By Patti Loyack, VP of IP Services and Home Automation, Comcast
WiFi is the lifeblood of the digital home. When it works, it’s glorious, but when WiFi ‘ghosts’ your home, the consequences can be ghoulish. There’s no better time than Halloween to address dead spots so here are a few tips to exorcise those connectivity demons and put your home on a path towards, fast, reliable, whole-home WiFi.
- Replace cobweb-covered, outdated equipment
Let’s start with your WiFi router – it’s the engine of your connected home and it’s also called a gateway when it combines a router and modem. If it’s more than three-years-old, it’s probably time to replace it. With Xfinity, you can lease our powerful wireless gateways that we update, for no additional cost, when you’re ready to send your old router to the grave. Just use the Xfinity app to ensure your wireless gateway is the latest. If it’s upgrade time, we’ll ship you a new router.
- Is your router buried alive? Unearth it for better WiFi
If you’re getting a ghostly WiFi signal, the router placement is likely the culprit. Basements and attics might be good for keeping equipment out of sight, but they’re terrible locations to ensure wall-to-wall WiFi coverage in her home. These router locations also will kill your signal:
- Under blankets or inside a media cabinet
- On the floor
- Next to other electronics, like TV sets, cordless phones, baby monitors and microwaves
- Near glass doors, windows or even a fish tank
For the strongest WiFi signal, place your router in the center of your house -- or as close as possible.
What internet speed do you get in your home? Can it support additional devices powering simultaneous gaming, 4K movie streaming, video calling, and more? If not, you might need a speed increase. At Comcast, we’ve increased speeds for our customers 17 times in 17 years, often times at no additional charge. You can check your internet speed with Xfinity Speed Test available here.
Most modern routers and gateways broadcast more than one WiFi signal. If your device is “dual-band”, it’s broadcasting two signals or bands in your home – 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz. Typically, the 5 GHz band is faster and less congested than the 2.4 GHz band, but because the 5 GHz band uses shorter radio waves, the signal doesn’t travel as far. Check your router’s current band and experiment with different devices to see what works best. If you have an xFi Gateway, our advanced software makes sure your devices connect best when you have a combined network name for both 2.4 and 5 GHz. You can learn how to combine the different WiFi network names and passwords here.
Once you make sure you have the right router, position it centrally in your home and set devices to the proper frequency, you should see a dramatic difference in your home connectivity. But all homes are not created equal and sometimes architectural design and building materials can impact your connection. If dead-zones still exist, consider adding our xFi Pods. xFi Pods are mesh wireless extenders that plug into an electrical outlet and boost WiFi coverage.
Consider the WiFi devices powered by your network. The average home will have more than 50 WiFi connected devices by 2020 – laptops, tablets, smartphones, game consoles, TVs, voice assistants, thermostats, door locks, toys, appliances and more. Yet, one malfunctioning WiFi connected gizmo can become the zombie eating up all your internet speed. Every month spend a few minutes reviewing the devices on your WiFi network. Disconnect unrecognized signal hogs (with just a tap using our xFi platform) and ensure all devices have updated software.