WiFi versus Internet, and Factors Affecting Their Performance

Anjie lou delos Reyes
Having a good and reliable internet is one of the most highly sought requirements at home in this digital age, especially nowadays, with the enhanced community quarantine still in place.

WiFi versus Internet, and Factors Affecting Their Performance
WiFi versus Internet, and Factors Affecting Their Performance

As a blogger and a person who works mostly at home, it is essential to have a very stable and fast connection. Together with the right tools, it allows me to accomplish tasks and other things efficiently. Uploading videos and publishing articles are buttery smooth, while video conferencing is lag-free when I have a great connection.

However, even if you already have a good internet service provider, there are still things that could affect its performance. But, before we go any further, let me tell you first that Wi-Fi and the internet are two different things. Yes, they are often referred to as synonymous with each other, but in the real context, they are different.

Wi-Fi is basically a technology that allows devices like laptops, printers, smartphones, and tablets to be connected wirelessly in a local area network. Regardless if there is an internet or not, these devices that connected to the same local area network can communicate with one another. For example, you can print from your computer to a nearby Wi-Fi Certified printer as long as they are connected to the same network. Another example is mirroring the contents of your smartphone to a smart TV, which again you can do without an internet connection.

The owner of the Wi-Fi network is usually the one in control. He or she can easily alter the network, such as changing the name and/or the password, limit the number of the users that can connect, perform other restrictions or controls to the connected devices, turn off or reboot the router at will, and even replace the router when necessary.

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Meanwhile, the internet, or technically known as a wide area network (WAN), is a global system of interconnected computer networks. It connects tons of local networks together that users, if they have permission, can obtain information to any other network around the globe. For example, using Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Netflix, and other related services requires the internet.

The internet connection is usually outside the control of the user, especially for those who have fixed network subscriptions such as DSL and Fiber. Basically, the users or subscribers just pay the corresponding monthly fee on their desired connection speed to a service provider and fingers-crossed that they get the same speed for what they paid for.

So, what does it mean? If you have a Wi-Fi network, it does not 100% equates that you have internet access, you will always have local network access, but not an internet connection. It is also true that there is nothing you can do with the internet speed given by your ISP, but there are things you can do to avoid degrading it or slowing it down.

Below are some of the basic things to consider in optimizing your wireless home network.

  1. Objects that interfere with the wireless signal. The wireless router is an electronic device that emits signals. Therefore it is best to place it in an open area. Be sure also to place it away from other electronic and magnetic devices or appliances as they may cause interference.
  2. The router is too far to the devices. The farther the device from an access point, the weaker the signal is. Ideally, the wireless router must be placed somewhere near the devices that connect to it the most so that they get the optimum signals.
  3. Type of router used. Routers are not created equal; they support different speeds and even different frequencies, so choose the router that best suits your needs. Just remember, the more sophisticated it is, the more expensive it gets.
  4. Data hungry applications. Online games, downloading huge files, or streaming video often eats up lots of bandwidth, which in turn slows down the network.
  5. Multiple devices. The more devices are connected, the heavier the network usage, therefore, the lesser bandwidth that can be shared between them.

Also Read: 5 Reasons Not To Buy A New Smartphone

The first three things mentioned above are the obvious factors that need to be considered when setting up your wireless network. Most of the time, you only need to optimize them once, and you are good to go. What I mean is that you do not need to move your router every now and then, or replace your router whenever you feel your connection is becoming slower than usual.

Instead, what you need to check are the last two items listed. Most often than not, they are the culprits when you are having a poor connection. So, if a family member is watching Netflix or playing online games, you better ask them to be considerate, especially if what you are doing is more important than them.

Of course, all of us want a fast and reliable connection, who wants slow or poor internet anyway? In my case, I live in a condominium unit with an area of less than 60 square meters. Therefore, the dead spot is almost no issue at all. However, for people who live in a bigger space, using a single WiFi router maybe not enough, some family members tend to get a weaker signal as they are a bit far from the router and there are more obstacles along the way.

In this scenario, wireless Extender is the cheapest way to fix those dead spots. As the name implies, it extends the coverage of an existing Wi-Fi network wirelessly (no cable is necessary, except, of course, the power cable). However, a percentage of the original signal is lost in the process every time the signal is extended. Remember, what we want is internet speed and not just Wi-Fi speed. Moreover, each Wi-Fi extender will have its own SSID (network name), which means, when moving around the house, you need to connect manually to the nearest network to get the optimum signal.

So what is the best solution? For me, wireless mesh network! It is designed to handle network traffic effectively and efficiently with fast throughput and, most importantly, whole-home coverage. Each mesh access point can communicate with the others and provides the best path to each and every connected device automatically. It is also relatively easy to set up, and the more access point you have, the better home network you will get.

In addition, popular internet service providers have their own offerings, which makes it easier for consumers to have a mesh network. For example, PLDT offers Google WiFi Plan, while SkyCable has TP-Link Deco M5 and Deco E4.

Hopefully, this article has been informative, and if you more tips, please kindly share it with us in the comment section.

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  1. Wired is always better but not always convenient or even possible. Wireless is, of course, tidier but subject to interference.

  2. paki elaborate or summarize ung mas maikli hehehe XD

  3. Sa Pinas talaga mabagal ang internet at mahal pa. Tama yung sinabi mo sa number 4 and 5 but only in the Philippines. Other countries for example in Taiwan, number 4 and 5 is never an issue. And its much cheaper for only 545NT Dollar for 1 month (4G/LTE signal).
    Your blogged is of great help in addressing poor internet speed issue in the Philippines. Thank you

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