Killing Wi-Fi dead spots on your network
How Wireless AC can help improve the reliability and range of a home network.
We’ve all experienced problems with home Wi-Fi networks, the most common being what can be described as ‘dead spots’, or rooms seemingly out of range of the wireless router.
In some cases, this can be down to the distance involved but it is more likely to be caused by the number of intervening walls and doors that the signal has to go through, their thickness and the materials they’re made from.
Interference from other networks and things like home security systems and even wireless doorbells can also have an impact, resulting in patchy and unreliable coverage or, worse still, no connection at all, often in areas where you really need it.
There are several ways of addressing these Wi-Fi signal problems, the first step being to choose a wireless channel not already in use and relatively free from other interference.
Some routers will tell you which is the best channel to use, plus it’s possible to download apps for both Android and Apple devices to identify and test Wi-Fi signal strength. Alternatively, you can simply configure your router to use each available channel, in turn, to see which gives the best results.
Physically relocating the router can also help although, as it still needs to be connected to your phone line or cable outlet, you may not be able to move it very far. Another option is to install a Wi-Fi extender, like the D-Link Wireless N300 Range Extender (DAP-1320), designed to plug into a power socket near an area of poor reception to propagate and strengthen the signal coming from the wireless router.
The underlying problem, however, is the popularity of Wireless N and earlier Wireless G in the home, and the fact that the majority of free routers use these technologies in the crowded 2.4GHz waveband. An issue that Wireless AC Wi-Fi addresses head-on while, at the same time, improving the way wireless signals are handled to make poor Wi-Fi coverage a thing of the past.
Better with Wireless AC
Although Wireless N offered the option of using the 5GHz spectrum, most implementations still operate in the 2.4GHz waveband.
Wireless AC, however, can only be operated at 5GHz where there’s a lot more channels available for Wi-Fi network traffic and a lot less interference from things like Bluetooth accessories and domestic appliances, both of which should help when it comes to coverage. However, there’s a lot more to the new standard than that.
One important new feature is support for so-called ‘beamforming’, to concentrate and direct wireless signals to target devices rather than simply transmitting in all directions and hoping for the best.
As an optional part of the Wireless AC standard, D-Link is embracing beamforming from the outset to further enhance its popular SmartBeam™ technology to provide a strong and stable Internet connection in every corner of the home.
D-Link AC SmartBeam routers – such as the DIR-868L – are able to automatically adjust their wireless signals to provide an optimised connection for each device to minimise interference and extend coverage. More than that, the beamforming technology in the DIR-868L helps the router deliver higher wireless speeds, and save energy by adjusting the amount of power used for wireless connections.
Plus, like other D-Link routers, the DIR-868L comes with the free mydlink Cloud Service which, with downloadable apps to configure your Wi-Fi settings and monitor usage from a smartphone or tablet.
With dual-band radios to provide backward compatibility with earlier Wi-Fi devices, the D-Link DIR-868L can be deployed now to help eliminate network dead spots.
At the same time, it will also future proof your wireless network, ready to take advantage of the many and exciting new high-bandwidth Wireless AC devices already starting to appear on the market.