If you live in one of the major metro areas of the country you will very likely have never had to deal with insufficient internet connectivity. Consider yourself fortunate, as that’s exactly the frustration that many people in more rural areas of the country have had to tolerate for a good long while now. The fact is that Gigabit internet speeds were something that you did without if you were living somewhere without much in the way of population. Which is a shame, as quite often those spots are the best places to be in the country if you want an especially high quality of life.
The good news of course is that this is changing. Long-awaited gigabit internet speeds are slowly but surely coming to a growing number of smaller communities in Canada, as fiber infrastructure improves and companies offer ultra-fast service packages. Here at 4GoodHosting, this is something that we’ve heard lamented by people in these areas, and that’s likely the case for nearly every good Canadian web hosting provider too.
So what we’re going to do here this week is share what we know about ways you can be best prepared for the high-speed Internet revolution that may well be on your horizon too if you’re living in smaller town Canada. Here’s 5 simple and very doable suggestions for you
- Set Up Quality Wired Connections
Wired connections tend to be better for gigabit speeds due to their reliability and lack of interference. To benefit from the best of gigabit internet, the right wired connections go a long way and if you’re on a desktop most of the time this is the way you want to go. Start with evaluating the wired connection from the internet modem to your router.
Most modern Ethernet ports manufactured in the last few years are gigabit Ethernet capable. However, if you have a router or other wired device that’s older than that, then it may be using an older type of Ethernet connection and possibly one that will not be able to support Gigabit Internet speeds. In this scenario what’s going to happen is the router will bottleneck your entire home network, and your frustrations will be just as pronounced as they’ve ever been
There are several types of adapters for a USB 3.0 to Gigabit Ethernet connection, but many times they end up slowing down performance in other ways.
If you have no clue what type of ports are found on your router, what you can do is find the product number and dig up the specifications online to confirm this. You can also do this with your computers to check on factory cards and connections. Make sure all of your componentry is rated for gigabit speeds, or 1,000 Mbps.
Another option is to look in your Settings to get up to speed on your connections. Next, have a look at the Ethernet cables themselves.
They should be at least Cat5e or higher to support Gigabit speeds. Cat 6 cables are a better choice though, as they are optimal for delivering gigabit speeds. Most new computer systems will come with them, but if yours didn’t then they are relatively inexpensive.
- Ensure Your Devices Support Latest Wi-Fi Standards
Alternately, if it’s unlikely that you’ll be using a wired connection on a particular device then you should determine what Wi-Fi standards are supported by it. The official gigabit-compatible Wi-Fi standard is 802.11ac, but once 2019 comes to and end next month we will have then moved on to the new 802.11ax standard – which it otherwise and more commonly known to be Wi-Fi 6.
To make this simple, if you need to go out and buy a new router in advance of this new development then make sure there’s a Wi-Fi 6 label on it.
For those who won’t be buying a new anything, then you can make sure your old router supports at least the 802.11ac standard. This standard has been around for years, and only most archaic routers won’t have it. The majority of these ended up in electronics recycling depots many years ago, but there may be a few out there still.
There are adapters that can make your old router compatible, but you’ll really be best served by a new router that’s indicated as being Wi-Fi 6 ready.
For mobile devices there are other technologies like MU-MIMO that can improve mobile connections on Wi-Fi 6, but not all devices will support them.
- Set Up Your Wi-Fi Router’s 5GHz Band
The majority of routers are now dual-band, meaning they support the common 2.4GHz band and the more infrequently used 5GHz band. That 5GHz option may not have as much range at the original band, but there’s a lot less of that wireless tech chatter when running on 5GHz. Indeed, the 5GHz band can provide a clearer signal and enable more of those desired gigabit-level speeds.
Most dual-band routers will prompt that’s something to do if you haven’t already. Go into your settings and see if it’s possible to lock onto 5GHz band to make it so this won’t happen
And then if your router isn’t dual-band, it’s something you will want to replace as soon as possible. Modern routers tend to be dual-band, and many have software that can intelligently switch between bands when necessary to provide the best connection. Plus, single band routers will be 802.11ac compatible.
- Update Firmware and Operating Systems
Provided your router has gigabit Ethernet, the latest Wi-Fi standard, and a 5Ghz Wi-Fi band already established and ready to go, then you’re ready for the advent of high-speed Internet in your home. However, it’s still a good idea to check to make sure that the firmware is updated to the latest version so that everything’s guaranteed to run smoothly.
Checking for firmware updates is as simple as logging into your router administrator console with the right address. Then, in settings, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for upgrading the device. Enable automatic updates after if you haven’t already, as then you’ll get those firmware updates as soon as they’re made available in the future.
Also recommended to update all your other devices too, especially if there are updates that you have been putting off. Many general OS updates improve general performance and efficiency.
- Run Speed Tests on Devices to Find Weak Spots
There are more than a few effective online speed tests you can run on both wired and wireless devices. Just google online speed tests and you’ll have a number to choose from right away at the top of your results page.
Running a test before choosing to upgrade will help you find an average baseline of your current speeds, and you use that to compare to your gigabit speeds after upgrading. Nine times out of 10 you’re going to see massive gains with gigabit internet, and you’ll very likely be pleased as punch with them.
It’s also possible to check how speed varies between wireless and wired. If the difference is considerable, then the natural step is to determine which devices need to be on a wired connection for best performance. Wi-Fi dead spots are something to always keep in mind, and most people will already to know where exactly they are in the home if they’ve found them before – usually quite by accident.
So to small town Canada, we say welcome to the world of real Internet speeds!