Although Wi-Fi signals can reach up to 30m away, there are several factors that impact the performance. This is because unlike “hard-wire” technologies, the Wi-Fi signal is broadcast widely through the air and is not shielded within wire from other signals that may interfere with it.
Some factors that affect Wi-Fi performance are:
- Distance: between the modem and the customers connected device can impact performance. The Wi-Fi signal loses its strength the further it travels from the modem.
- Physical objects: Trees, masonry, buildings, and other physical structures are some of the most common causes of signal reduction. The density of the materials used in a building’s construction determines the number of walls the signal can pass through and still maintain adequate coverage. Concrete and steel walls are particularly difficult for a signal to pass through. These structures will weaken or at times completely prevent wireless signals.
- Radio frequency interference from non-Wi-Fi Sources: Wireless technologies such as Wi-Fi use a Radio Frequency range of 2.4GHz, and so do many other devices, such as cordless phones, microwave, baby monitors, Bluetooth and so on. Devices that share the channel can interfere with the Wi-Fi signal and weaken it.
- Other Wi-Fi networks: These compete with each other for the same channels. The more Wi-Fi networks (such as neighbourhood signals) that can be seen from a customer’s home, the more likely they will be to have performance issues.
- Electrical interference: Electrical interference comes from devices such as computers, refrigerators, fans, lighting fixtures, or any other motorized devices. The impact that electrical interference has on the signal depends on the proximity of the electrical device to the wireless access point. Advances in wireless technologies and in electrical devices have reduced the impact that these types of devices have on wireless transmissions.
- Environmental factors: Weather conditions can have a significant impact on wireless signal integrity. Lightning, for example, can cause electrical interference.
- Placement of the modem in the customer’s home: The signal from the modem radiates in a donut-like shape evenly around the modem. However, it may not be practical to place the modem in the middle of your home. The available location for the modem may be physically desirable or convenient, but may not be ideal for the even distribution of Wi-Fi signals through the home. Placing the modem in a closet or enclosed room, behind furniture or behind the TV can block the signal and reduce the signal strength available to the user device.
- The number of floors and rooms in the customer’s home: The modem can only be placed on one floor of your home. The signal strength will differ from floor to floor and room to room.
- Model and design of devices: These differences will impact Wi-Fi experience as different devices use different technologies and support different Wi-Fi standards. The older devices may not support newer Wi-Fi standards.
- Number of connected devices: All devices connected to your Wi-Fi signal will draw from the available bandwidth (Mbps). Therefore, the more devices connected simultaneously will lower the bandwidth available to each device and this in turn lowers your speed. Our modems can support having a large number of devices connected simultaneously but if you are already receiving a weak signal, more devices will reduce the Wi-Fi’s overall performance.
For all of the above reasons, Digicel does not recommend testing your bandwidth using Wi-Fi as we cannot guarantee the performance of Wi-Fi.