From keeping your coffee hot to your house cool, smart home devices make your life immeasurably easier. They’re increasingly a vital part of the average homeowner’s daily life; experts at Safe Smart Living estimate that nearly half a billion smart devices will be shipped globally by the year 2020.
The smart home may be the way of the future, but currently, it’s not without fault. Smart refrigerators, thermostats, security systems, and even light bulbs promise convenience and efficiency, but they remain in the early stages. Communication between devices is particularly problematic in early smart homes; they appear to function just fine on their own but fall apart when surrounded by competing gadgets. What’s a smart home enthusiast to do?
Yes, smart home devices can slow down your internet connection, but no, you’re not doomed to choosing a select few favorites for fear of suffering a poor connection. A few simple adjustments will grant you the best of both worlds: a fully connected and automated home that boasts a lightning-quick connection. Read on to learn more about the relationship between smart home devices and internet speed:
The Role of Interference
The problem with your smart device connection probably has little to do with the devices themselves: the culprit might be your internet router. A variety of electronics within your home — including smart devices — may operate at approximately the same frequency as your router: 2.4GHz. This frequency is particularly common among older routers that haven’t been updated in years. Today’s homeowners regularly invest in new mobile devices or smart home tools without bothering to update routers accordingly. The result? Interference. Signals may overlap between various devices and your router.
The good news? This problem can easily be solved. If you’re not ready to update your router, develop a ‘heat map’ of strong and weak WiFi signals within your home. A variety of Android and iOS apps can help you accomplish this surprisingly simple task. Your WiFi heat map can determine whether you need to move your router away from other 2.4GHz devices, and if so, where the best location might be. Changing the channel may also help, especially if a less congested one is available.
Perhaps it’s time to invest in a new router. Thankfully, excellent options abound these days. When in doubt, opt for an 802.11 AC featuring dual or triple band capabilities. It may be possible to keep the 2.4GHz router and simply place the new 802.11 AC router on a higher band. Either way, you’ll benefit from not only the faster speed of 802.11 AC, but also its ability to cover a broader area. Internet needs are no longer limited to our living rooms and offices, so it’s important to work with a router that allows for a superior connection in the kitchen, bathroom, and throughout your home.
If your router is in perfect shape and you’re still struggling with a slow connection, automatic updates may be to blame. Smart devices update their firmware regularly — occasionally at the most inconvenient times. If several devices attempt to update their firmware at once, you’ll be left with dreaded Netflix buffering or sluggish downloads.
To minimize disruptions from automatic smart device updates, adjust the settings. Many devices boast their own app, or at minimum, website from which you can alter automatic update settings. However, some gadgets force you to make changes at the device level. If possible, set updates for times in which you’re away from home or otherwise not using the internet — the middle of the night, for example.
Living in a smart home need not mean sacrificing the speed of your internet connection. You can continue to invest in smart devices — you simply need to know how to connect them to the internet, how to change update settings, and how to best use your router. A few small tweaks can help you maintain the connected and convenient home of your dreams.
PS LIGHTWAVE is the consultative data-connectivity provider for public and private entities in the Greater Houston area. Through our high-quality infrastructure, innovative technology and superior level of support, we deliver not only the best in connectivity and reliability but in scalability and redundancy. You’ll also appreciate that the PS in our name stands for “Pure Speed.” We fully understand that technology is a moving target, and we understand the people and infrastructure of the Greater Houston area. We are nimble, flexible and responsive, and we embrace leading-edge technologies that improve the customer experience. We invite you to learn more. Visit our website or contact us. Concerned about connectivity? Think PS LIGHTWAVE.