So what's connected to you network?
The wifi and internet in your home is more important than ever. We use our home internet for much more than just browsing or streaming a movie. We rely on the internet for recreational communication, work, and school.
In the Hamptons we have basically one Internet Service Provider (ISP) for the moment. Cablevision Optimum service provides high speed internet by cable. Other parts of Long Island are slowly seeing the introduction of Verizon fiber service, once that arrives there will be a second option.
Cablevision Optimum service has a top service level of 400mbps download and 40 upload. To put things simply - the download speed allows us to stream tv and movies -that is data we are consuming. The upload is required for us to do send out data - this would be required for a phone call or video conference where data is sent and received.
What might slow down your internet signal. The first thing to take a look at is the level of service you are receiving. Most of our clients find that it makes sense to at least have 100 download speed. If you have multiple people in your home it would be better to have faster speeds that can support simultaneous users.
The internet connection in your home is about more than the speed brought to you by your provider. The way this connection is shared is key to the experience. The router is the device that connects to your modem and allows multiple devices to share the internet connection. The capacity of the route should be matched to what you are expecting it to do. The router may also have a wireless access point built into it. This would allow wireless connections from devices like your tablet, phone, and other devices. You may have dozens of devices connecting to your network. Now we also have smart thermostats and wireless cameras that are all connected to the wireless network. The result is that the network in our homes may be increasingly saturated. If your wireless equipment is more than a year old you may be using the last generation of wireless technology which basically requires devices to line up to send and receive data. It does this really quickly , so if there are just a few devices it's not a problem. As you add more and they are using more data this technology can't keep up. It leads to slowdowns and latency in response both sending and receiving. The newer wireless technology allows multiple simultaneous device communication paths (multi user multi in -multi out MU MIMO) This requires multiple antennas. The basic level is a 2x2 array. The higher performance ones have a 4x4 array.
You might remember that we started out this post asking "what's connected to your network?" This is the key question. Figuring out what is on your network, along with what might potentially be on it, allows you to make sure you have a system that will make you smile - or at least won't make you sad.
The second key question is "what are your expectations?". What are you using the technology for?Do you regularly need to connect for a video conference or are you just sending some emails? Are you uploading large files like graphics and video?
Most of us are streaming video - whether that's to our phone or tablet or to the Apple TV connected to our Tv. These services will automatically use as much bandwidth as they need to get the best picture quality. Newer Tvs are usually 4K capable, 4K resolution uses at least 4x the data of an HD video. Additionally we may be streaming audio too. Often, if there are a few people in the house, there might be multiple video and audio streams happening simultaneously.
It is important to make an inventory of the security and smart devices that are connected to your network. These can include lights, thermostats, and wireless cameras. A wireless camera is usually uploading video constantly to online recording storage. This is valuable upload space considering that Optimum only gives us very limited upload speed.
If you are experiencing slower speeds or need better performance, you have already invested in a fast service level, and new high quality router and wireless network equipment, then it may be important to mange the other devices off of the network. Video cameras could be turned off and only activated at night or when you are away.
Thermostats, other devices like light controls and smart home equipment use very little data. As long as the router and wireless are equipped to handle enough connections these devices won't affect critical streaming and video services.