You don’t have to settle for lousy Wi-Fi

March 07, 2018
  • By Jim Rossman
  • The Dallas Morning News
You are not stuck with the Wi-Fi router included with your broadband internet service. You can buy a much better one. All you need is an open Ethernet port on the back of your internet modem. (Mayuree Moonhirun/Dreamstime/TNS)

I was visiting some friends at their home this week, and the topic of Wi-Fi coverage came up in conversation.

Their broadband router was in a home office on the far end of the house, and they were having issues surfing the internet from their living room a few rooms away. The Wi-Fi signal had trouble traveling through several walls.

As we were looking at a laptop, I showed them how to check the transmission rate of their Wi-Fi router. It turns out they were receiving the signal at just 7 Mbps.

As a comparison, in my living room as I type this column, I’m sitting 10 feet from my router and receiving data at 458 Mbps.

That’s hardly a fair comparison. I’ve upgraded my wireless router, and my friends are using the router provided by their internet provider.

I have the same internet provider, and when I use the Wi-Fi provided by my broadband modem, I receive data at 54 Mbps.

So adding a better router increased my throughput significantly.

What’s the lesson here?

You are not stuck with the Wi-Fi router included with your broadband internet service.

You can buy a much better one. All you need is an open Ethernet port on the back of your internet modem.

Unbox the new router, plug it into the back of your router and set it up according to the instructions. Make sure you set it up in “bridge mode.”

One of your router’s jobs is to hand out a unique address to all your connected devices. Your old Wi-Fi router is handing out those IP addresses. When you set up the new router, it will also be set to give out IP addresses.

You can tell the new router to not give out IP addresses and to let the old router continue assigning the addresses. This is called bridge mode.

You’ll have to do a bit of research inside your new router’s settings to set it up, but it will be well worth your time.

You can buy several types of Wi-Fi routers. I’ve been recommending the TP-Link Archer C7 as a good, inexpensive model to consider. I’ve used it in my home, and it works well and had good range.

I’ve since graduated to a mesh Wi-Fi router system. I’ve been using the Netgear Orbi, but right now I’m testing the new Eero system. I’ll be reviewing Eero in a week or so.

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ABOUT THE WRITER

Jim Rossman writes for The Dallas Morning News. He may be reached at jrossman@dallasnews.com.