Optimizing Your Wireless Network
As Americans spend more time at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it shows just how important rural broadband is.
Connectivity problems can be frustrating. Rather than mashing F5 and desperately trying to reload your favorite website when you experience a problem, here are some ways you can troubleshoot the problem and identify the cause.
To get started, ensure the physical connection is working before getting too involved with troubleshooting. After confirming the physical connection, you can bypass your Wi-Fi router and plug the cable from your Plumas-Sierra Telecommunications device directly into a laptop or desktop computer that has an RJ-45 Ethernet cable port, depending on what PST service you have.
Wireless customers should ensure that the POE port connects the transceiver to the power supply and the LAN (local area network) port connects your computer or router to the internet.
- Stay close to your access point or router. Theoretically, without any obstructions, your Wi-Fi signals can reach 300 to 500 feet. Unless you are in a space with no walls, you are more likely to see decent signals in the 50 to 100 foot range.
- Ensure your router is up to date. For wireless routers, models that support “simultaneous dual-band” wireless frequencies allow the router to simultaneously support older devices that can only use legacy 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi band while also allowing newer devices to take full advantage of the more recent 5.8 GHz Wi-Fi band. An up-to-date router should allow for maximum use of the bandwidth provided by your Plumas-Sierra Telecommunications service.
- Ensure walls or other solid objects are not blocking your signal. Wi-Fi networks use a radio signal that can be blocked or weakened by any number of construction materials: cinder block, concrete, metal, and even wood and drywall. The more barriers between the Wi-Fi access point and a wireless device, the weaker the signal.
- Use a different frequency than your neighbors. If you live in an apartment complex or close to your neighbors, their wireless signals can interfere with your Wi-Fi signal, since they operate at the same frequencies as your network (2.4 GHz and 5 GHz).
- Location, location, location. In general, the best location to place your router for maximum coverage is as close to the center of the building as possible. If your access point is near an outside wall, try moving it closer to the middle of your building. Keep access points off the floor, out of closets and cabinets, and away from walls and large metal objects, such as file cabinets.
- Avoid WEP security. If you have advanced settings to enable WEP security on your network, your maximum speed will be reduced. To get the fastest speeds with network security, use the WPA2 security setting.
Still Not Getting the Speed You Thought You Would?
Although PST provides the fastest network speeds available in the region today, a number of situations can cause your network speed to slow down.
Keep in mind that to get the fastest possible network speed, you must connect your computer or other device directly to the LAN port of your PST device using an Ethernet cable.
For wired devices, check to see if your hardware is out-of-date. The type of hardware, the age of the device, the operating system, the web browser, and the other applications running on your device affect the upload and download speeds. Be sure your device is wired to the network and no other applications are running. Even running an email application in the background can affect your test results.
All points on the internet between PST’s network and the websites you visit—including speed test websites—do not necessarily run at the same speeds. Once your communication leaves the PST network, it may encounter segments of the internet providing slower service, often due to heavy traffic or substantial rerouting delays.
When using a wired device, keep in mind both video and data come into your building through your PST equipment, and video takes priority. If you have one or more TVs connected—even if your TV is off and you are not watching—the video stream is using part of the bandwidth and the data stream can use only whatever bandwidth is left.
You can improve your wireless speeds by carefully managing any interference from outside sources. Interference can significantly reduce network speeds for wireless devices. Having an up-to-date router will allow for maximum use of the bandwidth provided by PST.
Issues With One Computer
If you are only experiencing network problems on one computer on your network, it’s likely there’s a software problem with the computer. The problem could be caused by a virus, malware, or an issue with a specific browser.
Try running an antivirus scan on the computer, install a different browser, and access the website in another browser.
There are lots of other software problems that could be the cause, including a misconfigured firewall.
For tech tips and PST outage updates, follow Plumas-Sierra Telecommunications on Facebook at facebook.com/PlumasSierraTelecomm.
Common Culprits For Slow Speeds
- Using more bandwidth than you have available.
- Improperly configured or complex internal network.
- Outdated equipment such as routers, PCs, phones, tablets, etc.
- Gaming systems, 4K televisions, security cameras, torrents, or other known bandwidth hogs.
- Wi-Fi signal strength not sufficient to pr advertised speeds.
Getting to Know Your PST Broadband Equipment
PST Fiber Optic ONT (Optical Network Terminal) or Modem.
When your service is active, you will see an amber light on the top right of the modem labeled WAN. You will plug your router or computer into Port 1 on the ONT for internet access.
PST Coax Broadband Modem
The Ethernet port connects your computer or router to the internet.
The coax port connects the modem to PST’s backbone network.
PST Wireless Broadband Modem and Transceiver
The POE (Power Over Ethernet) Port connects the Transceiver to the Power Supply.
The LAN (Local Area Network) Port connects your computer or router to the Internet.
The PST transceiver dish communicates with the PST wireless broadband access point, which is connected to PST’s fiber-optic backbone network.