Illustration: James Best Jr./The New York Times

Illustration: James Best Jr./The New York Times

The good, bad, and the boring of wifi performance.

I’m not sure I feel any better after reading this piece on boosting your home network. I’ve tried a couple of range extenders, and it seems like the signal is stronger. At least it displays as such on the monitor via the signal strength icon. But, the signal still drops from time to time. Maybe in a different way, a different frequency. My gut feel is that if you have a problem signal for any number of reasons that are related to construction of the walls, or other blockages, you’ll likely have the same trouble you had before. Perhaps to a slightly lesser extent, but still bothersome. Worst case is you’d have to physically move your set up, or the router. The suggestions to hard line all your devices is really nuts in my opinion. Its WIFI, for crying out loud. Who wants to go to the trouble of running ethernet all over the place.

The takeaway here is to pay attention to positioning and location of the routers. Update your software, and don’t hoped on to a route that is more than, say, 5 years old.

I’ll let you know when technology gets good enough to make Wifi more reliable. Just not there yet.

Read more at the NY Times

 Improving Your Home Network

By Erica A. Taub

NETGEAR is best known as a company that makes the routers that direct Wi-Fi traffic on home computer networks, but its fastest growing product isn’t a router. It’s a device called a network extender, which is meant to improve — and extend — a home’s balky Wi-Fi signal.

That surprising fact about Netgear should tell you all you need to know about the state of home networking. Unstable connections force users to start their routers every few weeks. Thick walls dull Wi-Fi signals. Poorly located routers mean a Wi-Fi signal can’t reach an entire house. And slow connection speeds can make any sort of downloading or streaming a drag.

In short, setting up the ideal home network is often easier said than done. There are ways, however, to make it less aggravating and more reliable. You just need to be willing to experiment.

To start, consider where your router is. Hiding it under the kitchen sink may be good for aesthetics, but it won’t make for the best possible wireless connection.

To maximize coverage, your router must be out in the open. Router manufacturers say that, ideally, it should be in the center of the house.

That may not be easy, if the coaxial or telephone cable that carries the Internet signal into your house is in a corner or — most likely — the side of the house closest to the street. Like it or not, that’s where you’ll have to connect your router.

Most modern routers operate in two bands, 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz, and you can choose the band you want. The 2.4Ghz signal travels farther but is susceptible to interference from common household appliances, like microwave ovens, wireless landline phones and vacuum cleaners. (That’s another reason not to keep your router in your kitchen.)

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