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Picture this: You’ve just set up your home network with the latest Wi-Fi hardware and a 100 Mbps Internet connection. But for some reason, you still encounter buffering when you try to stream video in the bedroom. You called your ISP and everything checks out, so what’s the deal? Chances are, your Wi-Fi isn’t set up efficiently for a whole-home network.
The weakened signal could be the result of physical obstructions, especially if they’re made of metal, brick, or concrete. Or perhaps the distance is simply too great, and your router is only capable of reaching as far as the kitchen, but not to the backyard, garage, or a distant bedroom. Interference from other devices could also be the culprit, whether it’s your microwave, cordless phone, or baby monitor. If you live in close quarters with other Wi-Fi networks and devices—such as in an apartment complex—this problem increases tenfold. Think of it like a room full of people who are all speaking at once—nobody’s going to be heard very well.
A better solution is Wi-Fi that works with your home design, instead of against it. Whole-home Wi-Fi (or mesh Wi-Fi) works, with multiple nodes installed around your home so you’ve got solid Wi-Fi coverage from one end to the other.A modular mesh whole-home Wi-Fi system is flexible and scalable, giving you a customizable method of expanding your Wi-Fi without the need to add range extenders, which have performance and ease-of-use issues.
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When it comes to clarity, 4K offers very real benefits—at 3,840 pixels of horizontal and 2,160 pixels of vertical resolution, it just about quadruples the pixel density of 1080p HD. But more detail calls for more data. Because 4K delivers drastically higher resolution images, streaming services need tons more bandwidth to deliver films smoothly without the “buffering” gremlin haunting your movie night. To keep things streaming smoothly, you need a broadband connection that's up to the task, from your Internet Service Provider (ISP) to your router.
Every day, the pool of 4K films expands—Netflix and Amazon now shoot their original programming in Ultra HD, and even YouTube's bite-sized content is quickly upping its resolution ante. To match this new standard, your home Wi-Fi has to be up to par. For a buffer-free experience, DSL—or phone-line-based Internet that averages speeds of about 5 megabits per second (Mbps)—isn't going to cut it. To ensure you have plenty of bandwidth for 4K, you'll need broadband service such as cable or fiber Internet.
Wi-Fi travels on frequencies called radio bands, but old school routers typically only offer one band for data to travel on. Moderate Wi-Fi users will find that dual-band routers offer smooth sailing, even for 4K streaming. But if you've got multiple roomies or a big family—especially teens who live on their smartphones—tri-band devices help ensure that no one's Wi-Fi experience suffers when others connect to the network.
If you own a 4K TV, a multi-user, multiple-input and multiple-output connection is your friend. Here's the simple breakdown: traditional routers send and receive information from one device at a time, shooting data back and forth. Although only milliseconds long, those gaps in connection cause what we know as buffering—a common foe to any avid streamer. But MU-MIMO routers communicate with multiple devices at once, making for a more stable connection. For a bandwidth hog like Ultra HD streaming, a Next-Gen AC (MU-MIMO) router could be exactly what you need to ensure that your Netflix show doesn't dip into sub-4K resolutions while your kids play “League of Legends” in the next room.
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With the plethora of streaming services offering on-demand music, movies, and TV shows, there’s an all-you-can-eat buffet of entertainment possibilities at your fingertips. But if your older computer’s Wi-Fi functionality can’t meet the demands of streaming high-quality content, all you’ll have is meager, half-buffered clips. The solution? A USB Wi-Fi adapter. It’s the easiest, most cost-effective way to upgrade your older Wi-Fi laptop, and it can make a world of difference for your Internet connection.
A USB Wi-Fi adapter overrides the computer's built-in wireless functionality, giving you a faster, more reliable connection to your available network signals through the USB port instead. Since most computers have at least one USB port, you’ll typically be able to use it on both laptops and desktops. Plus, the plug-and-play convenience means you can remove the device when it's not needed to use in another computer.
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