I was going to name this post “How to fix your wifi” but as everyones setup is a little different, I thought I would stick to my experience and with my setup.
It’s amazing how many devices households have these days. Devices such as phones, tablets, computers, smart home assistants (Alexa etc) and smart TV’s just to name a few. Having your tech savvy mother in-law come over to stay (as in my case) pushes the limits in more ways than one. 😉 Just kidding I adore my mother-in-law.
The problems I encountered were not just due to the number of devices. Here is how it all started:
- I had a standard router that came with the internet service provider; Constant drop out on wireless but fine when connected via ethernet.
- Discovered there were too many wifi’s around my immediate area running on wifi networks on 2.4GHz (Wifi runs on particular channels and can interfere with each other )
- Purchased a new router Dlink DSL-4320L. This router has the advantage of having both 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands (as you will see later, a purchase I didn’t have to make)
- Great! Family happy, for now.
- Complaints start creeping in. “Dad Fotnite is lagging“, “I don’t use the wifi anymore to FaceTime as its faster from the cell/mobile phone“. “I’m connecting to 2GHz as I can never find the 5GHz:”. The internet is not working again…..
To add to it all I was getting a really weird issue where my main 5GHz band was disappearing from my wifi list and it started around the same time my mother-inlaw came to stay with us.
Not really knowing why suddenly it was being very unstable I went about my normal troubleshooting steps. Reboot the router etc with no luck. What it came down to was too many devices on the router using wifi.
With the mother-inlaw joining us it tipped the limit entirely, adding an additional 3 devices to the existing number of devices. To handle so many devices I had to rely on some other solution. Along comes Mesh Wifi.
Mesh Wifi or Whole Home Wifi systems consists of a main router that connects directly to your modem, and a series of satellite modules, or nodes, placed around your house for full Wifi coverage. They are all part of a single wireless network and share the same SSID and password, unlike traditional Wifi routers. There are a few out there including Google Wifi and NETGEAR Orbi. I went with the Orbi.
Using a Mesh Wifi worked like a charm. Here’s how I set it up:
- I decided to keep my existing router and connect the Orbi Router to it directly.
- To make it simpler for the family I disable all of the Wifi from the existing router (Refer to your routers manual on how to do this)
- I put the other Orbi Satellite in the family room near the TV
With the above setup I was also able to reduce the number of wireless connections in the house by taking advantage of the two ethernet connections at the back of the Orbi Satellite. I purchase two ethernet cables and used them to connect the TV and the Playstation.
So far its been great, no more complaints. One last tip, make sure the power for the Orbi can’t be accidentally unplugged from the power socket. Yes it happened.
- Use wired ethernet connections where you can. Reduces the number of devices connecting to your wifi
- Keep your firmware/software up to date on your router and Mesh Wifi