Now that many of us are at home 24 hours a day as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we've been giving our home networks a real workout. But are you using your networks and home broadband to their fullest potential? I've been working from home for 15 years: Here's how I got my wireless network running in top form.
If your router or cable modem is old, replace it
If your ISP supplied you with a cable modem or a residential gateway five years ago or more, you might want to consider replacing the hardware. Wi-Fi standards have evolved considerably in the last several years, and your devices may support newer standards than your router/access point does. 802.11g (introduced in 2003) has a maximum transmission speed of 65Mbps and only supports a single antenna/transmitter with a 20Mhz total bandwidth. 802.11n (introduced in 2009) is a dual 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz standard, supporting 40Mhz and 80Mhz channels.
Depending on the capabilities of the client hardware communicating with them, the most recent 802.11ac and 802.11x (Wi-Fi6) standards can transmit data using 160Mhz channels, using multiple beam-forming antennas, and transmitters (MU-MIMO). This is only possible using modern Wi-Fi chipsets supported by smartphones, tablets, and laptops introduced in the last three years.
Cable modem technologies have also improved, with DOCSIS 3.1 that can support 1Gbps transfer speeds due to multi-channel support -- so call your ISP and find out if that might improve your broadband speeds. An upgrade to a higher level of service may be necessary to support it.
Use the right frequency for the right job
2.4Ghz networks may be your only option for legacy