Byte Me Article 260 – Wi-Fi

Staying Up To Speed With Wireless

Do you understand the difference between the following terms – Wi-Fi, Wireless Broadband, Fixed Wireless, 3G, 4G, 4GX & Bluetooth?  Not many people do and it is little wonder that is the case unless you are dealing with these terms every day.  All of the above are ‘wireless’ modes of communication that are used in various instances.

One of the longest reigning wireless technologies is Wi-Fi which has been around for over 30 years but only started getting popular in the last 10.  It is a wireless communication standard between computers or computer devices and has a typical range of around 20 meters.  Wi-Fi does have some trouble getting through walls especially the metal that garden sheds, demountables and colour bond panels are made of.

Wi-Fi has been most popular in linking computers to routers which were linked to the Internet via a telephone cable.  Such a typical setup would be an ADSL Internet connection though an Internet Service Provider (ISP) such as BigPond and through your phone line to a ‘wireless router’ which in turn broadcast a Wi-Fi signal around the immediate room or part of your house.

2016-02-20 Byte Me Article 260 - Wi-Fi

To extend on this you could also link more computers to the same router and even devices such as smart phones, smart TV’s and wireless printers.  Over the years these devices have shown varying degrees of ease of setup and reliability and have sometimes frustrated people to distraction!  Lately these faults have improved however there is still plenty that can go wrong compared to a simple cable.

Two of the most common problems we see is that of poor Wi-Fi signal strength and also confusion over what is running slow.  So many people in general tell us that their computer is running slow when in fact it is just their Internet connection that is slow.  The same applies to Wi-Fi which can be the cause of a slow Internet response or which can be unfairly blamed for the slow Internet response.

We need to remember that any chain is only as strong as its weakest link and the same applies here.  If your PC appears slow you need to determine if it is slow at everything including non-Internet tasks such as booting up, shutting down and opening non-Internet applications such as Word or a photo editor.  If this is the case then the PC is at fault.  However if the PC is only slow on the Internet then you need to look further.

If you have a Wi-Fi connection between the PC and your router then you need to see what signal strength you are getting – normally on a scale of zero to five ‘bars’.  If you are only getting one bar for example then this is probably the weakest link.  Try shifting the PC closer to the router or vice versa and see if things improve.  If you already have good Wi-Fi signal strength then again you need to look further.

Try doing an Internet speed test by visiting a site like and clicking on ‘Begin Test’ which should yield a Download speed result of at least 5 or 6 Mbps (we get 16 at our Musgrave St shop).  If you are getting less than 5 or 6Mbps on an ADSL connection then talk to your ISP as something is wrong.  If your Internet connection is of a ‘wireless’ variety then there are also plenty of things to try – which we will talk about next week. 

Future Byte Me topics can be emailed to [email protected] and Bruce is contactable at Kerr Solutions, 205 Musgrave Street or on 49 222 400.

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