All that can still leave you with poor performance – stuttering online video, sluggish file transfers, or complete signal drop-outs. The best advice for many is to flee the clogged 2.4GHz band used by most Wi-Fi equipment and head for 5GHz band, which – so far – is relatively clear, and you’ll get much better performance with 802.11n 5GHz kit, on the whole.
The 5GHz band will give you better performance, but I recommend using the 2.4GHz too
There’s one problem with that, though: it may be fine if you want to connect a brand new laptop or an iPad, but lots of other equipment still doesn’t work at 5GHz, only at 2.4GHz. That means you’ll need a wireless router that can operate on both frequencies simultaneously or, alternatively, two separate networks. If you want to be able to access everything from any device, a dual-mode base station will be the best solution.
The other advantage, of course, of going ‘dual band’ is that the connection to your 5GHz devices won’t be slowed down by those devices that have to operate in 802.11b and g modes. Unless all your devices are operating in ‘g’ mode, the network will slow down to ‘b’ speeds anyway.
It’s worth looking, too, for models that have a guest network option, such as Apple’s latest iteration of the Airport Extreme and kit from D-Link, Netgear and others. These will ensure that visitors can connect to the internet while they’re in your home but can’t, for example, go rummaging through the contents of your nas box.
Many modern routers, like the Linksys E4200, operate 2.4GHz and 5GHz networks in parallel
If you have a large home, or one with walls that aren’t particularly friendly to wireless, frequency and channel changes or separate networks for slower devices still may not solve your problems.
Gigabit Ethernet would have seemed overkill a few years back, but these days there are sound reasons for using it in at least a few parts of your network. If you have a nas, for example, and backup your computer to that, or need to shift around large video files, it’ll be much better than 100Base-T.
A wireless connection may be fine for backing up day to day, for example, but if I’m backing up 70GB of photos, it’s a lot less painful using Ethernet. Some readers might also think of using the ‘Jumbo frames’ option if it’s present on their nas, though it’s unlikely to make as much of a difference on modern equipment as it used to. There's a great article here explaining why that's the case.
Many basestations, such as Apple's AirPort Extreme, let you run a separate network for guests
Mac users wanting to reap a real-world benefit should try using AFP with their nas, rather than SMB. Different protocols have different throughput efficiencies.
Next page: Mains course
come on now RegHardware - it's not just radio hams that are sometimes affected by mains ethernet equipment - it's anyone that uses shortwave radio and even DAB (source: BBC).
Imagine if you were prevented from enjoying your favourite hobby by someone else's innocent purchase of equipment? It's a delicate sitatuation and not just 'outrage' by some beardy radio types.... (me included I should add).
(Paris, cos I would DAB her anytime)
Draytek make some great routers.
Would be nice to see some Microtik & Ubiquiti products in here.
Its worth noting that when moving from 100Mbps to Gigabit cabling that in the real world network performance will be limited by the speed of the hard drives and OS overheads. Especially if you are using a cheap NAS.
For me going from 100Mbps to Gigabit only doubled transfer speeds to around 20MBytes/s.
The major reason 5Ghz equipment hasn't made an impact at home is its poor wall penetration. 5Ghz is fine for an open room like a cafe or bar, however in a multi-room home with a router hidden in the under-stairs its not going to be a saving grace for wifi.
Longer term the wifi standard needs to include negotiation with competing base stations.
Horrid things. Being someone who likes to listen to the footie/Danny Baker on Radio 5 on good old AM you can hear the effect of these things driving past houses in the country from time to time. The noise is unmistakable as rather than the random interference you get from powerlines etc it is bursts of noise that sounds like data.
How this is allowed I have no idea. Older readers will remember that in the early 90's some EEC regs came in that required all electronic equipment to have EMF suppression. For example people may remember the good old Sinclair Spectrum used to kick out a hell of a racket on any nearby radio (in fact if you tuned to a sweet spot between LBC and Radio 1 you could actually hear the audio for a good 50 metres).
Lots of devices had to be either re-engineered or pulled from the market. It's why big metal shields started appearing inside home micros at that time.
Anyway my point is that if we had to go through all that to prevent radio interference, why the hell are these mains ethernet adaptors allowed?