WI-FI has come so far in recent years. Many people I see in the store are still stuck looking at a waiting icon when using WIFI at home. One common statement from my customers is that they want something that’s easy to set-up.
Check out this rundown of the Netgear Nighthawk with one of the most straight forward set-ups I’ve ever seen:
It could be the right one for your home. See one of our specialists in store for a solution that’s perfect for you.
Does this sound like you or someone you know?
Meet my parents.
They are not nerdy in the least. They have two smartphones, a game console, two laptops and a tablet. That’s 6 total. Mom uses her tablet while watching Netflix through a game console, while Dad is in the office doing research and chatting on Skype. That’s two video streams at the same time as two web browsing sessions. Truth is they are the new normal.
Sometimes my Mom would complain that her Netflix wouldn’t work if my Dad opened a Skype window while uploading files to Skydrive.
Does this sound familiar? Has it happened to you? How many devices do you own that access the internet wirelessly? If you’re an average household the answer is probably 5 or 6. Where do most of your devices connect to the internet at home? Through a wireless router.
Most people I deal with are similar to my parents. They aren’t tech savvy yet they can easily consume an above average amount of bandwidth.
I did some quick checks on my parents’ system and realized that the problem wasn’t with any of the devices like my parents thought. It was with the router.
Turns out a three year old router just wouldn’t cut it anymore.
My parents had an older wireless N router. It was one of the first ones that came out. It was better than what their internet service provider offered which was only wireless G. For a while it was fine and didn’t hiccup. Then they got new laptops, a tablet and eventually smartphones. The router was ok if only one of them was doing stuff but once they both started doing things the connection slowed to a crawl.
After some frustrating nights of staring at blank screen waiting for connections my Dad called me up and asked what was going on. He was asking me about the different speeds from his provider and which one he should use. I knew what he needed to do but it didn’t involve a higher monthly bill. My answer: Buy a new router.
After getting the new one setup they were back in action and no matter who was doing what, no one slowed down. They didn’t need to upgrade their speed from their provider at all.
Why doesn’t a 3 year old router cut it anymore?
Well most of the technology inside of older routers is the same as it was a few years ago. The difference is that now there’s more bandwidth available at more affordable prices. There are also different steps in wireless N that allow for everyone to buy a router for their needs without spending more than necessary.
I tested a new D-Link router at my house to see what it could do for people like my parents. Being a lot more nerdy than my parents, I have 17 things that could connect to it over WIFI.
On most days my family needs 6 connections at once just like my parents. My house is about 1600 sq/ft on three floors if you include the basement. It’s a townhouse with lots of interference from neighbours’ wireless routers and we hang out in the back-yard lots. My basement is where the router lives which is solid thick concrete.
Here is my solution to the router jam.
What it’s got that’s important:
– Wireless N 900 — maximum 900 Mpbs vs maximum 150 or 300 from the old router
– Dual band antennas — 2.4ghz is cluttered but needed on some older devices 5ghz is much clearer
– Smart beam technology – higher power antennas push the signal out further even outside
What I found:
– Gave my 4 year old a tablet with streaming an HD movie from Skydrive
– My wife grabbed her laptop and went on Facebook chat while doing some emailing and uploading high resolution files to our photo lab to print on canvas
– I fired up a game console and downloaded a couple full games from the store
– While that was going I went on my laptop and opened up Skype and chatted with someone in Vancouver
Nothing slowed down at all. The games downloaded perfectly while my Skype video and the tablet didn’t skip a single frame. I walked into the back yard and kept chatting without any interruptions.
My wife didn’t miss a single blip on Facebook and the photos uploaded without interruption.
To top it off, it was amazingly easy to setup. You don’t even need a disk or a nerd for a son and you can set one up in 5 minutes. Great range and speed. Overall an amazing router. This little D-Link is now my silent champion keeping us connected all day without slowdowns.
In @LD_Saskatoon for @LDComputers
We live a privileged life in Canada. Wherever we go, hotels either offer free Wi-Fi or have Wi-Fi charges tied to a room, rather than a device.
Free Wi-Fi, of course, is good and when I travel I generally try to stay at hotels that offer free Wi-Fi. However, sometimes the choice is limited. In general terms, even when they charge for Wi-Fi, most hotel chains in Canada charge what most consider rational rates.
Some chains charge for Wi-Fi but offer that for free if you are a member of their loyalty clubs. Joining those clubs just for the free Wi-Fi is well worth the trouble, if you travel a lot as I do.
What bothers me are hotels that charge for Wi-Fi and charge by the device. That happened to me in a recent trip to the USA and my last trip to Hong Kong. As we all know, our arsenal of Wi-Fi devices is growing exponentially. Our phones, computers, tablets and ereaders are now all connected to a network. I generally travel with at least one computing device, either a computer or a tablet, and a phone. That is the bare minimum and in some cases, I go with both a tablet and a computer.
That’s what I did in this recent trip. The hotel offered Wi-Fi for $19.95 a day, which is not too bad. However, when the grossly misnamed “Welcome” screen came on, it added the words “per device”. Now, that really sucks. At $19.95 plus taxes and other levies, this Wi-Fi was going to cost me more than $60 a day for my three essential pieces of work equipment.
Luckily for me, my employers and their auditors, I was experimenting with a Dlink travel router, a.k.a DIR-505 Mobile Companion. Umm………………. I wondered………………………
I attached the router to the network using the network cable. I logged onto the router, not the Wi-Fi service, with my computer and proceeded to activate the Wi-Fi account. The Wi-Fi service logged the IP address of the router, not the computer. From then on, I just logged my phone and tablet onto the same router. Done. For $19.95, plus taxes a day, I had 3 live Wi-Fi attached devices.
Now, it may sound like I am cheap. That is not far from the truth, I do prefer the word “frugal”.
It is bad enough traveling alone on a business trip, with only 3 devices. How about when I travel with my family? We may well have 6 or 7 devices all together in one room. That’s over $120 A DAY for Wi-Fi. Reasonable? Not even close.
Those hotels who charge by the device may not like my advice of using travel routers, but it is high time they woke up and recognized the reality of the modern traveling public. The days when Bill Gates talked about a computer in every household are long gone. We now live with a computing device in every pocket!! Hotels need to adapt to that, or people will just find hotels that understand the needs of their customers better. Until that happens, my Dlink DIR-505 will have its own permanent compartment in my suitcase.