Networking is a confusing little area of technology. There’s so many standards and abbreviations for all kinds of tech that it’s just baffling for anyone to understand it all. Plus, the alphabet soup of Wi-Fi standards over the years makes it harder to know what really works best in the modern world. To top it off, our Internet usage for everything has skyrocketed over the past few years.
After a lot of digging, we found that many of our users are using some really old networking tech. Stone age tech that the dinosaurs used. Using old networking tools causes a plethora of issues, especially when running LiquidSky. Packet loss, latency issues, screen tearing…these are just some of the pains an old network system can cause. Getting rid of your networking hurdles and upgrading will vastly improve your LiquidSky experience.
So, we decided to research and give our latest guide on how to network your home: not just for LiquidSky, but for everything online!
For starters, you’ll need to make sure you’re up-to-date on the following tech:
5GHZ Routers Are In – Not only are they the most common routers nowadays, but the higher frequency bandwidth gives you the speed needed to run LiquidSky in your house. DON’T use 2.4Ghz bands as they are not optimal for streaming media content. They’re good for internet browsing and 480p streams, but you won’t get the best quality out of them.
Multi-Channel With AC – For all your crazy tech friends with insatiable appetites for the newest tech, a multi-channel router is a necessity. Every connection you add is adding more strain to your network. Connecting your Smartphone, Tablet, PC, Laptop, Smart TV, and any other electronic devices adds more network needs. Multi-channel routers alleviate bottlenecks in your network that has multiple devices, so make sure it has both A and C standards!
Your Cable – One easily forgettable part of networking is also the most important: What kind of Ethernet cable are you using to connect your router? Your hookup is just as important as your fancy new router. If you’re using the cheapest bargain-basement cable from the 90s you could find…. you’re going to get slow speeds. Make sure that any main Ethernet cable you use to your router is AT LEAST at a CAT 5 standard or higher.
Computers May Vary – So you got your blazing fast router setup with your high-speed internet. Why’s my laptop still being slow? Well, that speed is also 100% dependent on your device. Your routers max speed might be over 1000mbps, but your device might be maxing out at 400mb/s…or even less than 100mb/s. Plus, older devices and some low-cost PCs don’t even have 5GHZ Wi-Fi or even Dual Bands, so you won’t be receiving any of those benefits from fancy new routers.
There are several ways to fix it: First, make sure your PC is running the latest drivers for your Wi-Fi adapter. You could be missing out on a crucial update that makes it up-to-snuff with today’s networking needs. While you’re at it, make sure your Router is also up-to-date with the last firmware and drivers. If that doesn’t work, you could just grab a cheap USB Wi-Fi receiver with the latest standards equipped. It might not have the best range, but they will solve any issues with bottlenecking.
Now that we’ve laid down what you need to stay in networking nirvana during the 21st Century, the bigger question remains:
Why do you need to upgrade?
Everything (and sometimes your kitchen sink) runs on ol’ 2.4GHZ. That’s because it’s great at getting through walls and obstacles. Plus, keeping all the signals to one standard frequency is a lot easier for tech manufacturers to get cheap parts and equipment that talk to each other easily. But all that microwave gunk at the same frequency means it’s all a microscopic jumble of frequencies competing for the same space. Moving up to 5GHZ not only gives you better speeds but also prevents you from connecting in a very congested space of wireless connections, giving you a much smoother experience overall.
Not Just Faster, But Smarter
Routers are just little conduits of all your connected devices. Connecting all your tech hodgepodges is easy. What’s hard is having your router constantly switch them in an efficient way. Just like your PC, your router has brains. Faster brains mean a smarter router, and the latest routers have faster processors to better cope with network switching.
Do you often get stuttering and loading when streaming your favorite content, or see tons of artifacts or lag when playing LiquidSky? This is your network trying really hard to keep up with your demanding network. More modern networking means your digital streams will be much smoother and lag-free than before.
Welcome Your Antenna Overlords
Remember how routers are now super smart at connecting your devices? Well, they’re also very good at finding the best direction to send your data, too. Those weird antennas on newer routers aren’t just for show. To make your Wi-Fi connection even more reliable, having multiple antennas will make sure that your home is covered everywhere. You just point them in the direction they need to be, and your router will do its magic.
Get Your Gigabits in Order
Upgrading your router isn’t just about getting better wireless speeds, but even improving your wired speeds. If you’re still using the ‘ol 100mb/s standard, you probably aren’t utilizing your full network potential. Your ISP is constantly upgrading your internet speeds every year. You might be paying for the same old price, but it’s likely your network speed is now double, or even triple what it once was.
Just like when you multitask on your computer, you’re spreading your resources thinner. So even if you’re using less than 100mb/s and don’t always need it, all your connected devices are sharing that same pie. Getting a Gigabit Multi-Channel Router makes sure your network is smoothly getting all the networking speed you can, and that you’re always up-to-date when you get those awesome upgrades from your ISP.
Speeds Are Deceptive
In the world of routers, what you see is NOT what you get. Those crazy fast 1300mb/s advertised speeds on 5GHZ? That’s under the most idealistic possible scenarios that will never happen with the best Internet provider in the world. Combining having multiple devices in your home and device-specific bottlenecks, your speed will be much slower. This isn’t just for the newest devices. Your old router is just as deceptive.
If you own a 100mb/s router thinking that’s enough, think again. Even when connecting just 1 device that’s perfectly compatible, at best you’ll get 50-70mb/s. With multiple devices and distance a factor, you could dip to even lower than 20mb/s. Whatever the Marketing is on the box, always divide those speeds by 3…or even 4.
Looking for a quick fix on a budget? Here’s our top tip to maximize your old routers usage:
Sometimes, all you need to do is spice things up and change the channel. When a router streams your internet throughout your home, you’re also competing with many other routers and devices. Not only do routers transmit as a specific frequency (2.4 or 5GHZ), but also at sub frequency channels. Newer routers automatically change channels on their own, but some older ones (especially if they are not dual-channel) have their own default channels. Try different channel settings and see which one works best for your home.
We hope this article helps in getting your home jumpstarted into the 21st Century. Whether you’re playing LiquidSky, streaming your favorite online video, or even catching up with old friends, keeping your networking up-to-date is critical to having a smooth and simple networking life. Follow this guide, and you’ll have a drastically improved online experience.
Looking for more advice? We’re not done yet: Check out our Top Picks for our Best Routers that work with LiquidSky here! Plus, share us any tips you have in the comments section below.