How to maximize Internet connection at home — for real!

BROAD CAST - Jing Castañeda - Philstar.com
How to maximize Internet connection at home â for real!
From being something taken for granted, Internet connectivity suddenly became a major component in every family’s day to day. A necessity, if we may. 
Andrea Piacquadio via Pexels

MANILA, Philippines — Probably the biggest adjustment we’ve all had to live through this pandemic is going online. In order to move forward despite a virus on the loose, almost every individual, household, or enterprise had to manage their own businesses strictly within the confines of the home. 

From being something taken for granted, Internet connectivity suddenly became a major component in every family’s day to day. A necessity, if we may. 

But as much as the Internet has helped us pivot, I’m sure many would agree if I said it also caused us a lot of stress. It was forgivable, though. As unprepared as we were for the pandemic, our Internet connectivity wasn’t also that much powered to meet the internet demand that would suddenly spike at home.

For example, I, myself, have to compete with my hubby Nonong, my three daughters, and our helpers when it came to our 200 Mbps home wifi. We always have to remind each other to limit their usage especially when we’re using the net to work, or, in my kids’ case, attend online school. It’s both funny and frustrating an incident many moms would totally get!

Fortunately, telco companies have since been keen on solving connectivity issues. Still, titas like me have yet to learn the basics in making sure the internet works—period.

Understand how WiFi works 

First things first, we have to know what makes wifi such an innovation. 

Wifi is a feature enabled in wireless devices, allowing transmission of internet and network connections with each other using radio waves. My fellow titas, think of your walkie-talkies and weather radios that also use radio signals — although, wifi uses lower power and operates across shorter distances. While wifi is less bulky than its wired predecessor (Ethernet), it’s more susceptible to the “noise” the radio signals navigate through in the air.

In our most recent “Pamilya Talk” episode, I got real with SKY Fiber’s senior brand manager Maybel De Leon on how to troubleshoot, maximize, and optimize something we now consider a key piece in life. Here are some of her tips, plus my own that actually work!

1. Monitor the number of wifi devices in use

Why does our Internet connection slow down? While it can get frustrating, it’s nothing unusual for any kind of technology that almost always relies on natural factors such as topography, location, and climate. But when troubleshooting sans these factors of interference, De Leon suggested to assess first our combined consumption at home. She said the issue might just lie first on the number of devices we have in our household.

“Ang isang gadget approximately uses 3mbps to 10mbps (of internet speed). More or less, siguro kung may five to seven gadgets ka at home, kailangan mo ng at least 20mbps connection.” De Leon said to consider not just our phones and computers, but also our other smart tech at home. Some of these like our TVs, virtual assistants (ie Amazon Alexa), air con/fans, etc, she added, also contribute to the rise in consumption.

Maybel De Leon (Senior Brand Manager, SKY Fiber) advises the public to take note of the number of wifi devices being used in their homes as each gadget approximately uses 3mbps to 10mbps (of internet speed).


2. Identify your level of usage

It’s also on the level of our consumption, added De Leon. And while the next step might be to just upgrade our wifi to speed up our connection, we can always choose to monitor our kind of usage first.

Typically, the following are considered under light Internet usage: Web searching, reading, social media posting/messaging, emailing, navigation apps, and gaming. On the other hand, the following are under heavy usage: Music and video streaming, online calls, media/app downloading and uploading, and peer-to-peer activities (file sharing among a network of computers).

“Kung email, sa mga nag-wo-work from home, depende po 'yan,” De Leon, however, stressed. “Pwede kasing nag-ta-transmit kayo ng malalaking files, so kailangan mo rin ng mas mabilis na Internet connection.” She observed that usage has become significantly heavier because of the events following the pandemic. “Kasi marami na ngang mga nag-vi-video calls at online schooling sa mga bata. May mga online businesses (at home) na rin ngayon.”

3. Learn to 'un-use'

Now that we know that both quantity and quality matter to get the best WiFi, the next step is to just control what we can control. No need to sacrifice our level of usage here—we all know wifi is a necessity to get through work or school anyway. Maybe just switch off our wifi-enabled items that unnecessarily use up the bandwidth — say, smart fans that we could operate anyway without having to use WiFi?

4. Check your connection status!

Unplug the modem before restarting it, or position it on a platform that has space around it good enough for “breathing.”

Some modems also come with built-in phone apps that help with our connectivity/speed issues online. Some even go as advanced as listing down the current number of connected users and adding security features all in app!



5. Time to give a mesh network a try!

Some of us with big families reside in fittingly bigger homes, which only becomes an issue if the chosen wifi plan isn’t encompassing enough. Thankfully, we now have mesh networks. De Leon explained, “It is a group of devices that act as a single wifi network within your home. Typically, ang wifi mesh units ay ginagamit sa mga medium to larger homes. Sa typical two-storey houses ng mga Pinoy, kailangan na yan ng wifi mesh para malakas yung coverage.”

“Ang internet modem usually nilalagay yan sa may sala natin. Pero siyempre kapag umakyat ka na kasi sa second floor, minsan nagkakaroon na ng poor connectivity or nagiging slow na yung connection. It creates dead zones within the home. Itong wifi mesh units, you can strategically place it doon sa areas na may dead zones para seamless na yung magiging connection (kahit saan ka pa).”

We only need one mesh unit for every 100 sq. m of floor area, De Leon detailed. “Siguro calculate na lang gaano kalaki yung bahay nyo. Yung sinasabi kong dead zones doon sa certain area na yun, isa ring factor yung kapag yung concrete walls ng bahay natin—syempre mas makakapal. Depende rin yan sa layout nung bahay. Minsan, kapag medyo complicated yung design ng bahay, nakakaapekto rin yun.”

Please watch "Pamilya Talk" on Facebook, YouTube, and Kumu (@JingCastaneda – 5:30-7:00 p.m. Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday). Please share your stories or suggest topics at jingcastaneda21@gmail.com. You can also follow and send your comments via my social media accounts:  Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Kumu.

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