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Tuesday, 27 October 2015 09:27

The Death of My Wireless Router – A Blessing in Disguise

 

It finally happened. My 5 year old wireless router took its last breath and died. All of a sudden, my internet connectivity was GONE.

Trust me when I say this – you never fully realize how much you depend on something until it’s GONE. My 6 year old daughter was immediately bored out of her mind because Netflix didn’t work and her tablet was now as useless as a bag of hammers. Even my 2 year old started complaining (like only two-year olds can do) when “Word World” on Amazon Video stopped streaming. My house was in disarray; Alexa couldn’t answer my questions or play music and my smart-home was now “dumb”.

The pressure was on: I knew I HAD to fix the wireless internet or I was going to face some serious consequences. Being the sharper-than-a-bowling-ball fella that I am, I dug out another old router I had laying around. Nothing too fancy – just a simple $50 router from days past. I plugged in that older router and WHALLA --- my wireless internet started working again. Problem solved, right? Wrong.

Soon I began to notice that some of my household’s wireless devices, like the IP camera I have watching the driveway, kept losing connection to the internet. I decided to Sherlock Holmes the issue, and walked around my house with a laptop – testing my internet strength and speed. I noticed that the signal in the far corners of my house was weak. Plus, the signal from the patio and front porch had completely disappeared.

I immediately set out to rectify the problem - I jumped on Amazon.com and bought a new fancy router. Not another $50 router – a $120 router that promised better range and faster throughput. Was it worth it? You decide. The chart below shows the before and after speeds from 4 different locations in my home:

Router-Comparison

Why is my new router so much better?

  1. Dual-band. It’s pushing data through the air on two frequencies - instead of just one. This setup is designed to handle the internet traffic from multiple devices at one time, and may eliminate wireless interferences you had before. The most common interferences include your neighbor’s Wi-Fi router, cordless phones, and baby monitors.
  2. AC. Older wireless routers may only have a ‘G’ rating – giving them a maximum theoretical throughput of 54 Mbps. New ‘AC’ routers can reach close to 1,000 Mbps or even faster.
  3. Better/More Antennas. Manufacturers are now building routers with multiple internal & external antennas for maximum range. My new router has 3 external antennas for the 5 GHz band and 3 internal antennas for the 2.4 GHz band. My old router had one antenna.

At the end of the day, I’m glad my old router died, I had no idea what I was missing! My new router can handle all my devices, has a better range, and is TWICE as fast – making my kids as happy as a dog with two tails. Trust me, sometimes you just don’t know what you’re missing. How old is your router? Is it time for an upgrade?