavy households where everyone is trying to stream high-definition video you’re likely to start seeing buffering – It’s a big load on the network.

Wi-Fi 6 routers could help with all that thought. Annoying buffering will be a thing of the past due to a Wi-Fi 6 router’s ultra-fast processors, increased number of radio streams and increased memory.

You should find that Wi-Fi 6 routers will make streaming of HD video across multiple devices a lot better than older Wi-Fi technology.

Are Wi-Fi 6 products available now?

Yes – They’re already here! Future upgrades to smartphones, tablets and laptops will see the rise of Wi-Fi 6 enabled technology, so getting a Wi-Fi 6 router will mean you’re ready to benefit from all the improvements that Wi-Fi 6 has to offer – Like faster Wi-Fi speeds!

The great thing is that WI-Fi 6 routers will also work for Wi-Fi 5 devices (without the improvements) so it’s a great crossover for whilst you’re upgrading devices.

The Wi-Fi 6 portfolio of products is only going to get bigger, so consider whether a switch to a Wi-Fi 6 router would be a worthwhile investment for your home.

 

What’s Different About Wi-Fi 6?

Wondering what all the fuss is about when it comes to Wi-Fi 6? If you’re questioning what the differences are and whether it’s worth making hardware device changes, then read on.

The next generation of wireless standard is here (actually, it’s been here since the end of 2019). Wi-Fi 6, or 802.11ax has the following main differences:

  • It’s faster
  • It provides better performance in congested areas (think anything from your own device-packed home, to stadiums)

We know it informally as Wi-Fi 6 – Wi-Fi versions have now been assigned simple numbers to replace the more complicated code-like names that we saw before.

What are the Wi-Fi Version Numbers?

The new Wi-Fi version numbers are much more user friendly, but for the fellow geeks among us, here are what the new version numbers correspond to, plus (whilst not being officially branded) what all of the old versions would have been.

Wi-Fi 1 – 802.11b (released in 1999)

Wi-Fi 2 – 802.11a (also released in 1999)

Wi-Fi 3 – 802.11g (released in 2003)

Wi-Fi 4 – 802.11n (released in 2009)

Wi-Fi 5 – 802.11ac (released in 2014)

Wi-Fi 6 – 802.11ax (released in 2019)

You might start to see these newer version numbers appear in software when connecting your smartphone, tablet or laptop, to enable you to see which Wi-Fi networks are newer and faster. This is what the Wi-Fi Alliance announced that they would like to be seeing across networks. It’s worth noting that it isn’t mandatory for manufacturers to label their products with Wi-Fi 6 instead of 802.11ax, but we’re hopeful that most will. Re-naming products from 802.11ac to Wi-Fi 5 might be another matter though!

Wi-Fi That’s Faster

As with most technological advances, the latest development in Wi-Fi standard is faster in terms of data transfer speeds. In comparison to Wi-Fi 5, a Wi-Fi 6 router would provide one device with up to 40% higher speeds.

What Makes Wi-Fi 6 Faster?

The reason Wi-Fi 6 can achieve such faster speeds is due to more efficient data coding which thus results in higher throughput. Basically, the radio waves are packed with more data. With each Wi-Fi standard, the ability for the chips to encode and decode the data gets more powerful, hence why Wi-Fi 6 is faster than Wi-Fi 5, and can handle extra work.

You may be aware that we have 2 frequenceis used for networks – 5GHz and 2.4GHz. 5GHz is more commonly used as it is subject to less interference, however 2.4GHz is still a good option for being able to penetrate solid objects. Wi-Fi 6, the new standard, even increases speeds on these 2.4GHz networks.

How Will Wi-Fi 6 Affect the Battery Life on my Device?

Many Wi-Fi 6 enabled devices will have a new ‘target wake time’ feature. This means that an access point can define a specific set of times when devices connected to the internet need to have access to the wireless network. This new efficiency should mean that your Wi-Fi enables devices should have a longer battery life.

Let’s take your smartphone, for example. When the AP is talking to your phone, it can tell it when to put it’s Wi-Fi radio to sleep and when to wave it up to receive the next transmission. Because your device can spend more time in sleep mode, you should find your battery lasts longer.

It also means that devices that connect via Wi-Fi with lower power can benefit from longer battery life.

Wi-Fi That Performs Better in Crowded Areas

We know there hasn’t been much opportunity for it as late, but picture trying to get online at an airport, hotel or live event at a stadium. When an area is as congested with devices as these, you can suffer with slow Wi-Fi and even struggle to connect.

Wi-Fi 6 tackles just this problem. With new technology, superior to previous Wi-Fi standards, it’s purported that Wi-Fi 6 will improve the average speed of each user by at least 4 times. Even in crowded areas with lots of devices.

This isn’t just something that will benefit you when out in public places – It could be a huge help in your home as well. If you have a large family all with multiple devices connected to Wi-Fi, then this could be just the solution to stop the slow-down. Or perhaps if you live in a densely populated place, like a block of flats.

How Does Wi-Fi 6 Tackle Congestion from Multiple Devices?

There are various features that help Wi-Fi 6 better tackle the problem of heavily crowded networks. Just knowing that a Wi-Fi 6 device connected to a Wi-Fi 6 access point will work better may well be enough for you!

For those who want all the geeky details, here’s what’s going on to make Wi-Fi 6 better for networks with multiple or many devices.

Wi-Fi 6 technology is able to create a large number of sub-channels within one wireless channel. Date intended for each individual device can be carried by each sub-channel. This technology is called Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access (OFDMA). Essentially this means that a Wi-Fi 6 enabled access point can talk to more devices at once.

Wi-Fi 6 also has improved MultipleIn/Multiple Out (MIMO). Again, this lets the access point talk to multiple devices at once through multiple antennas. The difference between this and Wi-Fi 5, is that while the latter enabled an access point to talk to multiple devices at the same time, it couldn’t allow the devices to respond at the same time, thus slowing things down. The new improved MIMO on Wi-Fi 6 is a multi-user version (MU-MIMO) which enables devices to respond to the access point at the same time.

Let’s look at another potential scenario. Wireless access points that are locating close to one another may transmit on the same channel. This means that the radio needs to listen and wait for a clear signal before it can reply. Wi-Fi 6 uses spatial frequency re-use which allows you to configure Wi-Fi 6 wireless access points with different Basic Service Set (BSS) colours, which consists of a number between 0 and 7. The device can then determine whether a particular channel has a weaker signal, and thus ignore it and transmit without waiting. This is another way in which Wi-Fi 6 will improve wireless performance in congested areas.

These are just a couple of the improvements to be seen from the new Wi-Fi 6 standard. There are many more, smaller enhancements which will improve the speed and performance with Wi-Fi 6.

How Do I Know If Something has Wi-Fi 6?

Luckily, thanks to this handy article, you’re now familiar with all the technical names of the different Wi-Fi standards, so you’ll know exactly what to look for. Right? Don’t panic! We’re only kidding. Thanks to the new versions, it’ll be easy for you to find devices that are certified Wi-Fi 6 (rather than hunting around for 802.11ax!). Device manufacturers are able to say whether their product is Wi-Fi 6 or Wi-Fi 5.

You may also start to see a logo saying ‘Wi-Fi 6 Certified’ on relevant devices. This means that the product has gone through the Wi-Fi Alliance’s certification process. The old Wi-Fi Certified logo simply told you it was Wi-Fi Certified, rather than what generation of Wi-Fi a product was. The new logo will make it clear if it is Wi-Fi 6. So there will be no need for trawling through product specifications!

When Can I Get Wi-Fi 6 Enabled Devices?

The new Wi-Fi 6 standard was finalised in 2019, with hardware being released in the latter part of the same year and into 2020. So you should be seeing Wi-Fi 6 enabled products in the market now. It’s shouldn’t be something you need to put too much thought into – As new routers, smartphones, tables and laptops are released into the market, they will just start to come with this new Wi-Fi 6 technology.

It’s worth remembering that to benefit from the improvements on the new Wi-Fi 6 standard, you need both the sender and receiver devices to support this latest generation of Wi-Fi 6. Whatever the connection, it will only operate in the mode that your device supports. For example, you may have a Wi-Fi 6 enabled router, a Wi-Fi 6 enabled smartphone, but a laptop that only supports Wi-Fi 5. You’ll see the advantages of Wi-Fi 6 on your smartphone, but the laptop will only work at Wi-Fi 5 capacity.