Wi-Fi has never been more important than it is in modern smart homes and because it’s so essential, problems with it can be beyond frustrating, especially Wi-Fi smart homes can make your life so easy.
When all is working well, doors unlock automatically, lights and appliances turn on based on your schedule, even your heating and cooling can automatically adjust to weather conditions. The possibilities for use are endless, fun, and entertaining but first you have to get the Wi-Fi setup properly.
If you dread Wi-Fi problems, and talking to a recording for an hour for support before you reach a human being you’re not alone. To help you avoid some of frustration we’ve rounded up some tips that will help get your Wi-Fi setup and working in non-I-want-to-pull-my-hair-out condition.
Be Weary of 5GHz Networks
5GHz networks are tempting for a handful of reasons – less interference with Bluetooth devices, faster data rates, fewer problems with disconnects – but not all smart devices are compatible with it. Your best bet (to date) is to stick with 2.4GHz to cover your bases. If you have a router that supports it you can use both networks if you really want 5GHz for certain devices.
When In Doubt, Reboot and Power Cycle
When problems arise you can Google endless hacks but often the best thing to do is power down your device and power cycle your router. You can run into problems anytime obviously, but most often you’ll have problems when you’re setting up your device for the first time or in a new place and find you just can’t get your smart device to recognize your network.
There’s no real one size fits all answer as to why the power down and power cycle trick solves so many problems but it does, so why fight it. You do need one thing to make it work though: Patience. You’ll need to walk away from everything, which is probably healthy so you don’t obsess anyways, for five to 10 minutes to see any real results.
Name Your SSID Correctly
When you setup your SSID, (service set identifier) the primary name associated with an 802.11 wireless local area network, you’ll often get to select a name for it. The inner comedians tend to come out here and network names can vary from vular to downright confusing and while it can be fun to create a name that means something to you (or entertains your neighbors) watch out for certain words that can cause trouble. In particular avoid words that may ‘confuse’ your smart devices such as ‘emoji’.
Secure Your Network
You can go crazy with security but considering you’re letting devices control your home you might as well give in and realize you’ve already given up some privacy. Nonetheless at a minimum you want to have proper encryption (WPA2 is considered best for smart devices) and choose a passphrase, or password to login, that is random enough it can’t easily be guessed (your address is a bad idea here) but is easy enough to type in and remember. (Pro Tip: If you can, choose a passphrase you can remember without the need to write it down, which is just a big no-no with passwords in general.)
Get Strong Enough Wi-Fi
Beyond being used for your smart devices, you likely need bandwidth to support other activities such as blasting wireless music, playing online games and streaming 4K TV. Various factors impact how well your Wi-Fi works including the layout of your home, size of your home, and strength of your network. If you set up everything else perfectly but have dead zones in your home (areas where Wi-Fi doesn’t work) it will just lead to frustration and you won’t get the most use out of your devices.
Most Wi-Fi coverage problems revolve around the size of your home in one way or another. If you have a small apartment, a single wireless router should do the trick but if you have a larger home you’ll likely need additional devices. You can go with wireless repeaters or signal boosters which do work, but the best option is a mesh network, which uses multiple broadcast points that run on the same SSID and work together to blanket your smart home with reliable Wi-Fi.
Have any smart home Wi-Fi tips to add? Let us know below!