The best way to a happy wifey is good WiFi.
Wise Man.

Crummy routers irritate everyone and make your Fibre Internet seem much slower than it is, but it’s not difficult to get it right (assuming you are not tempted by some free ?).

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Home router technology doesn’t move all that fast, but we think the WiFi choice you make should be a 3 year decision.

1 – Are you trying to use cheap hardware?

If you are using your old ADSL router or something else that’s old, you might want to sit down and start accepting that you should probably buy a new router.

2 – Do you need more than 1 WiFi Router?

In big homes or apartments with lots of concrete/steel in the walls you will need more than one WiFi hotspot to cover an entire home. You have a couple of options:

  • Super powerful base stations
  • WiFi range extenders using existing electrical cabling in the home
  • Mesh Networks

Super powerful base stations. There are a lot of good WiFi routers that can cover a large area and some models are more powerful than most. So there is a lot to be said to getting a very powerful single unit and avoid the issues that might some from running extenders or Mesh networks.

WiFi Range Extenders can be difficult to set up, and if you set the extender WiFi name to the same as your main base station you can confuse your devices and sit without internet while your phone or laptop decides which WiFi to connect to. Extenders can be a cheap and handy solution to get WiFi to your granny flat, but don’t expect a seamless experience or blazing speeds.

Bring in WiFi Mesh networks. They are made up of more than one WiFi device and offer a very large network area and the ability to offer “seamless” handover from one device to the next. In practice this means you can walk through your house and your device will switch “nodes” without you even noticing. What’s more is the base stations create multiple connections between each other and automagically decide which is the fastest route through the network and if one nodes breaks there is a failsafe to route through the nodes that are still operational.

What does this mean? If you need one router, invest in something decent. We think R500-R1000 will get you something good. If you need a large WiFi area look into a Mesh network and budget for around R3000.

3 – How fast is your Fibre?

In the world of Wifi there cannot be multiple devices communicating at the same time wirelessly. This is because WiFi is “half duplex”, which means the wifi radio can only speak one direction at a time, one message at a time. In other words everything has to wait its turn. Even if your neighbours WiFi is using the same channel.

Above or below the 30Mbps fold?

To save you time and keep things simple, 30Mbps is the dividing line. With a simple, single band router you’ll be getting around 30Mbps, if you are lucky 40mbps – this is with most cheap home WiFi routers.

If you have 30Mbps line or higher, you will want to have a dual channel or higher spec WiFi Router to make full use of your line.

Here are the speeds you might achieve in perfect conditions (read: in a lab), but you should expect to get only 1/3 of these speeds in the real world.

2.4Ghz (Standard) 
5Ghz (Dual Band)
802.11ac
1.73 Gbps
802.11n
216.7 Mbps
450 Mbps
802.11a
54 Mbps
802.11b
11 Mbps
802.11g
54 Mbps

As you can see by the table above, if you have a 100Mbps line or higher, you will need to be dunning a 5Ghz 802.11ac router at least to make use of your line.

4 – How many devices do you have on your network?

Most cheap routers tend to start freaking out with more than 10 devices. So imagine 5 people with a laptop and a smartphone – there goes your WiFi.

Weirdly Easy Tips for Faster WiFi:

  • On 2.4Ghz Wifi, use channels 1, 6 or 11 :

“Non-overlapping channels (1,6,11) work better than overlapping channels. With overlapping channels, you step on each other and can’t do anything about it. With non-overlapping channels, you see each other and share the bandwidth.”

  • For 2.4Ghz Wifi use a 20MHz channel
  • For 5Ghz Wifi you can use 40MHz or 80MHz channels, just check to see if anybody else is using the same channels near you
  • Use a wifi scanner app like iStumbler to see which channels have the least activity
  • If you have a hotspot with 2 antennas turn one antenna 90deg (make one vertical and one horizontal). This is because of the orientation of the radio waves. Laptops antennas are horizontal, phones are vertical, so having aerials on your WiFi router both ways makes it more likely that there is a radio wave aligned to your device.
  • If you have a hotspot with 4 antennas, point them all upwards
  • Make sure you use WPA2 encryption
  • Choose a secure password
  • On macOS, hold down the Alt key and click on the wifi icon top right in the menu bar to see details about your wifi network status

As you can see there are many factors than work together to contribute to the perfect WiFi network for fiber internet. How large an area you want to cover, how fast your internet is and how busy your WiFi network is going to be, but with these tips you should be more empowered to make the most our of your home WiFi.