Let’s face of it – most people’s lives are powered by Wi-Fi. It keeps smart homes functional and keeps everyone connected to the outside world. Where does your job – to provide a quality broadband connection – start and end?
An installation starts with a solid structured wiring solution and a clear signal media panel. Next on the list is the wireless local area network (WLAN), which is quickly becoming a necessity as smart home Wi-Fi devices increase their capabilities and speed. Their combined bandwidth demand from the home’s broadband connection is handled by the building’s structured wiring and its media panel but what about the WLAN itself?
A wireless network, like most other systems, requires regular maintenance. Your customers need to take care of their wireless network, and you can help them by running through a simple checklist to improve their Wi-Fi.
This checklist includes activities that address network speed, functionality, and security:
1. Update or replace router
Your customers need a router that can handle their bandwidth requirements. Look up the basic specs and recommended use for their router. Let them know, for example, that if they find they are using more than five devices on their wireless network, they may want to shop around for a more powerful router.
And even the best router needs to be updated. Most manufacturers release new firmware that improves the functionality or fixes bugs in their equipment. Updates ensure that your customers have the most up-to-date versions. You can set up automatic updates for many routers, but if that’s not possible, provide your customer with instructions for updating manually.
2. Consider extending the network range
If your customers have a powerful router and need only a little additional coverage, they should consider options such as network repeaters and external antennae.
When buying an antenna, they should look for a high gain, directional antenna. This will allow them to target low connectivity zones in their home.
3. Maintain network paths
Every few months, your customers should evaluate their network setup, paying particular attention to connected devices and router location.
Unnecessary devices that are connected but are not being used should be disconnected from the network. They could be using bandwidth even when not in operation.
Your customers should consider their router location. Is it still in the best location for all household users and devices? This is particularly relevant for households that add new smart devices to the network or that remodel their homes. Putting the refrigerator in a different location, for example, could disrupt Wi-Fi transmission.
4. Refine router settings
Your customers may have the best router on the market, but if it’s not set up correctly they won’t be getting their money’s worth.
Review which frequency they are using. Most routers now offer both the 5GHz and the 2.4GHz bands. The 2.4GHz band is also used by wireless phones and microwaves, whereas the 5GHz band will only be used by newer Wi-Fi devices. Some routers allow your customers to use both bands at once. In this case, they will have to select a network name and password for each band.
Routers also use different channels to communicate with network devices. Your customer can find their channel on any computer running windows by entering “netsh wlan show all |more” into the command prompt (cmd.exe). They can change the settings and switch frequencies in the administrator interface for their router.
5. Update passwords and security settings.
The network password should be changed every six months. All users should change their individual passwords on a six-month rotation as well. Most importantly, the network password and name must be unique.
For additional security, your customers are better off using the 5GHz band. So, if they have a dual-band router, they should put their more sensitive devices on that band. They should also set the security mode for their router to more improved WPA2 protocol. These settings can also be found in the administrator interface for the router.