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The speed of a Broadband or Internet connection is measured up to the modem on a network. The network within the home, including the Local Area Network (LAN) or Wireless Network (Wi-Fi), is the responsibility of the homeowner.

The Wi-Fi connection allows multiple devices – such as PC’s, laptops, smartphones, tablets, TV’s and gaming consoles – to connect simultaneously to the Internet connection.

A Broadband speed test will measure both your download and upload speed and will give you a snapshot of your speed at a point in time.  The download speed affects the time it takes to see web pages or stream content, whilst the upload speed affects the time it takes to upload content such as photos or documents to the cloud.

To test your Broadband speed, you need to connect your computer to the modem using a network cable.   You can then visit www.speedtest.net or www.speedtest.mybroadband.co.za and perform the speed test.  When doing a Broadband speed test, no other devices, such as mobile phones, tablets, laptop, TV’s and gaming consoles or applications, should be connected to the Internet since these will influence the test results.

Your Broadband download speed test result should be close to your Fibre purchased speed (>90% of speed) when you run the speed test via your network cable.  If not, please contact your service provider.

Next, you should test your Wi-Fi speed.  To do this, you need to connect your end-user device, such as your cellphone, to the Wi-Fi modem and run the speed test from this device.

In most instances, there will be a difference between cable and Wi-Fi speed tests.  A big variance between the two tests may indicate that there is a problem with your Wi-Fi connection.  Factors that may impact your Wi-Fi experience and ways to improve your in-home Wi-Fi are discussed next.

There are many factors impacting the range and speed of your Wi-Fi connection.  Some of these are:

  • Distance between end-user devices and Wi-Fi modem.  The further the distance between your device and modem, the weaker your Wi-Fi signal will become. Typically, the Wi-Fi icon on your mobile phone will give you a good indication of the quality and strength of your Wi-Fi signal. The more waves, the stronger the signal.
  • Some physical objects, or the use of certain materials in your home, can hinder your Wi-Fi signal strength.  Examples of these include the number of walls in your home, the thickness of walls, concrete slabs and steel found in rooms, floors and roofs. Placing a wireless router downstairs in the living room, and then connecting it over Wi-Fi upstairs, will provide a much slower connection than if you were closer to the modem or connected to it via a cable instead.
  • Interference from other Wi-Fi signals and electronic devices such as Wi-Fi hotspots, and home appliances like refrigerators and microwave ovens. In addition, devices such as Bluetooth devices, cordless phones, alarm sensors, garage door openers, drones and remote control toys that are not complying to interference regulations, could also interfere with your Wi-Fi signal.  The correct placement or reconfiguration of your modem can help to eliminate interference. Credible applications, such as the Wi-Fi Analyser that is available on the iStore or Google Play Store, can also be used to determine signal strength and channel use.

 

Note: The above factors should be taken into consideration when deciding on the placement of your modem or whether you may need to install Wi-Fi extenders and/or Access Points in your home to optimise your Wi-Fi experience.

There are various factors that could impact your Broadband speed.  These include the following:

  • The number of devices and simultaneous use of devices; the more end-user devices you have that are connected to your modem, and the more devices that are used concurrently, the slower your Wi-Fi speed will get.  You should consider upgrading to a higher Fibre speed if you have many devices, such as laptops, tablets, media streaming boxes or mobile phones, that are used to do streaming, sharing photos via social media and uploading documents to the cloud concurrently.
  • If you subscribe to Uncapped Internet, your Service Provider could throttle your speed if you reach the data determined by the Fair Usage Policy (FUP).   This could slow down your Broadband speed.  This also applies if you have SoftCap data and you have reached your cap.  We recommend that you upgrade to a higher Broadband speed, with higher FUP levels, if you run out of data on a regular basis.  We advise that you schedule unattended content upload and download, or software updates, to take place during Night Surfer time (12 am to 7 am).  The data used for these updates will not count towards your SoftCap or Uncapped data.(Telkom network)
  • Internet congestion, which can occur when many people are on the Internet at the same time, accessing the same content.  For example, if many viewers are watching a particular movie, from the same server on the world wide web, at the same time, you may experience a slow Broadband speed due to congestion. This is not within the control of your service provider.
  • Ongoing advances in technology could mean that your old modem may not provide sufficient Wi-Fi speed for your high-speed internet connection.  If you have upgraded to a higher speed, it might make sense to get a new modem to support your higher Broadband/Fibre speed connection.

Choosing the right Wi-Fi channel could improve your Broadband speed.  This is best left to a specialist.

Ensuring your Wi-Fi connection is functioning optimally is important when looking for ways to improve your Internet experience. You can improve your Wi-Fi range by using a Wi-Fi extender, powerline adapter or additional access points and a mesh Wi-Fi network.

Wi-Fi extenders

A Wi-Fi range extender will extend the broadband modem’s Wi-Fi signal and act as an intermediate repeater. It is ideal for smaller homes with poor signal in certain rooms.

It is essential to place the Wi-Fi extender in an optimal location that is within sufficient range of the Wi-Fi modem. For example, it could be placed in a passageway in order to reach the interleading rooms.

The Wi-Fi icon on your cellphone can be used to give you an indication of the Wi-Fi signal strength.

Powerline adaptors

If you need to extend your internet connection to several rooms,  powerline adapters are a good choice. The devices connect to your modem via a network cable and carry your internet connection over the powerlines in your house, allowing you to connect via a network point enabling Wi-Fi in another room.

One unit is connected to your modem via a network cable, and sends connectivity to paired units in other rooms, as long as they are plugged directly into a wall power socket. However, this will work only if you have single-phase power (and not three-phase power) in the house.

Note: You need to give the same IP name to your Wi-Fi modem and/or extenders as this will ensure that handovers automatically take place between the modem and extenders as you move around the house.

Access points and mesh networks

The best way of ensuring a good Wi-Fi range is to install wired access points (AP’s) in areas where you don’t have sufficient Wi-Fi coverage. This guarantees that you will get an optimal Broadband speed and experience in areas where you need it most, such as the TV room or study.

Connecting your end-user devices through a network cable to AP’s will always give you the fastest Broadband speed, but you can also connect a Wi-Fi extender to the AP if you are looking for a way to increase your Wi-Fi coverage at that point.

You can also add additional AP’s for the installation of a Mesh Network that will ensure that you get good Wi-Fi coverage throughout your home. Your devices will be connected to the AP with the best connection as you move around your home.

A Wi-Fi mesh network is the ideal solution for large or multi-storey homes. You should get a technical specialist to do an assessment to determine the best Wi-Fi access point or mesh network solution for your home.

We trust that the information provided will assist you in optimising your Wi-Fi coverage and speed so that you can enjoy the best Broadband experience possible.