Not getting the speeds you think you should from your Wi-Fi connection?

D-Link RouterAre you promised higher speeds from your Wi-Fi than you’re actually getting? Well, don’t necessarily rush to blame your ISP, it could be your router that’s the source of poor performance. Routers are like any other technology – they are always being improved and their performance has increased significantly over the years.

If you’ve been with your ISP for a long time and kept the original router that you were given, you’re missing out on technological developments that have occurred. These will not just affect the speed but also the range you are able to achieve. You wouldn’t expect a 10 year old car to perform as effectively or efficiently as a new one and the same is true with routers. Don’t forget, as well as missing out on all the developments, equipment also degrades over time, so your old router probably isn’t performing as well as it was when you first got it.

The latest routers on the market feature the new standard, Wireless AC, which will also provide your home network with more capacity, meaning that even if the whole family is trying to stream music and movies on different devices, the speed shouldn’t be affected. This is because Wireless AC works in the 5GHz radio spectrum (unlike the current Wireless N standard which works in 2.4GHz) where there is less noise and interference from competing technologies. Moreover, there’s just a lot more space available in this band, allowing for up to 19 non-overlapping wireless channels compared to just three with Wireless N. Plus, those channels can be made wider to carry a lot more data with 80MHz and ultimately 160MHz channels available in AC, compared to 20/40MHz with N.

The way in which radio signals are transmitted is also changing. Out go omni-directional antennas broadcasting every which way they can, in favour of so-called “beamforming” technology, where the signal is directed at the device it is meant for. Using similar technology to SmartBeam™, already available on D-Link Wireless N products, beamforming in Wireless AC will work regardless of the make of your device.

Beamforming will also help improve range and reliability. The maximum distance supported by Wi-Fi is unchanged at 200-300m, but by concentrating and directing signals, AC will be able to eliminate dead spots and, at the same time, improve signal strength and reliability at all distances. So, if your current network starts to buffer when streaming video from one room to another, with AC that problem will disappear.

Whilst devices that are compatible with Wireless AC are only just starting to appear on the market (Apple, for instance, has announced that future MacBooks will contain Wireless AC technology and the HTC One already has it on board), it will soon be the norm, so if you’re looking to upgrade your router to get the performance you require, ensure that you future proof your investment and go for AC.

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