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Getting online: the fastest route to wi-fi at home

It’s easy to get excited at the idea of connecting to wireless internet. But before you rush into it, take a deep breath and understand these essentials.

Like a kid a toy shop, it’s easy to get excited at the idea of connecting to wireless internet. But before you rush into it, take a deep breath and understand these essentials.

It’s hard to imagine a world without Wi-Fi. The cord-free networking technology enables laptops, smartphones, tablets and smart home devices to interface with the internet.

Due to the increase of internet-dependent devices, even single-occupier households are now reliant on Wi-Fi, relegating the plug-in ADSL days to the rearview mirror.

Wi-Fi is one of the more significant advances of the 21st century. Invented here in the land down under, it’s become pervasive with modern life and made connecting to the internet easier and more accessible.

When you’re moving into a new home, setting up your Wi-Fi is often one of the first priorities. Here’s how to get it done in four easy steps.

Understanding your choices when it comes to speed

To most people, internet speeds may as well be read in algebra. But despite the perceptions, they are reasonably straightforward to understand when you allocate a few moments to digest the information.

The most common measurement of internet speed that you’ll find on internet offerings is Mbps, which stands for megabits per second. For reference, Mbps have largely replaced Kbps (kilobits per second) as the more commonplace measurement since the introduction of broadband.

One Mbps equates to 1,024 kilobits, but to think of an Mbps as 1,000 times faster than a Kbps is accurate enough.

Download speeds are widely considered to be more crucial to the average internet-using household than upload speeds, as most homes use the internet to consume data, information or streaming services rather than upload them or contribute their own files to the internet.

For businesses, the priorities between downloads and uploads may alternate.

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In terms that everyone can understand

To put the above in more quantifiable terms, 5 Mbps are required to stream Netflix in HD. For Ultra HD or 4K quality streaming, the requirement is five times that figure – 25 Mbps. On the other end of the scale, standard-definition streaming can be achieved with just 3 Mbps.

For music streaming – such as Spotify, Amazon Music or Tidal – a figure between 96 Kbps for average quality and 320 Kbps for an extremely high standard. For things like Facebook and no-frills website browsing, the requirement can be as low as 30 Kbps.

What to look for in a wireless modem

Your service provider can assist you in your selection, if you want to choose your own modem there are a few key things to keep in mind.

Two important aspects to consider are the quality of the processor and the quantity of the RAM. Unless you’re in a one-person household and intend to use only a single internet device at a time, it is best to steer clear of single-core processors and go with a dual-core or multi-core processor.

Due to the evolving nature of how we’re using the internet – with more streaming for fun and Zoom calls for work – at least 256MB of RAM is preferable, and you will likely see a marked improvement with 512MB of RAM.

So, you’ve picked a modem

It’s go-time. After you have plugged the cord from the internet service provider (ISP) into your modem and connected the Ethernet cable, you’re ready to activate the wireless internet and log into the modem.

Look for the wireless local area network (WLAN) settings and create a new Service Set Identifier (SSID), which is essentially the WLAN’s login details.

Authentication methods vary, but once you have fulfilled those security obligations, it’s also recommended that you set a maximum number of users that can connect to your Wi-Fi network. This will help prevent both hackers and internet-needy neighbours from skimming your data.

Now, the Wi-Fi is all yours.

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