WiFi challenges in apartments, townhouses, trailer parks, and other high-density residencesMarch 26, 2018
Streaming entertainment has become the top use of internet around the world. Because of it’s nature, streaming video requires some thought be put into how you have your equipment connected to your home network. A majority of the calls we get concerning issues with streaming are quickly traced to home network issues, and if you’ve read any of our other articles talking about home network setup and WiFi, you begin to understand why.
Here are some tips to get the best out of your streaming experience:
- Wire your equipment whenever possible: Many issues are caused by TVs, Blu-Ray players and other streaming devices connected by WiFi. Any WiFi interference at all in the home will quickly destroy a video stream. So one of the first things we will recommend to customers is to connect their equipment directly to their WiFi router with Ethernet cables, rather than WiFi. If there is any WiFi interference in the house, this will get around it.
- Don’t stream beyond your means: Frequently, people will attempt to stream a movie at a resolution that is too high for the service level they are on. For example: If you are trying to stream a high definition video on a 3M service, it AIN’T going to happen. We have been able to demonstrate that a 3M service with a well-tuned home network can actually stream two netflix movies at the same time…but not at high definition (HD). Bottom line; the higher the resolution of the movie, the more speed needed. This is particularly true if you are in a multi-person household and other house members want to be able to do their own thing while an HD movie is streaming.
- If you MUST use WiFi: As we mentioned, wiring your streaming devices is our first choice. But we understand that there are circumstances that can make that difficult, or impossible. In that case WiFi can surely be used, but care must be taken in the setup of your home WiFi to ensure there are no conflicts or that your devices are not too far away from your WiFi router. Devices can also be too close to the router….sometimes the signal between the router and device can be TOO strong, causing degradation in the WiFi connection. Some possible sources of WiFi interference or conflict are:
- Other WiFi routers, wireless extenders, or boosters set to the same WiFi channel as your main WiFi router
- Cell phones or cellular hotspots turned on and broadcasting on the same WiFi channel as your main WiFi router
- HP printers with HP Direct wireless printing turned on (HINT: turn this OFF! It interferes with your home WiFi and is unnecessary anyway. If you have a WiFi router with everything–including the printer–connected to it, you can print from your devices without the need for HP Direct. Try Googling it. An easy test is to unplug the printer from power and see if your problem goes away.)
- Satellite television service with the use of wireless extenders…same deal, they interfere with home WiFi. This can be avoided by manually setting those devices away from your home WiFi channel.
- Neighbor’s WiFi activity – see our article on WiFi challenges in high density residences.
- Houston, we’re on OVERLOAD: This is kinda related to #2 above, but sometimes there is just too much usage going on with your service and there’s not enough speed left to successfully stream your movie. When this situation occurs, you have really only two choices: mitigate or control what everyone is doing so there’s enough service left to stream, or upgrade your service level to a higher speed.
We hope these tips help, and we welcome your questions!