Diamond Jute Rug / Lemon Wallpaper / Curtains / Harbour Cane Collection / End Table / Striped Sofa / Lamp (But Kelly also loves this one, this one, this one, this one and this one. Apparently we’re huge fans of Target lamps!) / Pillow / Amazon’s Eero Pro 6 and less expensive Eero 6 mesh router systems
Until recently, I was afflicted with crappy WiFi. Symptoms included disrupted TikTok dances, occasional “green bubble” texts, spinning wheels of death, and disgruntled wives. If you or a friend are experiencing crappy WiFi, send them this blog post today. Side effects may include joy, well-being and improved connectedness.
Let’s just take a step back to realize just how incredible it is that WiFi even exists. There is a little device in your house that every second transcribes trillions of bits of information into 5 billion little waves of energy which are uniformly beamed through your walls and floors and bathtub and stuff. Those billions of waves of information are received, decoded, processed and displayed at light speed simultaneously to all of your little devices—from your computer to your phone to your smart speaker to your fancy doorbell—and then this same process is done in reverse with new trillions of bits and billions of waves back to the router and out to the greater internet.
And this is all done simultaneously with hundreds of trillions of bits and tens of billions of invisible waves full of your text messages, streaming music, Instagram Stories, and late-night TV filling every cubic inch of your home.
That is, unless you have crappy WiFi, like I did.
We’ve all had the experience of visiting a home with inferior WiFi, and we all know the extraordinary pain that can result. WiFi is one of those things that we expect to work well, and when it doesn’t, it just ruins our day. At this point, even a small WiFi slowdown can send me into a blind rage. And I’d become a Crappy WiFi Guy. I was ashamed. I had to talk with my wife in person instead of texting while in the same house. I lost touch with all those weird YouTube channels I watch after I put my kids to bed. I tried to read a book and got a real-life paper cut on my finger that really hurt. It hurt… like, my actual body.
Something had to be done.
When confronted with crappy WiFi, it’s important to find the root cause of the crap. I followed these simple steps.
1. Restart your router: Routers are tiny little computers that can glitch and error just like the rest of them. Simply unplugging your router for 10 seconds or more can help to reboot, cool off, and reset the router to avoid any issues such as IP address conflict that might be causing problems. You may also want to update your router’s firmware while you’re at it.
2. Assume it’s the Internet Service Provider’s fault: As much as it pains me to say this, you should probably call your Internet Service Provider and ask them to reset things on their end. My ISP has an automated process that doesn’t require a multi-hour holding pattern, and generally, it does the trick. It’s also possible that your ISP is experiencing outages in your area so a quick call to them or Twitter search could provide valuable information.
3. Speed Tests throughout home: After you’ve determined that it’s neither your router, nor the ISP’s modem, nor the internet service to your whole area, it’s time to investigate your network. The easiest way to do this is by walking around your house and speed testing the network. There are plenty of simple speed test sites you simply pull up on your phone that make this easy. Start right next to your router to build a baseline of speed and branch out from there. Generally speaking, speeds of under 25 mbps can cause intermittent issues with modern internet usage. As you canvas your home with WiFi speed tests, slow and dead spots might emerge. And if they do, you’ll need to get a new router system.
- Mesh Routers: Recently, a new WiFi technology emerged that enables multiple wireless routers to communicate with a wired router in forming a mesh that blankets your home in beautiful WiFi beams. Mesh routers are great because you can stick them in those hard-to-reach WiFi places eliminating slow spots and dead zones, generally improving the quality of your life. Even better, aside from the main router hardwired to your modem, these things just need to be plugged in the wall. This means no cable guy coming over to drill holes in your wall, no expensive repair bills, no nothing. We actually had our an estimate done to hardwire routers in our home, and the guy seriously quoted us $10k. That’s a true story. So we went mesh and saved thousands.
- WiFi 6: If you’re still with me, I applaud you. I’ve fallen asleep twice in writing this article myself. (I do realize that you din’t wake up this morning expecting to be learning about WiFi 6, so thanks!) WiFi 6 is the newest in WiFi technology. Technically speaking, WiFi 6 is just a slick way of saying IEEE 802.11ax. It has better coverage, faster speeds, and more efficiency—and it’s better at handling homes with lots of devices. And whose home doesn’t have a lot of devices these days?! WiFi 6 is great, and is available on most new routers. But some of your older devices might not be compatible with these WiFi 6 benefits. Simply put, if you’re buying a new router, make sure it’s Wifi 6. There’s no harm in upgrading your system to WiFi 6 before the rest of your devices do.
What to buy
After I determined that I needed a new WiFi 6-capable mesh router system, I went into a deep hole of internet research to determine which mesh system had the best mix of simplicity, reliability, speed and features. The far-and-away winner in my research was Amazon’s Eero Pro 6 and less expensive Eero 6 systems. Getting started with the Eero system was as easy as downloading the Eero app to my phone and plugging in the first router to my modem. The app then helped me determine where each of my mesh routers should live in my home. Setting each of the mesh routers up simply required me to plug them into the wall and walk away.
(Note: Routers are antennas, and hiding them in closets or behind furniture severely diminishes their connection. Luckily, the Eero devices aren’t terrible looking, so I didn’t even get in trouble when these fancy little routers popped up all over the house. You can see one of ours next to the lamp in Kelly’s office in the above photo!)
The Eero app is actually sort of fun to use. It sends me a message when a new device has joined the network, and even provides helpful information on the network and stuff. Overall, it’s pretty great. And that’s saying something for a WiFi app.
Since installing the new Eero Pro 6 mesh wifi system, we haven’t had a single internet related issue in our house. A+!
Thanks for sticking this one out, Team. And as always,