Tune up your Wi-Fi

Wi-Fi is simple, right? Well, to the end user (when it's working), it's magical. You plug up a Wi-Fi router (sometimes provided by your internet company) and it is suppose to just work. The truth is that Wi-Fi is incredibly complex. Wi-Fi works by using RF (radio frequency waves) and turning them into data using what is called the 802.11 protocol. You've probably seen this on your router box as 802.11g or 802.11n (802.11ac is the current standard).

You might wondering, why you are telling me about this? Well, curbi requires a decent Wi-Fi connection. It works by using a technology called VPN. It adds a little overheard to the internet connection in order to work its magic. When we see support emails, they usually end with us realizing the Wi-Fi connection in the home in poor. This causes curbi to not work as well, and sometimes not at all.

When you get Wi-Fi installed in your home, it's usually near a cable jack. It might be in the living room and the kid's bedrooms are upstairs or the other end of the house. Wi-Fi works best in open areas. As it travels through doors and walls, the signal gets weaker. Wi-Fi from a device perspective is not always the same. Laptops have stronger signals than iPhones and iPads do. In handheld devices, lowered powered radios are used to preserve battery life.

We didn't think about this sort of stuff when we just had 1 laptop in the home. As we've added devices, what router we choose matters. The $20 router from the discount store doesn't work as well when you are putting a lot of devices on the network. In my home, I use 2 of Apple's Airport Extremes. I have them linked together with cable to give me a strong signal on both floors of my house. If you don't have internet cable ran throughout your house, you can use a power line adaptor to save a call to an electrician.

I'm not saying you need to spend $500 on home networking gear, but rather that the equipment you have matters. Look at the signal strength on the devices you have at the places in your home that you use them. If you don't have a great connection, you might look at upgrading equipment.