WiFi Broadband Internet: Are You Getting What You Pay For?

Internet WiFi Plans

Many telecommunications service providers around the world provide a router when you subscribe to their broadband internet service. You subscribe to a monthly package of 1Mbps, 2Mbps, 5Mbps, 10Mbps, 20Mbps, 500Mbps or even 1Gbps and you’re glad you did. No more buffering on 4K videos, or lags in your ultimate gaming experience- a dream come true.

The Symptoms

However, a few things may tend to occur over a period of time. Your WiFi goes dead, requiring you to reboot it, WiFi dead spots around the home so you get WiFi extenders, signal boosters and repeaters to provide better coverage. Then you realize you need to connect to different SSID’s depending on which part of your home you are. Your WiFi speed tends to drop intermittently freezing your internet experience. It forces you to connect to a different SSID or restart the router. You get a feeling you’re not really getting 20Mbps per month so you use a WiFi speed tester to check the connection speed. And there it is. 2Mbps, 5Mbps, 10Mbps, 14Mbps. A number far less than what you’re paying for every month.

The Causes

What is the cause of this problem? It could be the position of your router or it could be the device you’re using (older devices tend to have weaker receiving antennae). It could be one or a combination of a myriad of different issues.

However, more often than not, the problem could lie in your router. Especially when it is a router provided by your telecommunications service provider (telco). A feature called uPnP (Universal Plug & Play) is something that’s embedded in routers provided by telcos. Telcos claim that this helps user experience as it allows them to maintain and update their routers remotely and end-users will not have to invest any effort in the software configuration of their routers. On the other hand, features like the uPnP and others result in bloatware (software which requires significant disk space but is not useful enough to justify the amount of disk space). This can reduce the amount of bandwidth available to end users. This factor, compounded by the potential conflicts-of-interest that arises between telcos and customers, compels a decision by users to find an effective solution.

The Solutions:

One solution would be to purchase a new, more powerful router. However, many powerful routers still struggle to overcome the issue of transmitting reliable wireless signals through denser materials used in walls and doors. Therefore, an effective solution would be to go for a mesh router.

The most effective solution?

Step 1: Get a mesh router.

Step 2: Disable UPnP.

Step 3: Connect and configure mesh router.

Step 4: Set a strong, complex WiFi Password for your WiFi network (preferably something that means very little to humans)

Step 5: Live seamless

A mesh router is a network technology that has been used for many years in large places where a reliable, consistent wireless connection is critical; for eg. Military bases, airports, hospitals, etc. In recent times however, this technology has been the latest upgrade available for home WiFi networks. Most mesh routers today happen to be on the higher end of the price scale. However, there are a few good-quality, budget-friendly solutions provided by TP-Link and D-Link.

Once a mesh router’s been purchased, a user has to disable uPnP in order to be able to use their own router. This can be done by contacting one’s telco. After this step, the user can set up their mesh router, usually through a mobile app provided by the router’s brand. Effectively, this would lead to one gaining the full benefit of their broadband internet subscription through proficient technology.