A new study from research firm Parks Associates, working on behalf of the Multimedia Over Coax Alliance (MOCA), shows that if you’ve been having problems with your home wireless network, you’re not alone. Titled “Consumer Interest in Wired solutions to Wireless Home Networking Problems: Quantitative Findings,” the report sure doesn’t sound like a page-turner. But the results from a 1,000 home survey, specifically homes with wireless broadband networks, contains information that other such households will find interesting and relevant regarding wireless network performance and reliability.
The study found that, overall, 40 percent of U.S. homes with wireless broadband routers have experienced problems with their wireless networks. Among those reporting problems, the most common complaint was a lack of signal or a slow signal in certain areas of the home, reported by 87 percent of respondents. More than 60 percent of those reporting this problem have been unable to fully resolve it. The report says that, extrapolated for the full U.S., this data means that 15 million U.S. homes experience these problems.
We can’t contradict the data, but we can’t help but notice that it does benefit the wired network providers that commissioned the study. Ultimately, you shouldn’t be afraid of trying a home Wi-Fi network, but you shouldn’t be surprised by some degree of problems.
The Bigger the House, the Bigger the Problem
The size of your home is a contributing factor to wireless network reliability. Those with homes over 3,000 square feet are nearly four times as likely to experience problems as those with 2,000 square foot homes. And that fact makes sense, as Wi-Fi transmitters have a limited range, and homes are full of wiring and electronics that can interfere with Wi-Fi signals. It’s possible to strengthen your signal using a second router as an extender or repeater, but if you don’t have a second one lying around, your cost of connectivity will obviously go up.
Buying or renting more equipment isn’t a guarantee of better performance. The report says that 79 percent of those who purchased additional networking equipment specifically for this purpose have considered using a wired solution. So attempting to boost the strength of the Wi-Fi signal obviously hasn’t worked for everyone.
It’s considerations like these that may affect your decision on whether to buy or rent your connection equipment. If rented equipment is to blame for network problems, your ISP should replace that equipment free of charge. But if you bought that equipment, you’ll be on the hook to replace it yourself. It’s also possible that some ISPs won’t offer as much tech support for certain brands you’ve bought yourself, as they will for their own supplied equipment.
We Need More Speed
More than a quarter of those surveyed, 27 percent, say their problems are at least partially due to too many connected devices and not enough bandwidth. That’s going to be more of a problem as Internet of Things (IoT)-connected devices take up more home bandwidth, and as data-heavy activities like video streaming increase in popularity and quality.
Fortunately, the solution to speed and bandwidth problems is more straightforward than that of solving other networking problems. If you’re not getting enough speed or bandwidth from your current connection, there might be other high-speed Internet providers that can help, and searching for the plan that’s right for you has never been easier.