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WiFi Mesh “Systems” for 2018’s WiFi Networks

Streaming television services, connected lights, iPads and Chromebooks, and smart devices are becoming common, even in non-techy homes and businesses. Their growing use has made WiFi coverage throughout your home or office a necessity.

When we first installed WiFi, we had one router that reached in the back part of our building where the computers, iPhones, and the Netflix box were usually located. WiFi was weak in our front rooms and garage, but we were rarely in those locations looking for the Internet..

But then iPhone apps and Amazon Echos changed our needs. Our response was to get a WiFi extender, but to be honest, that solution was not great. We had to teach every device the main WiFi name, “REDDOG”, and its password.  We had to teach every device about the extended network names, “REDDOG-EXT1”, and passwords.

As we carried our phones and other WiFi devices from room to room, they had to switch from network to network, and the hand-offs were often flawed.

Linksys Velop Mesh System

Linksys Velop Mesh System

About a year ago we switched technologies to a Mesh System. With a mesh system you connect your first unit to the ethernet from your ISP’s modem and configure the connection using a phone or tablet app. Then you plug in additional units around your home/property and quickly tell them via the app to join the WiFi network they are extending. These extenders use the same network ID, “REDDOG”, and password as the original unit.

This means that your phones, tablets, and other devices don’t have to learn many different network names, and they don’t have to switch networks as you move them around.

In our experience, the mesh network has been noticeably more reliable and easier to set up and maintain. In addition, the mesh network is faster and has tri-band capability, which has allowed us to stream video and audio to different devices simultaneously.

These systems are a bit more expensive, $300 for two units, instead of maybe $150 for a base router and $100 for a WiFi extension.  But, as you discover more WiFi devices you “need” to use in the corners of your home or property, the mesh network solution is clearer superior to other options..

We bought a Linksys Velop two-unit system from Amazon a year ago, and it’s been reliable and trouble free. When we disrupted the network by making bad decisions on some setting changes, Linksys’s free support quickly helped us get back up.

So, we recommend the Velop. It looks like the Linksys is also first choice of PC Magazine.

PC Magazine Mesh Network ratings

PC Mag has more information on mesh networking — good geeky reads And, the best prices for Velop Systems still seem to be at Amazon.

We are telling our friends and clients to go mesh!

By |2018-04-24T11:12:35+00:00April 24th, 2018|Computers and Hardware|0 Comments

How to Get the Internet Speed You’re Paying For

Speed Test logoDo you think your connection to the Internet is much slower than what you’re paying for?  Are you paying for  a “high speed” DSL or cable connection, but getting to sites, downloading songs, and everything on line takes forever?

There’s a two-step fix that works for me every time.

  1. Make sure the Internet is actually slow.

    It could be you.  Maybe you’ve had one too many lattes and the whole world cannot keep up with your mind. Or — more likely — there could be another issue with your computer that makes the Internet connection look slow.

    Go to Speedtest.net .  That site provides a free, anonymous clocking of your internet speed.  See if your speed comes close to matching what the ISP says it will give you.

    My ISP plan is for speeds of 12Mb download and 1 Mb upload.  You can see from the graphic showing my test results that I am getting what I am paying for.

    But, I wasn’t when I started off the morning.

    In fact, when I first went to my keyboard  iTunes was predicting that it would take 20 minutes to download a song, and browsing regular web sites was painful because I was having to wait for each graphic to draw itself into the page.  When I first ran the Speed test my download speed was less than 1 Mb!

    That’s when I went to the next step:

  2. Turn off and Back On Your Router and/or Internet Modem

    Your home router is a computer — although a specialized one — that sometimes gets confused. Or busy.  Or something.

    Just like an old Windows machine, sometimes the router goes off by a bit.  And, just like an old Windows machine, the easiest (and maybe only) way to fix the problem is to reboot it.

    Just unplug the router from its power supply, count to 30, and plug it back in.

    This sophisticated, high tech solution works for me 99 times out of a 100.  The other 1 time in 100, I have to unplug and plug back in the power on the cable modem and also reboot my PC.  This combination has not yet failed to get me back to reasonable speed.

My home network is simple and uses a 2009 (fairly new) Cisco Router.  I should not have to worry about the router causing speed problems.  Really. It is annoying.  However, rather than spend days debugging and talking to tech support at Cisco, I am happy to use the one-two punch whenever I think the Internet is slow:

1. Make sure the problem is real, and 2. Reboot the router.

Of course, if rebooting both the router and the cable (or DSL) modem fails to get your speed up to what you’re paying for, then it’s time to call that ISP and tell them that they have a problem!

By |2010-10-09T13:44:51+00:00October 9th, 2010|Tips and Resources|0 Comments