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How to get the most out of your Westnet home WiFi

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Does your home WiFi work better in some rooms compared to others? Is it running as fast as it could be? If you notice the WiFi signal bar on your smartphone, tablet or computer seems to be pretty low, your devices or home layout may be interfering with the WiFi signal coming from your router.

Don’t stress – there are some simple changes you can make to get your home WiFi signal in ship-shape. We’ve put together some handy tips to help you make the most out of your home WiFi and get the fastest, strongest signal possible.

 

Why 5GHz WiFi is better than 2.4GHz

These days, most routers and WiFi devices feature 5GHz AC WiFi, a newer technology that offers faster performance than its predecessors. However, routers and WiFi devices typically also offer backwards compatibility with the older 2.4GHz N WiFi, which doesn’t perform as well and is prone to more interference. Many people use the weaker 2.4GHz by default or simply out of habit. The problem is that so many devices today are using bandwidth on the older 2.4GHz N WiFi network, from phones and computers to WiFi or Bluetooth-enabled household appliances, that it can cause major local congestion.

The newer 5GHz AC WiFi is less congested simply because it has much more bandwidth available to be shared between multiple devices.

When it comes to devices that you use for applications such as streaming video, downloads and social media, it’s strongly recommended to use 5GHz AC WiFi wherever possible for a faster, more reliable connection. Switch over your devices today and see the change for yourself!

How to get on 5GHz AC WiFi

If you have a TP-Link VR1600v or TG-789 Broadband Gateway supplied by us, you’re in luck! These models have 5GHz AC WiFi.

For all other modems, check its barcode sticker for details about a 5G WiFi network – this will include the default WiFi network name and password. Then have a go at connecting – there’s no harm done if it doesn’t work.

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Once you’ve got all your devices connected, you may notice an immediate improvement in WiFi performance, but there’s still some other things you can check to get the best experience possible.

Your WiFi router location matters

While 5GHz AC WiFi does offer better performance compared to older 2.4GHz WiFi networks, it does have a shorter range and lower “signal penetration” (that’s tech-talk for it doesn’t travel through objects as well). This range should be big enough to cover the average apartment or house, but if you live in a larger house or have thick walls, the solution may be as simple as relocating your router.

When choosing a location for your WiFi router, aim for the following:

  • A clear, central place in your home – ideally with as few walls/objects as possible between the router and locations where you use the internet most often.
  • Out in the open – shutting a modem away in a cupboard just adds more obstacles.
  • On a desk or elevated shelf – WiFi signal travels better “downwards” because there’s less obstacles for the signal to pass through, so starting out on the floor is a disadvantage.
  • Away from any trees, plants, pipes, tiles, microwaves, fish tanks, large metal objects or mirrors – these can all act as obstacles for your WiFi signal.

Check for background activity if you get sudden issues

When you’re already confident in your WiFi setup, it can be frustrating when the signal drops out of the blue. With the sheer number of wireless devices in the typical modern home, a common culprit for unexpected signal drops can simply be increased background activity. At any moment, our phones, laptops, gaming systems or any number of other devices may suddenly decide to do a system update, or back-up our files to the cloud, causing slower performance across the whole household. What may look like a WiFi drop may actually be your internet connection running out of bandwidth for all your connected devices.

If you are experiencing intermittent speed issues or buffering when streaming videos, check if your broadband plan is suitable for your needs. Westnet NBN™ has a range of different speed options. You can see what’s available by checking your address on our website.

Tweaking your channel bandwidth

If you’re experiencing poor speeds or dropouts on your WiFi, setting your WiFi channel bandwidth to 20MHz only may resolve the issue. This handy guide will show you how to make this change on Westnet routers. If you have a third-party device, please check their website for support information.

Considerations for your hardware

Sometimes the size or construction of your home just isn’t optimised for a WiFi signal, but that doesn’t mean that you don’t have options!

  • Wireless mesh networks
    A serious step up from a simple extender, wireless mesh networking systems have several WiFi devices installed throughout your home, all working for the same WiFi network. These devices capture each other’s WiFi signals and rebroadcast it, creating a “mesh” of WiFi signal without any dead spots.
  • Ethernet cabling
    Ethernet cabling just can’t be beat, especially when it comes to very time-sensitive operations such as online gaming or stock trading. To avoid running long Ethernet cables along floors or under doors, consider contacting an IT specialist or registered cabler to discuss getting Ethernet cabling installed in your home so you can simply plug into Ethernet ports on the wall in the rooms where you have your router, computer, gaming console and/or smart TV.

Do you have a tip to boost your WiFi performance? Share it in the comments.

13 comments

  1. Brian says:

    I’ve got the most basic package – Seniors Card Special at $39.95 per month and I’m experienced no problems since changing over to the NBN last year. I can stream video without any loss of quality so I’m a a very satisfied iinet/ Westnet customer. Keep up the great work!

  2. James says:

    Correction of grammar:

    On a desk or elevated shelf – WiFi signal travels better “downwards” because there’s FEWER obstacles for the signal to pass through, so starting out on the floor is a disadvantage.

  3. Margaret Hitching says:

    HELP – I do not understand the bit I need to understand. :-(

    I am assuming I should try 5GHz, but how?

  4. Dan Collins says:

    I live in Morley, Western Australia, and am on the NBN network. My modem is a TG789vac3. It specifies 2.4GHz network name as iiNet B2701B, and the 5GHz network name as iiNetB2701B-5G. But how do I determine if I am connected to the 2.4 or the 5 GHz network? Or, how do change from 2.4 to 5?

  5. Montgomery says:

    I complained about six months ago regarding my WIFI and was told my router was obsolete and I would be sent a new one…………………………..STILL WAITING!

  6. terry murtha says:

    I really need more mobile data for what im paying , like about 10 gb for when away in the caravan (long term customer )

    Regards Terry

  7. Maxine says:

    I do not understand the bit about moving the router for a better signal. Mine is plugged into the broadband meter. How can it be used without doing this.

  8. Libby Franchi says:

    Not happy with the way I was set up by westnet/iinet. I have been with iinet for quite a number of years and moved to westnet when NBN came into being. Noone came to have a look where to put the mmodem I just received one and then I had to get connected by the west net guys tyrying hard to understand what they were talking about as I do not know much about computers. My friend went with Telstr and THEY came to her house set her up and she had not stress like me with you guys. I now do NOT get wifi in my kitchen like I used to and complained, After sometime I was eventually told my modem was too far away and it did not reach the kitchen where I use my computer especially in the winter. So you can say that since westnet and NBN I have not used wifi as much as I would have normally and that is all thhanks to you because you could not take the time to come and see where I should have put the modem. Am not happy at all with westnet.

  9. Judith Brown says:

    I am not happy with my wifi I cannot ring Israel and I used to be able to I can message but when I ring I can hear and there is nothing on the other end

    • Leo Yarnold says:

      Hi Judith,

      This is very odd, as it sounds like a mixture of Wi-Fi issues and possible connection problems. Our team can help and you’re more than welcome to be in touch with Support or to make contact with us via iiOnline@iinet.net.au with your details and we can lend a hand.

      – Leo

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