How Can We Improve Our Home WiFi Network?

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While average internet speeds are improving in Australia due to the roll out of the NBN, there is one very important bottle neck which is slowing everything down and causing a lot of frustration… the home WiFi network.

The Rise of Internet-Connected Devices in Australian Homes

In the past decade, a strong, reliable home WiFi network has gone from a ‘nice-to-have’ to an essential part of everyday life. There is so much in modern life that depends on the internet, tasks that were previously done offline. From banking and shopping, to finding local tradies and communicating with friends, the ability to reliably connect to the internet has never been so central to our lives.

WiFi Connected Devices in Homes

There are a staggering number of WiFi enabled devices in the average Australian home. NBNCo, the company tasked with delivering fast, reliable internet to every home in Australia, has estimated the average number of internet-connected devices in an Australian home to be 13.7. When talking to our customers, we find most of our customers have more than 20! This might sound like a lot, but once you actually consider all the various mobile phones, tablets, gaming platforms, smart TVs, laptops and desktop computers in your home, it’s probably not sounding that outrageous.

Add to that the rise of the IoT movement (Internet of Things), and there will be more and more internet-enabled devices entering our homes, making our lives easier and more connected. It's estimated that by the year 2021 a typical Aussie home will have over 30 connected devices! Think fridges, coffee machines, light bulbs, electric blinds, smart door locks, wallet and key trackers, bike locks, irrigation controllers, temperature sensors and air-conditioners, light switches, CCTV cameras, ovens speakers, and so much more all connecting to the internet!

We’re going to need much more stable, reliable internet connections in our homes if they’re going to be able to handle the increased load of all these additional devices.

Are Our Current Home Networks Going To Be Able To Cope?

While average internet speeds are improving in Australia due to the roll out of the NBN, there is one very important bottle neck which is slowing everything down and causing a lot of frustration… the home WiFi network.

The typical Australian home has a cheap modem/router provided to them for free by their internet provider, the one that came in the box when you signed up to a new internet plan. It’s probably installed in a study or bedroom down one end of the house, and has done an ‘ok’ job at providing a home WiFi network that enables you to connect to the internet throughout your home.

When you are nice and close to the modem, you get a great signal and the internet works fine. But down the other end of the house you struggle with speed and connectivity. And when everyone in the house is using the internet at the same time, everything grinds to a halt.

Does this scenario sound familiar?

The reason for this is that these modem/routers have a lot of jobs to do. They are a modem, router, network switch and a wireless access point all at the same time! There is a lot of technology packed into these little boxes. Consider also that you are getting this product for ‘free’ so it’s unlikely to be high quality.

For the technically minded, the modem connects you to the internet via your ISP. The router is like a traffic cop directing the traffic in your network and the switch provides additional ethernet ports so you can physically connect multiple wired devices. The wireless access point (WAP) is a wireless switch that enables you to connect multiple wireless devices.

Each of these elements is a critical component to provide a good home network, but the typical modem/router is a ‘Jack of all trades’. It tries to do everything, but in the end it is a ‘master of none’. The area it really lets us down in is the WiFi network. These modems are just not able to connect the number of devices in the modern family home or provide a strong enough signal throughout the whole home even if it is placed right in the middle of the house.

How Can We Improve Our Home WiFi Network?

The way to improve your home WiFi network to resolve your connectivity issues is to reduce your reliance on the modem/router that was provided by your internet provider. Kenner Electrics can separate out some of the roles that the modem is trying to deliver, instead installing equipment that specialises in one particular component of the home WiFi network.

A separate Wireless Access Point (WAP) compliments the typical home modem/router perfectly.

Ubiquity Unifi Wireless Access Points (WAP) come in various sizes and designs to suit your home

While the tech savvy amongst us will also choose a separate router and switch to really get the most of the internet connection, most homes will be fine with just the WAPs installed.

Unifi Switch for Home Wifi Network
Ubiquity Unifi Switch

A WAP is a standalone device that creates a local wireless network in your home. The WAP is wired directly to the router, but can be installed in a separate location in your home for optimal coverage. The WAP will increase the bandwidth of your WiFI network, enabling more devices to be connected simultaneously. If multiple WAPs are installed throughout the home (as may be required in larger or double storey homes), it creates one single WiFi network so there is no need for the devices to be swapping between different networks within your home.

Proper WAPs should not be confused with ‘network extender’ devices that you plug into a powerpoint, as these devices create a separate network which will actually slow down the entire system and cause your devices to have to keep jumping from network to network as you move throughout the home.

Network Access Point
A 'network extender' does not do the same job as a Wireless Access Point

Wireless Access Points by Ubiquity

Kenner Electrics recommends the installation of Ubiquity Unifi WiFi Wireless Access Points (WAP). These products are specifically designed to be brilliant at the one job they do, providing a strong, fast and reliable WiFi network. This means that they can handle more devices, provide faster speeds, over a larger area and with less drop outs!

Unifi Wireless Access Point
Ubiquity Unifi Wireless Access Point (WAP)
  • To provide a fantastic WiFi network throughout a 1-2 bedroom single storey home would require one central WAP.
  • A larger single storey home would need 2 x WAPs installed in separate areas of the house to allow for increased coverage.
  • A typical double storey home would require 1-2 x WAPs spaced apart downstairs, and a third WAP installed upstairs.

Ubiquity Unifi WAPs are ideally installed on the ceiling so that they can achieve optimal coverage, but they can also be installed in cupboards if you prefer them to be out of sight.

Electrician installs wireless access point
Kenner Electrics supplies and installs Unifi Wireless Access Points to improve your home WiFi network

If faster, more reliable internet with better coverage throughout your home sounds like something you’d benefit from, give Kenner Electrics a call on (03) 9996 0663 or visit our website to see how we can help.