A wireless network is something most people take for granted. When it is working, no one notices. The moment it starts to act up, usually slower speeds, you notice and get upset. Thankfully, there are a few things you keep in mind when setting up, or updating, your wireless network to help provide the best experience possible.
There have been times where friends and family members have asked:
Which WiFi band should I use? 5Ghz or 2.4GHz? What difference does it make? How many devices can I connect to my WiFi?Friends
The easiest way to explain this is that most modern day wireless routers feature dual band wireless networks. One band operates at 2.4GHz and the other at 5GHz. During setup, the router will ask you to create a network name (SSID) and password for each band. Some WiFi routers will allow you set one name and password for both bands, but we do not recommend it. Having two names allows you to manage which devices connect to the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands.
The 2.4GHz WiFi band has been a standard for a while, it offers up decent speeds but allows for a lot of coverage and range. The 5GHz WiFi band and allows for really fast WiFi speeds, but the coverage and range is weaker. Simply put 2.4GHz is for range and 5GHz is for speed. Since 2.4GHz WiFi band is so widely used, it's a heavily congested band. This will cause issues with all devices on your network, because that band is used by other wireless routers too, so they all compete in that space. 5GHz is way less congested making it ideal for speed and more stable connections.
As we stated before, when setting up your WiFi network, name 2.4Ghz and 5GHz different names. For example, wireless-2.4 and wireless-5. Now to answer the question, which one should you use? The answer is both. Having the different names, this allows you to customize which WiFi band your devices use. Giving you more control over your WiFi network and how it is used.
Now lets take a look at some examples of devices you might connect to your WiFi network and which WiFi band you should use. This list is not comprehensive. It will give you a better idea on determining which WiFi band works for your devices. The one rule we are using is the bandwidth needs of the device in question. Some devices will not support 5GHz, at which point, you have no option.
Laptops, streaming devices, security cameras, and tablets are heavy bandwidth users. But, because of range issues, those devices may need to connect the 2.4GHz WiFi band to be usable. Check out how streams or video feeds or downloads perform with these devices on both 5GHz and 2.4GHz bands. This will help determine if range is an issue. Use the WiFi band that provides a more stable connection.
When speed is a concern, then you should use the 5GHz WiFi band. Not many devices will benefit from the speed 5GHz offers.
A more technical explanation is that the more devices you connect to the 5GHz WiFi band, means the more devices that are attempting to hog more of your internet bandwidth. Say you have 10 devices connected to your 5GHz WiFi band. Now, say they are all actively transmitting and requesting data. In the end, your connections will most likely result in slower speeds for all your devices across all WiFi bands.
Whenever a device connects to your Wi-Fi network, it has to fight with other devices for bandwidth (internet speed). A TV streaming Netflix, a laptop downloading, an Xbox Live gaming session — they all want the fastest connection. But there’s only so much bandwidth to go around. Your bandwidth is stretched thin, resulting in a slower connection.Google
However, since the router’s wireless channel is shared between all the wireless clients, adding clients will inevitably result in slower network access for all clients. This will be particularly noticeable if some of the clients are using a lot of wireless bandwidth, for example by watching a video or doing a torrent download. Therefore, the maximum number of wireless clients that will operate satisfactorily while connected to the same router will vary depending on what the devices are used for. It will also vary depending on how much wireless congestion or interference are present in the location where the router is installed.Netgear
Not all WiFi routers are created equal. Most WiFi AC routers will have more bandwidth capabilities than WiFi N routers. You will still end up seeing slow down issues on AC devices, but the effects will be much less than that of WiFi N routers. If speed is a concern, then manage which devices use your 2.4GHz and 5GHz WiFi bands. If you still see some issues, look into updating your WiFi router to an AC1200 or better device.
We all pay a lot of money for our internet access and blazing fast internet speeds. What's worse is a vast majority do not check to see if they are getting the speeds they pay for. The reason being is most users will not realize they have an issue because the internet just works when browsing the web. People will take notice when trying to watch YouTube or Netflix and they get stuck buffering more. Internet Service Providers (ISPs) have instilled "heavy usage" hours that most people will write of issues as that. You should not do that and you should always ensure that you are getting what you pay for.
One of the first things you need to do when testing is check your bill and see what you are speed package you are paying for. Most ISPs will also state that your package are for "speeds up to XYZ Mbps." This gives ISPs some wiggle room on the speeds they provide to you. Typically, most ISPs will state that 20% speed difference is normal, especially during peak hours. Once you know the speeds your are paying for, you can now run some tests to ensure you do get those speeds. For this article, we will assume you are paying for speeds up to 150 Mbps.
When testing your internet speeds it is best you use a desktop or laptop with a wired connection. Most modern day desktops and laptops will have a gigabit connection. You will want to also check that your router supports a gigabit connection as well, which most modern day routers do. It is best to consult your owners manual for both devices you use during your tests. If you do have to test via wireless, make sure your router supports wireless-ac and that your wireless device supports that connection type too. Wireless-n devices speeds tests are not reliable for internet speeds over 150 Mbps, because they only support up to that speed.
There are several factors that could impact your internet speeds. Maybe your router does not support gigabit speeds? The wire for your network is bad? Your ISP truly has some network congestion? The speed test website is having issues? The point of all this testing is to attempt to find slow spots in your network and to see if they stay constant or only occur during certain times / days of the week.
Point and case would be if you are paying for up to 150Mbps and your speed test results are showing you are only get around 80Mbps, then there is a problem. And you need to address it with your ISP, especially when you are paying a small fortune for speeds than that.
At this moment, let us assume you are currently getting speed test results close to what you pay for. A week later your speed tests start to change.
You should do weekly speed checks for your network to ensure you are always getting what you pay for. There is nothing worse then not getting your money's worth.
After a speed test, compare it to what your ISP's plan states you should be getting. Is it with in 20% of that speed? If you are paying for 150Mbps, your 20% margin is 120-150Mbps. If your speed test results are within that range, then that is considered normal. Note this in a report that you keep. Now you can perform the same type of test again in about a week or so, and note any changes. When you do see come noticeable drops in speed, think about the following items to help troubleshoot:
If you determine the fault is with your ISP. Give them a call and talk to them about your findings. One thing that goes a long way is to remain calm and be respectful about it. Screaming and yelling will get you nowhere. Ask them how they are going to help resolve the issue for you. Maybe they have an area wide issue? The line from the tap to your modem is bad? There are several factors that could cause the issue, but a tech on site or over the phone should help track that down. Remember, the data you have collected from your speed tests can go a long way. Never just talk about one speed test, always include several speed tests from more than one day.
Now, if the speed problem is on your end, troubleshooting can be easy or difficult. The difficult depends on you and your knowledge of the devices and equipment that makes up your network. Maybe the modem is old or does not have the rating to handle the speed your ISP provides. If that is the case, you will need to purchase a new modem. Maybe a network cable in your home is bad? Sometimes a firmware update for your router will resolve the issue.
In the end, you do not want to waste money on your internet service if your ISP is not providing you with the speeds you pay for. Troubleshooting is never a fun task, but wasting money is not fun either. Many people do not pay attention to their internet speeds, just as long as "it just works." Do not be one of those people, and always ensure you are getting the performance you are paying for.
Nearly everything on the Internet starts with a DNS request. DNS is the Internet’s directory. Click on a link, open an app, send an email and the first thing your device does is ask the directory: Where can I find this?
Unfortunately, by default, DNS is usually slow and insecure. Your ISP, and anyone else listening in on the Internet, can see every site you visit and every app you use — even if their content is encrypted. Creepily, some DNS providers sell data about your Internet activity or use it target you with ads.
On April Fool's Day of 2018 Cloudflare announced their brand-new DNS service. The statement above explains the importance of having a good DNS service. Not all DNS providers are created equal. Cloudflare's DNS service is almost 20ms faster than Google's DNS service. We here at QCTechJunkie have updated all of our devices to use Cloudflare over Google. And there is no real reason why you should not at least try Cloudflare's DNS yourself.
One reason to use Cloudflare's DNS, over the one your ISP probably has you using, is for data privacy. According to Cloudflare:
We will never log your IP address (the way other companies identify you). And we’re not just saying that. We’ve retained KPMG to audit our systems annually to ensure that we’re doing what we say.
Frankly, we don’t want to know what you do on the Internet—it’s none of our business—and we’ve taken the technical steps to ensure we can’t.
Setup is easy, as long as you know where to look. In fact Cloudflare will recognize the device you are on when you go to https://188.8.131.52/. From there they will provide you with basic instructions to setup up your device to use their service. But, why do that when we will cover the major four platforms for you right here:
If you want to make things easier for all your devices on your home network, you can configure your router to use Cloudflare's DNS. Doing this will eliminate the need to configure each device on your home network. Below is the general setup for most routers:
Note: Configurations for your router maybe different, consult your routers owners manual for more information.
On June 11, 2018 the net neutrality laws repeal went into effect by the Federal Communications Commission. This will now give internet providers, like Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T free reign to throttle speeds and block websites as they see fit. This also allows them to create internet fast lanes.
A lot of people still do not understand net neutrality. Why it is important? Here the key points you need to 10understand.
This is the easiest way to explain net neutrality. If you have had cable TV, then you understand that many cable providers will force you to pay extra for hundreds of channels you do not want, just so you can have HBO or Starz or some premium sport channel.
Internet services providers can now adopt a similar business model. Providers can now block Facebook, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, Instagram, etc. if they like. You want access to those services? Then you need to pay for an internet package that includes those services. For example:
Note: Packages only allow customer to reach services. Customer still needs paid subscription to access the service, if applicable.
You might not physically need the internet to survive, but for most of us it’s become an absolute necessity. We rely on the internet for work, to communicate with family and friends, and to organize our lives.
Just like electricity, natural gas, sewage and water, the internet has become an necessity in everyday life. Companies and people rely on the internet for communications, organizations, automation, and work.
Internet services providers, the majority of them, are companies that care about profits, not you. Everyone has the basic right to water, electricity, and natural gas at their homes. Because of this there are regulations for the price of those utilities. Given the importance of the internet, it has become a utility as well, shouldn't it be regulated like the rest of our utilities? Control should not be with companies that are more concerned about their profit margins.
The one key point of net neutrality is that it stopped internet providers from blocking websites the provider disagreed with. Since the repeal of net neutrality, internet providers can censor anything on the internet they like.
When censorship is in place, this can slow innovation. AT&T had Apple blocking VOIP services because they did not want users using more data to make phone calls customer otherwise could not make, like international calls. Internet providers could also censor websites that compete with any of the media properties they own. Or they could censor websites that review their service poorly.
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai makes statements all the time that the 2015 Net Neutrality laws stifle innovation and made it hard for companies to invest in their internet infrastructure. The FCC's repeal is in direct response to those statements.
Here's the problem with Ajit's statements, Free Press had reported that investments for internet infrastructure have indeed increased since 2015. The report shows that internet services providers had spent more money expanding their networks since the Net Neutrality laws than any of the years prior to those laws. Even the majority of internet providers saw their revenues increase, outpacing the U.S. economy revenue growth rate.
The point is Ajut's statements are flat out lies. The net neutrality laws gave internet providers clear standards they needed to meet.
Obama may have been president with the 2015 net neutrality laws were passed. Net Neutrality practices and laws started development back in 2003. An example of this was when rural phone company made an attempt to block customers from using Vonage to make phone calls. This company received a fine from the FCC for anti-competitive behavior.
It's because of this that Ajit Pai and Donald Trump are not destroying something Obama did, but something that has been growing, for over a decade, into the free and open internet we all rely on.
Getting through the day without using a web browser is not a thing. We rely on them for everything. When your browser is acting up, the impact to your productivity, or sanity, or Netflix binge can be serious. Below are several of the more common problems users might experience with their web browser, and what you can do to fix those problems.
Troubleshooting issues with your web browser is not entirely difficult. Most of today's web browsers have built-in tools that will take care of numerous issues or at least help you get back to running smoothly in no time.
First things first, check the speed of your internet. Speedtest.net, Fast.com, or TestMy.net are good tools for this. Now that you know your connection speed is fine, poor browser performance and page loading can be the result of several different issues.
Most modern day web browsers will keep themselves up to date, but just in case, check to make sure you're running the latest version of your browser. Below are the most common browsers and how to check for updates:
Sometimes your browser performance is linked to extensions you might be using. Disabling them all and then enabling them one by one, seeing the impact to performance can help determine which extensions are causing your problems. Below are the most common browsers and how to disable/enable their extensions:
If you find that there are no extensions causing performance issues, then the browsers cache might have issues impacting performance. Clearing that data is like changing the oil for your browser. But, once you do this, you will most likely be logged out of all your favorite websites, so be ready to log back into them. Below are the most common browsers and how to clear their website cache:
Your last option, if you are still experiencing problems, is to uninstall and then reinstall your browser. This is what many call a clean reinstall. While uninstalling the browser, if given the option, to tell the uninstall to remove all data, related to your browser, from your computer. This will ensure the uninstall will remove settings, extensions, cookies, cache, and anything else. Now reinstall the browser. If you are still seeing performance issues, then malware could be to blame. Which we will discuss about in a little bit.
As time browsing the web goes by, your web browser will start to suggest URLs based on what you type into the address bar. This is a handy feature at times when you are trying to browse and do not feel like typing out a full website address. The problem is you will undoubtedly start seeing suggestions for stuff you do not want or want other people to see. The most successful way to stop this is to delete your browsing history, which I explained above. But that's a pretty extreme option.
Removing a single URL is a less extreme option and very easy to do. In any browser, start typing in the address bar until you see the URL suggestion you want to remove. Once it appears, use the arrow keys to select that suggestion and then hit the following keys to delete the URL from suggestions:
For Edge, you will have to clear your browsing history, as listed above, to remove URL suggestions.
When a web page starts looking odd compared to what to you normally expect, it can become frustrating. The first few things you can do is try refreshing the page, visit the page in another browser or another computer. If the web page looks odd on all browsers or devices, the issue is due to your internet or something was changed by the website. Double check to make sure the website address is correct and that you have not been redirected to fake version of the website. That can happen due to scammers.
If the page does not look odd on other browsers, then a safe assumption would be that there is a problem with your browser. A few steps you can take to fix the issue are 1, clear your browser history, or 2, disable browser extensions to see if they are causing issues, or 3, uninstalling and reinstalling your browser. All of these options I explained how to do earlier in this article.
Auto-Fill is super handy when filling out information during the checkout process or a sign up form. But from time to time it'll not always work how you expect it to. Other times, the data will just not show up.
The first step you want to take to is ensure auto-fill is actually turned on. Below are the most common browsers and how to check autofill settings:
Once you have verified auto-fill is enabled, then we come back to the usual suspects, bad data in the browser cache or browser extensions. Follow the steps from earlier about clearing your browser's cache and the steps to disabled and enable extensions. If you do find out that an extension is to blame, double check to see if an update is available for that extension. Otherwise, you might want to consider removing that extension or disabling it.
Solving this problem is the same as the steps we outlined for the browser performance section. If you've followed those steps and the browser is still randomly crashing it's time to move onto other factors involving your device.
Sometimes new hardware, like a printer or webcam, can cause issues with your browser. If you just installed a new device, try uninstalling it and seeing if that fixes the issue. Unfortunately, trying to figure out if hardware on your computer is causing your browser to crash is difficult. Basically troubleshooting boils down to uninstalling and reinstalling hardware devices and software. This is tedious to do and sometimes may not help you find the problem.
The best advice we can recommend is to ensure all of your device drivers, software, and operating system are up to date. Most software has a "Check for Updates" under an About menu. And most drivers will be updated by the operating system or have an update feature. Make sure to go through all of those updates on a regular basis.
Pop-ups are a pain to deal with in the web world. Thankfully they are not as bad as they used to be. But, every once and awhile you might notice a large number of websites will start showing pop-ups. When that happens, malware or adware could be on your computer and causing these headaches.
The adware or malware might be running as an extension on your browser or as a separate program on your computer. It could even be hiding it’s activity from you. One of the first steps you should take is run a full system scan with whatever antivirus software you have installed on your computer. Another step after that could be doing a secondary scan with Microsoft Safety Scanner or ClamWin Portable.
For your browser, run the the steps in section one to find what could be causing the issues with pop-ups. Also, take a moment to install an ad-blocker, which are especially helpful on pop-up heavy sites. Just remember to white-list your favorite websites.
Having internet problems can be a real bummer, but they probably extend beyond just browser. The first thing to check is if the issue is with all of your devices or just one device.
If the issue is isolated to one device, you will want to see what is using your bandwidth. You can do this by searching for Task Manager on your Windows task bar or, if you have an Apple device, searching for Activity Monitor in the macOS Spotlight. These tools will show you applications running on your device and how they are using system resources, such as CPU power, hard drives and your network.
You might find that a weird application is using bandwidth. If you do not recognize the application, try running some system scans, as detailed in section six of this article. If you notice bandwidth is being used by a browser, it's time to dig into what's wrong with the browser.
When trouble shooting internet connection issues with a browser, you will want to go through several of the items already cover in this article. This includes, disabling add-ons, clearing the browser cache, checking for updates, and so on and so forth.
If you find that the issue occurring on all devices, the issue may be outside of your control. Check for updates on your router and try rebooting your modem. Otherwise, you may have to call your service provider for help.
When a web page is not displaying images or videos, it could be an issue with the website's hosting provider. Other times it might be due to your internet connection, so run through the steps in the previous issue. Websites might not work properly when you have certain settings set on your browser.
If, after checking your browser's settings, you are still seeing issues, then it's time to run through all the troubleshooting steps we have gone over earlier. Third-party extensions can cause issues with images and videos, especially ad blockers.
The homepage for your browser can change at times. Installing other browsers might do this, sometimes installing an application, like anti-virus, will update your browsers homepage. That is kind of normal if you do not pay attention when installing new software.
The issue is when your homepage changes, without your permission, and keeps changing after you have attempted to change it back. When this happens, it's a sure sign that either an extension or malware is causing your homepage woes. These extensions or malware could be attempting to further infect your computer or get you to visit websites with affiliate links, in an attempt to earn some money.
We hate to sound like a broken record, but now is the time to run through steps outlined in section one. Disabling extensions, updating your homepage, and restarting the browser to see if the homepage does not change will be a quick red flag you have a bad extension. Running a security scan is also a good safety measure as well. See section six of this article for more information.