Moving to a new house that is located in a much denser neighborhood brought home two points for me:
- WiFi performance can be horrible in a crowded area.
- Lots of people think that Internet is only WiFi.
The issue of performance was driven home because my initial setup was WiFi only and I could not find a location in the house where all my devices would consistently have a usable signal. The house itself is not that unusual in size, construction or layout, the issue is that we are in range of about 20 other WiFi APs and there simply isn’t a channel without another competing AP on it.
I planned on installing a hardwired network in any house we purchased so this was a temporary issue, more of an annoyance than anything else.
Now that I have my hardwired network in place, I consistently get the cable company’s advertised download speed anytime on any day of the week. But if I try the same speed tests on WiFi the performance varies from very good to none. The worst times seem to coincide with when neighbors are home watching streaming videos.
So basically WiFi performance in my new neighborhood is retched but the cable company performance has, so far, been pretty good.
Internet Is Not WiFi
This point occurred to me in talking to one of my new neighbors. He had had the local cable provider come out several times to attempt to fix his Internet connection issues. Apparently all they could do was move his modem/router/AP around in the house to get adequate coverage.
He was not aware that one could connect his combined modem/router/AP to network wiring and get at least somethings like his TV a good reliable connection.
Based on other complaints I’ve heard around town, many others have rotten Internet experiences with the local cable company and I strongly suspect their issues may be the same as my neighbor’s: They may be blaming their bad Internet connection issues on the cable company rather than all their neighbor’s WiFi APs.
And Manufacturers Should Know Better Too
A couple years ago we bought a cheap multifunction printer, scanner and copier and found the only network connection available was via WiFi. A slight annoyance but I can place that printer in an area with fairly consistent WiFi performance.
For the new house one of our first purchases was a Roku TV and it did not even dawn on me to check its actual network connectivity. Turns out it is WiFi only. Fortunately our new network closet where with my WiFi access point is sufficiently close to the TV that we have not yet had a problem. Would it have killed them to put a Ethernet port on the TV?
Et Tu Apple?
My trusty Apple MacBook Pro died last week and I went to get a new one. Not a single current production Apple laptop has a Ethernet port on it: They are all WiFi only now. You have to get an adaptor (which I did). They also no longer have built in CD/DVD drives either which is another annoyance.