Understanding the language of connectivity

Issue 6 2023 Smart Home Automation

In an age where connectivity is the foundation of our digital existence, understanding the complexities of modern connectivity offerings is critical. The Internet, a global network of interconnected computers, devices and databases, allows us to access information and communicate anywhere. On the other hand, Wi-Fi will enable us to connect our devices to the Internet. A Wi-Fi connection can come from fibre, LTE, wireless or satellite.

Making sense of connectivity

Craig Blignaut.

While the distinction between Wi-Fi and the Internet might be evident to some, others consider them one and the same. This is partly because most users think about Wi-Fi as something we use to connect to the Internet. So, if you cannot get online, you automatically assume that the bridge between you and the Internet – the Wi-Fi – must be the issue, but this is not necessarily the case.

While one can get away with using these terms interchangeably in most conversations, there are situations where understanding the ‘language’ of connectivity can help you make the right purchasing decisions. For a customer, setting up a network in their new home, and understanding the lingo, can be useful when chatting to service providers about their connectivity requirements.

If you work from home and spend your days on video calls, you must ensure you have the necessary speed and capacity to handle this. Or if you are a TV and movie buff and want to stream 4K content on your TV, your connectivity will need to keep up. As more items in our home connect to the Internet, we must remember that our bandwidth is being shared across all of these devices, thus affecting the speed. This must also be considered when choosing a connectivity offering that delivers what you need.

In addition, making sure that you have the right Wi-Fi equipment is essential. If you have upgraded to higher fibre speeds, but your router cannot handle these speeds, your hardware will not be able to deliver the level of experience you are paying for.

The more one understands, the easier it is to come up with workarounds when things are not working as they should. As South Africans, we are all too familiar with load shedding and the connectivity challenges that come along with it. During power cuts, mobile connectivity suffers. If your mobile signal in your home is not working well when the power is out, you can offload mobile calls onto your Wi-Fi using your fibre line so that your connectivity will not be affected.

Making informed connectivity decisions

Theo Van Zyl.

With technology changing at such a rapid pace, it can be challenging to keep up with everything, but again, knowledge is power and understanding the different connectivity offerings can help you choose the right solutions to meet your unique needs.

As a simple example, if you have rooms in your home where the Wi-Fi signal is a little patchy, you will likely be familiar with Wi-Fi repeaters or extenders, which essentially rebroadcast signals further across your home. While traditional Wi-Fi extenders work well enough, the more extenders you use, the lower the quality of your experience because your speed is negatively affected every time you ‘hop’ from one extender to another.

Newer mesh technology offers improved coverage, performance and scalability. Where a regular extender can solve connectivity issues across smaller areas, mesh systems eliminate dead zones and provide uninterrupted connectivity by joining two or more Wi-Fi access points to create a seamless Wi-Fi network.

Mesh networks work incredibly well in larger homes and environments, making it possible for a user to walk from one room to another without any break in connectivity. This is a game changer for the modern user because it delivers a seamless and reliable Wi-Fi experience throughout your home.

Ultimately, the more you understand what is out there, the better equipped you are to communicate your needs with the service provider helping you get online. This does not mean you need to become an expert on the subject, but a little insight can ensure you are always connected.

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