U.S. Internet vs. U.K.
The infrastructure at the U.S. is different from here in the U.K.. From the U.K., the only real option for a companies broadband connection is through a telephone line. For a lot of us, this implies a 7 megabytes-per-second (or less) connection rate.
This is the reason the U.K. government has spent so much money rolling out improvements to fast online access. The aim is to present fiber-optic Internet to points around most homes and businesses. This will provide rates of 38 to 76 MBS. This is still far short of some U.S. areas. But it’s a huge improvement, nevertheless.
I am one of the lucky people who can now get a 76 MBS connection. I’ve updated from my previous snail-pace link of 7 MBS. Now I have a quick web connection, I’ve found that my internal network is a problem. When the fastest download speed was 7 MBS, I didn’t see the flaws in my network. Once I upgraded to my new relationship and only received 7 MBS rates in my computer, I realized I had an issue.
I don’t have a dedicated, wired Ethernet network. Instead I rely on Wi-Fi. I set up the Wi-Fi router near the primary phone stage — not in the back office where I needed the Internet most, I now realize. I found that Wi-Fi, despite promises of rapid speeds, actually slows down when you place any space and an office wall or two between the router and the computers.
I know I can purchase expensive Wi-Fi routers which run quicker, and on higher bands. But office walls down things, as does older gear. So instead of invest thousands on updating all my gear, I went searching for a more affordable solution.
Internal media options
The best choice is hard-wiring a system with Ethernet cables. To do this properly requires a great computer technician to design the system, cut wires to the appropriate lengths, and terminate them correctly with the plugs. This can get expensive, and possibly tough to put wires throughout the workplace. Additionally, wires are untidy. Nonetheless, it remains the best solution, and the investment is well worthwhile in the long run.
The next best solution is Ethernet within the key electrical outlets. This is where you’ve got a special adaptor that plugs into an electrical socket next to your router and another next to your PC. The adaptor converts the Ethernet signal to operate in the electric wiring so the two adaptors can speak to each other. Indeed with one adaptor in the router, you can have several getting adaptors throughout your premises, all talking to this one. (This solution is heavily determined by your electric wiring, and sometimes just won’t work.)
Based upon your electrical wiring, you can achieve speeds of up to 500 MBS locally. For me it meant that I kept my download rate of 76 MBS. The downside is that the whole network traffic is moving through a single bottleneck, namely the adaptor beside the router and one Ethernet port from the router. This is the reason a proper Ethernet network is better, even with a inexpensive router that only has 100 MBS ports.
Wi-Fi still required?
It’s very likely that even with the hard-wired solution, you still need Wi-Fi. This is definitely true for mobile devices and for some computers that might be near the router. This is where I left my second Wi-Fi discovery: It matters where your router is positioned.
I moved my router up one foot and one foot along. This doubled the link speed to the majority of my mobile devices. Basically I moved it away in the corner, and up on a higher shelf. Wi-Fi routers don’t like being in cabinets and don’t enjoy being near brick walls. Consider moving your router maybe even add a booster aerial or 2. This can make a big difference.
If all this fails, then you have two options remaining: Move the router closer to where you want it, or use Wi-Fi repeaters. Both have drawbacks.
Moving the router is best accomplished by moving the entrance point of the Internet on your premises. In the U.K., using a telephone line, this is a costly and near impossible task. The entrance point belongs to BT (formerly, British Telecom). BT doesn’t dispatch its engineers cheaply. Even then, it can be tricky to convince the engineers to move a master socket.
The next best way is to use a long cable from the router into the socket. The quality of the cable is paramount. Affordable phone cable will cripple the rate within feet. Nevertheless, going much more than 10 yards will also degrade the rate, because the broadband signal is vulnerable to radio frequency interference. In a nutshell, it is very likely that you’re stuck with the router close to the absurd access point installed before broadband existed.
Wi-Fi repeaters are a bad solution. You must set the repeater close enough to the router so that it gets a good signal, but far enough away so the repeater’s sign doesn’t interfere with the router. Locating this sweet place can be time consuming, and the rate benefits can be modest.