In this video, I will explain how your home network functions, and several reasons why you might experience less than ideal internet connectivity. We’ll review these topics independently of looking at any problems with your Internet Service Provider’s connection to your home. That’s the subject of a separate video.
So let’s dive right in:
Your home network may be very simple; a box from your internet service provider that takes the signal from the street and makes it wireless so you can connect all your devices. Or it may be a bit more complex, like their box, attached to a router that you purchased that either does or does not have wifi capability in it. And there can be even more complex systems with switches and dedicated wireless access points downstream of that router.
To get a baseline of your network performance, we’re going to launch the Terminal app on your Mac or the COMMAND or CMD.EXE application on your Windows PC. Type in ping google.com on the Mac or ping google.com -t on the PC, then press enter. This action will start a ping test, which will send out a data packet to Google every second, and listen for the length of time it takes for Google’s server to acknowledge receipt. Allow this test to run for 30 minutes and observe what the ping time statistics show. These will be in milliseconds. If the numbers exceed 100ms for any length of time, take note, you’re in the yellow zone and certain tasks may appear choppy or slow. If they exceed 200ms, your ability to conduct videoconferences and other live two-way exchanges may be compromised.
Next, disconnect all cables into your Internet Service Provider's modem/router, and connect your computer directly to that device. Now observe the ping times as I directed a moment ago. If they were poor previously, but your ping times are vastly improved in this configuration (like less than 50ms), you’ve just confirmed the issue is on your home network, and not with your internet service provider. If the results are still poor, your problem is with the internet service provider. You should watch my separate video that details some reasons for this underperformance, then give them a call.
Now let’s assume the problem is on your home network: Here are a few factors to consider:
Your distance from the wireless access point. 30 feet might not seem like a lot, but it can be depending on some of the next few factors. Suffice it to say, the closer you are, the better your signal.
The number of walls and objects between you and the wireless access point. Bathrooms and kitchens are particularly effective at destroying your network connection. Same for concrete, glass, and metal.
The physical location of the access point. If you’re trying to be Zen and want to hide your ugly access point hardware, you might have hidden it beneath a couch or behind some furniture. Bad idea. Wireless access points for homes are generally omnidirectional, and they like to sit above the furniture height so they can have the farthest reach.
Other sources of radio interference, like bluetooth devices, cordless phones, microwaves (when running), and your neighbors’ wifi connections. This last category is, sadly for you and luckily for my team and me, the “black magic” of network optimization; it’s a full time job because everything changes on a daily basis. But you can google “how to limit wifi interference” and try your hand at improving your WiFi environment.
Thanks for watching. You can reach us on 415-483-1700 or at www.smartsourcedit.com