A friend of mine was telling me about his new iPhone 5. He mentioned how fast the LTE speeds were on the new phone.

He mentioned that the speed of LTE was faster than his WiFi at home.

That comment prompted this post.

For many of us, WiFi is a standard part of life. It makes our smart phone data plans go further, enables our tablets to connect with the cloud, and lets all our gadgets “call home”.

But if you have been using WiFi in your home for more than 3 years, you may be missing the speeds available to the new devices you’ve purchased.

1.  General WiFi Improvements.  The first reason you should consider an upgrade is the improvements in the overall wifi technology.  I installed the first wifi in my house around 2000.  That was pretty much when 802.11B (or wireless B) was the only available option.  I was ecstatic to be able to be on the internet somewhere other than the office (or where ever we had the computer and the internet device).

The problem with “B” only devices was they weren’t just slow, they were also more subject to environmental problems like the use of wireless home phones (not cell phones) and even microwaves.  I remember the first time I learned about the microwave oven’s potential to slam a wifi connection…my wife was using the computer and kept complaining about the signal dropping out.  I realized it was when the microwave was running.

Newer technologies use an entirely different bandwidth and the negative consequences of nuking your food are no longer seen in your wifi use!

2. Dual Band Availability.  There are an amazing variety of new WiFi routers available, but one feature that you want to look for when you take the plunge, is dual band availability. Why?  The biggest difference is the new wireless protocol that is available called Wireless N.  The N is FAST, in many instances up to 300 mbps.  That means far improved speeds to your new devices, almost all of which now ship with the N standard.

NETGEAR Wireless Router – N600 Dual Band Gigabit (WNDR3700)


3.  Dual Access Points - It is not uncommon to want to offer your guests access to WiFi in your home, but, at the same time, to want to wall them off from your private network (this is a best practice actually).  New routers offer the ability to set up a second SSID for your guests to use.  Hint:  remember to password protect the guest WiFi access  That will ensure that people you don’t know don’t rip off your bandwidth.

4.  Router Processor Speed – If your internet service provider has added some speed to your service, it may well be that the WiFi router youAmazon Image purchased 4 years ago can’t keep up with all the demands from smart phones, game consoles, smart televisions, tablets (the Internet of Things), not to mention your computer, because the processor is not fast enough to give you good performance.  Look for a processor in any new WiFi router that is at least 400mhz.   That will be more than powerful enough to keep the bad guys out (via the SPI firewall) and the full bandwidth available to your speed hungry devices.

There you go:  Four reasons for a WiFi upgrade.

What do you think?  How old is your wireless router?  Time for an upgrade?  If you want suggestions, just let me know!