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How Wi-Fi Works

Wi-Fi Network Facts

A Wi-Fi (or wireless) network uses radio waves to deliver wireless, high-speed internet to compatible devices, such as mobile phones, laptops, tablets, home security systems, printers, appliances and more. Wireless connectivity through your Midco cable modem enables you to be mobile throughout your home.

  • We’ve tested and certified certain approved modems that work best on the Midco Network.
  • When you have a wireless modem, it not only connects to Midco’s high-speed network in your neighborhood, but it also broadcasts a Wi-Fi signal, so your wireless devices connect to each other and the internet.
  • If you wish, you can also use a third-party router for your in-home network; however, Midco does not offer or support routers.
  • Device capabilities and technology makes a big difference in your Wi-Fi speed and performance.
  • Where you place your wireless modem in your home matters quite a bit to your Wi-Fi performance overall, as it can amplify issues with competing conflicting radio waves.

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 wireless modems, routers or devices 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.
  • The DOCSIS 3.1 modem and some other newer, dual-band, Wi-Fi modems 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.
  • Older dual-band modems 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 would display as a wireless network name of CGN-8090, and 5 GHz would display as a wireless network name of CGN-8090-5G.)

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.

1 All cable outlets in a home may not be active. If an outlet is not active and you would like to move your modem to it, a Midco technician visit will be needed. Charges may apply apply for a technician visit.