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Optimize Wi-Fi

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How Wi-Fi Works

A Wi-Fi (or wireless) network uses radio waves to deliver wireless, high-speed internet to compatible devices, like your smartphones, tablets, computers, home security systems, gaming systems, printers, appliances and more. Wireless connectivity through your Midco wireless gateway or owned router enables you to be mobile throughout your home.

All wireless devices in your home should operate on a 2.4 GHz network. Only newer devices can work on both the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz frequencies. However, not all devices or wireless gateways and routers can connect to both frequencies.

  • Newer equipment will have capabilities for both, meaning they are dual-band devices – and they use 802.11n or 802.11ac technology.
  • Newer dual-band wireless gateways work with both frequencies to take advantage of bandwidth steering. Your devices will automatically steer to the frequency providing the best signal, all on the same Wi-Fi network.
  • Some dual-band gateways or routers will display different networks for each frequency that you have to join manually to see if you get a better signal. (For example, 2.4 GHz might display as a wireless network name of CODA-4582, and 5 GHz might show a wireless network name of CODA-4582-5G.)

To see if your device is compatible with a 5 GHz network, check your device’s user manual. To see which band your device is connected to, go to the Wi-Fi network settings on the device.

 

2.4 GHz

The 2.4 GHz frequency is very common is many consumer electronic devices, meaning there can be a lot of wireless interference in this frequency. However, 2.4 GHz signals generally travel farther and have greater range than 5 GHz signals.

 

5 GHz

If you’re looking for less Wi-Fi interference and faster speed, the 5 GHz frequency may be a better option for you, because it has more capacity and throughput. This frequency is better for applications requiring high bandwidth, such as streaming video. However, this technology has a shorter distance or range for wireless signals.

You can get the best speeds with your wireless devices if they’re built with advanced MIMO, frequency and wireless networking standards. These basic guidelines are for gigabit wireless speeds in a perfect environment. They are not intended to be set in stone, because software and other factors can affect your speed and device performance.

802.11ac Wireless Networking Standard

  • MIMO 4x4: Up to 800 Mbps downloads
  • MIMO 2x2: Up to 400 Mbps downloads
  • Non-MIMO 1x1: Up to 400 Mbps downloads
  • GHz Frequency Capabilities: 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz (to take full advantage of gig speeds)

802.11n Wireless Networking Standard

  • MIMO 4x4: N/A
  • MIMO 2x2: Up to 300 Mbps downloads
  • Non-MIMO 1x1: Up to 150 Mbps downloads
  • GHz Frequency Capabilities: 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz (to take full advantage of gig speeds)

802.11g Wireless Networking Standard

  • MIMO 4x4: N/A
  • MIMO 2x2: N/A
  • Non-MIMO 1x1: Up to 20 Mbps downloads
  • GHz Frequency Capabilities: 2.4 GHz only
MIMO

Smartphones and tablets – Most smartphones typically have one antenna for receiving wireless signals, and one for sending wireless signals – meaning they don’t often include MIMO technology.

Laptops and wireless gaming devices – Typically, many of these devices have just one wireless antenna, although newer and more advanced devices may have more.

Optimize Your Wi-Fi

With all the technology in a home today, wireless interference can be a growing challenge. It generally fits into one of these categories:

  • Physical interference such as walls, windows and building materials
  • Wireless gateway (or third-party router) location
  • Other wireless networks that belong to neighbors or other devices
  • Electronics in your home

While there’s not a lot we can do to change the physical things in our homes, it’s important to understand that physical items within your home and the materials used to construct the building you’re in can impact your Wi-Fi.

  • Walls, doors and windows between your wireless gateway and your devices can prevent the wireless signal from distributing consistently throughout your home.
  • Wood, plaster, brick, steel and concrete are all items that will interfere with Wi-Fi signals.

Where your wireless gateway or router is located can affect the Wi-Fi signal throughout your home. To provide the best signal possible, here are some items to consider regarding your equipment:

  • Because distance impacts Wi-Fi performance and signal strength, place your wireless gateway or router centrally in your home where you use wireless devices most often. The size and layout of your home may also impact performance, meaning wireless coverage may be limited in some areas in a large home or multiple-level home.
    • If you have a larger home or a multi-level home, consider adding Midco Freestyle® Wi-Fi to your home to get corner-to-corner Wi-Fi.
  • Maximize your gateway’s ability to broadcast a solid, dependable wireless signal by elevating it on a table or stand to keep it off the floor.
  • Keep your gateway in the open. Avoid closets or cabinets, and don’t place it behind other electronics such as TVs, stereos/sound bars and computers.

Other Wi-Fi networks within range of your home and devices can impact your Wi-Fi’s performance. There are a limited number of channels – or space – available for Wi-Fi to run on. That means your neighbors’ Wi-Fi could interfere with your own.

Wi-Fi Channels

Many wireless gateways and routers will determine which channel is best to connect to when they are rebooted. Simply unplug the power to your gateway for 10 seconds, and then plug it back in. When the equipment comes back online, it will attempt to find the best wireless channel available – meaning less interference.

Having to reboot your wireless gateway more than once or twice a month may indicate that something else is impacting your wireless quality.

Wi-Fi Frequencies

Wi-Fi networks can run on two frequencies, 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz. Not all wireless routers or devices can connect on both frequencies. Newer equipment will have the capabilities for both. These are called dual-band devices, and they use 802.11n or 802.11ac technology.

Because 2.4 GHz is very common in many consumer electronic devices, there can be a lot of interference on this frequency. While 2.4 GHz has good distance/range, it can’t handle as much capacity or throughput. Today, there’s typically less interference with 5 GHz, because it’s not as common in consumer products. The 5 GHz technology has a shorter distance/range but uses updated technology to allow for more capacity or throughput.

  • Different manufacturers choose different technology when they’re making their products. Educate yourself on the equipment in your home.
  • Know that each home and user are different.

The number of devices that can connect to Wi-Fi in our homes are growing tremendously. Knowing how many wireless devices are in your home won’t fix interference issues, but it can help you understand why there might be interference.

Examples of devices that can cause wireless interference include laptops, phones, tablets, streaming media players, TVs, Blu Ray players, printers, exercise equipment, sound bars, thermostats, refrigerators, bathroom scales, security cameras, cordless phones, microwave ovens and more.

  • If you’re not using a device – or at least not using its wireless features – disconnect it from your Wi-Fi.
  • If you can connect a device directly to the internet through a wired connection, do it. This will help improve signal quality and may reduce Wi-Fi interference to and from other devices.
  • If your device can be adjusted to only use Wi-Fi when it needs to, instead of constantly connecting to it, adjust that setting.