How Home WiFi Works

Home WiFi is an essential component of our daily lives. But what is WiFI? How does it work? Is there a way to make it work better? Let’s take a deeper dive into the basics of WiFi, how it works and how you can strengthen your home WiFi signal.

What is WiFi?

Majority of people assume WiFi is internet, however, they are not the same thing. The internet is one huge global network that links computers all over the world. WiFi is a term used for wireless networks that connect devices to each other without using any cables. Most routers have a wireless access built-in, which makes it easy and convenient to connect devices in your home.

​Even if your internet connection goes down, your WiFi is still connected, but not to the internet. In addition, if your WiFi signal drops when you’re far away or there is interference, you will likely have full internet speeds coming in, and your ISP may say “it’s all working fine”. It’s only the WiFi signal that’s too weak to get you connected within your home.

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WiFi = Radio

WiFi works the same way as other wireless devices. It uses radio frequencies to deliver signals between devices. Inside every phone, laptop and tablet is a tiny radio transmitter and receiver. Similar to a car’s radio, the strength of the signal depends on how near or far you are from the radio station. Trees, buildings, power lines, and other radio stations can affect the radio signal as well. When you have a poor radio signal, the station sounds choppy or weak. Similar with WiFi; floors, doors and walls can weaken your WiFi signal. When you have a poor signal, everything slows down.

WiFi can only penetrate through walls in short distances. The best WiFi signal is always line of sight. However, other signals can become a problem. If you are living in a dense neighborhood or apartment building, there are dozens of WiFi signals competing with yours for airtime. In addition, 2.4G WiFi overlaps with cordless phones, baby monitors, Bluetooth devices and even microwaves!

How to Strengthen Your Signal

If the problem is a weak signal, what can we do about it? Let’s go through a few options for you to try strengthening your WiFi signal at home!

Option 1: Plug It In Directly

Anything that’s connected directly with a wire will work better. Wired connections use ethernet cables, which come in lengths of up to 300 feet. Usually, you can plug your PC and smart TV straight into the back of your router. Even if those devices have WiFi capabilities, taking it off of the network will improve the signal for everything else in your home.

Option 2: Wireless Access Points

Wireless access points are used to expand the WiFi network by adding additional locations throughout the home to broadcast the signal. They avoid the interference problem completely!

They usually look like a small smoke alarm, and they are directly wired into your router. They work very well, however, installing them on your own can be difficult. We advise contacting your internet service provider to install these points for you. If you are a Broadlinc customer and interested in adding access points, please contact us and we can have these installed for you in no time!

Option 3: Mesh WiFi

Mesh WiFi or Whole Home WiFi systems consists of a main mesh router or “node” that connects directly to your modem, and there are a series of nodes placed around your house for full WiFi coverage. They are similar to wireless access points, however, they are not directly wired into your main router.

Instead, the nodes communicate with each other to broadcast the WiFi signal and send information over the WiFi network. They have built-in frequency sensing to avoid interference with each other, and they can hand off devices seamlessly. All you have to do is plug in the main mesh router to your modem, and it does the rest for you! Broadlinc offers mesh routers called Whole Home WIFi, also known as Super Pods. If you would like to learn more about our mesh routers, please contact us for a breakdown of the system.

​Home WiFi plays an important role in our daily lives. We need it for almost everything we do on a daily basis, which is why having a strong signal is key. Following these quick and easy tips can strengthen your signal and provide an overall better home WiFi experience.

Written By Chris Saenz, IT & Business Support