With the launch of faster internet speeds comes a great deal of excitement, however, that excitement can be quickly dampened by expectations surrounding these new speeds not being met. WiFi speeds can vary on each device due to current technology, device limitations, and environmental factors.
While it can be quite frustrating to to not receive top speeds on your device, there are a few things to consider as well as ways to optimize your WiFi experience.
There are two ways we connect to the Internet: WiFi or a wired Ethernet connection.
Both options have their perks, and it's best to research to find the best method of connection for your home and devices. A WiFi connection is recommended for mobile devices such as laptops, phones, and tablets. A wired connection is recommended for stationary devices such as desktop computers and game consoles that more often need a stable connection.
Many factors within your home such as the environment and device limitations can cause varied speeds over WiFi. WiFi speeds should not be expected to reach the maximum provided by your Internet plan in most cases. The only way to achieve higher speeds consistently is on a wired Ethernet connection, provided your device is capable of reaching the speeds included in your Internet plan.
WiFi operates on two bands, 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz, which both offer their own benefits. See below for details on each type to help decide which is the best fit for your home and devices.
The 2.4 GHz signal is a wider frequency, meaning it's able to more easily pass through walls and other obstructions to provide more range. You can think of it like the bass line in a song; even if you're on a different floor from the speaker, you can still hear the bass line coming through. As 2.4 GHz is an older signal, it isn't able to transmit as much data between devices and thus offers slower speeds. Many devices in the home that are and aren't WiFi-capable can also cause interference, especially over long distances.
The 5 GHz signal is a narrower frequency that's not able to pass through objects, so it's more like the treble portion of a song. It covers less distance than the 2.4 GHz signal, but carries more data allowing for much faster speeds at close range. It's generally recommended to connect to this signal when available for the best wireless experience.
Depending on when your device was made, it may not be able to reach the top speeds offered by your internet plan regardless of whether it's wired directly to the modem or in a ideal WiFi environment. Many devices made prior to 2015 are incapable of reaching speeds over 100 Mbps. Some electronics do not have this capability because they aren't required to use the device.
If you're unsure of your device's speed capabilities, we recommend that you check its technical specifications from the manufacturer. You can also inquire with them as to potential upgrades or configuration updates that may improve device performance.