Understanding Wi-Fi

Getting Gigabit Speeds over Wi-Fi

Many wireless routers are advertised with gigabit speed on the box, but that's not wholly accurate. The advertised speed is tested in a highly controlled lab environment without the day-to-day obstacles that'll slow your connection down. Walls, distance from the router, and even other devices will stop that wireless connection from reaching its potential top speed. A wireless router in the average home can only expect to reach around 25-33% of its potential speed. Learn how to get the fastest speed possible with our Gigabit service.

The Wi-Fi compatibility of the device you're trying to connect with is also important. Older devices are limited by the Wi-Fi technology at the time of their production. Think of it as an older car with an older engine not being able to get to the same speeds as a modern car with a more advanced engine. 

Wireless Router's 2.4 GHz vs. 5 GHz Network Bands

Most modern routers (including the Ting Router) can communicate with your devices in two different ways:  the 2.4 GHz band and the 5 GHz band.

The 2.4 GHz band has a broad reach and isn't much hindered by physical obstacles like walls. There's a catch, though--service speeds are pretty slow on 2.4 GHz. This is because most household objects operate on this frequency. Things like microwaves, baby monitors and game controllers all clog up your router's communication with the device you're trying to use and this slows it down. 

On the other hand, the 5 GHz band can process a lot more information and is less clogged. This makes the 5 GHz band a much faster network to operate on. Unlike 2.4 GHz, physical obstacles do affect this connection much more. The 5 GHz band operates best when there's a "line-of-sight" between the router and a device.

Connecting to the 5 GHz Band

Your device must be close to the router (within range) and support 5 GHz connectivity to detect and connect to that band. Many newer (from 2013 forward) laptops, smartphones, tablets and smart TVs have built-in 5 GHz support. It's always best to check with the manufacturer's website or user guide to confirm the device's available connection options.

When to Use the 5 GHz vs 2.4 GHz

You should connect to the 5 GHz band when you're within line of sight of your wireless router or if the signal strength (number of bars) is equal to or better than your 2.4 GHz network. Most devices will connect to the first network it encounters instead of picking the one with better performance, so you will need to manually select it from your device settings to get the best experience.

Wi-Fi Connection Dropping

This usually happens when the signal strength to the router is weak or something is interfering. The best way to solve for this is to move closer to the router or add Wi-Fi extenders into your home network to improve the overall wireless range.

Wi-Fi will also drop from time to time if the router has been running for a long time without being restarted. We recommend you reboot your router by turning it off an back on, also known as power cycling.

  1. Unplug the power cable from the router or the wall plug.
  2. Wait 30 seconds.
  3. Plug the power back in.
  4. Wait for the router to restart and automatically reconnect to the Internet.
    This process may take up to 3 minutes, and all lights will turn back on.

It is recommended to power cycle or reboot your wireless router every 60 days or whenever you experience unusual behavior.

Only One Wi-Fi Name

When you see only one network name on a newer router, it means your router is set up in mesh mode. Mesh mode is smart enough to connect your device to the best network possible based on signal strength and how far your device is from the router. The router does all the work and you won't have to worry about picking one network over another. We've got a whole article on mesh networks if you want to learn more.

Determining Device Signal Strength

Most Wi-Fi devices will have a graphical indicator showing the wireless signal strength between the device and your Wi-Fi router. Others will also show an actual value for signal in decibel-milliwatts, which can provide an even more meaningful understanding of your wireless network.

A Wi-Fi icon displaying four grey bars, indicating no service. A Wi-Fi icon displaying one red bar, indicating weak service. A Wi-Fi icon displaying two orange bars, indicating fair service. A Wi-Fi icon displaying three light green bars, indicating good service. A Wi-Fi icon displaying all four green bars, indicating excellent service.
No service
0 bars
Weak
1 bars
Fair
2 bars
Good
3 bars
Excellent
4 bars
Apple iOS devices 

Settings > Wi-Fi
Example of an Apple iOS device, where you can check your Wi-Fi signal strength by going to Settings, then Wi-Fi. The signal strength icon will display next to the network name.
MacOS devices

Example of a MacOS device, where you can check your Wi-Fi signal strength by clicking on the Wi-Fi icon from the menu bar. The signal strength icon will display next to the network name.

Android devices

Settings > Wireless/Network & Internet
Example of an Android device, where you can check your Wi-Fi signal strength by going to Settings, then Wirelss/Network and Internet. The signal strength is stated under the network name.
Windows 10 devices

Settings > Network & Internet
Example of a Windows 10 device, where you can check your Wi-Fi signal strength by going to Settings, then Network and Internet. The signal strength icon will display next to the network name.

 

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