How I fixed my rubbish Wi-Fi at home

Steve May
·4-min read
Losing wi-fi signal is one of many people's pet peeves, especially when working home.  But there are a range of solutions to help.  (Orbi)
Losing wi-fi signal is one of many people's pet peeves, especially when working home. But there are a range of solutions to help. (Orbi)

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We’ve all got them. Wi-Fi not-spots are those areas of the house where our wireless networks fail to reach, where buffering not bingeing is the name of the game.

It’s an increasingly common problem, given our home networks have so much more to cope with now. TV streaming and working from home will hog your bandwidth. Add smart home devices to the wireless mix, everything from connected security cameras, smart thermostats and chatty speakers, and it’s easy to see just how congested a Wi-Fi network can get.

Thankfully, there are multiple solutions...

Intelligent WiFi Plus, from Virgin Media, is a really straightforward upgrade. I’ve given it a whirl and it works well. Virgin Media send out a plug-in WiFi Pod, which links to your Virgin Hub router and acts as a network extender.

Just find a power socket where your Wi-Fi is weak, and plug in the pod. It pairs automatically and creates something called a mesh-network. Before you know it signal strength and connection speed have improved. Amount of effort involved: zero.

Updrade: Intelligent WiFi Pods | from Virgin Media

WiFi Pod (Virgin Media)
WiFi Pod (Virgin Media)

Virgin’s WiFi Pods can be plugged in and moved to any location in the home, and are available at no extra cost for Ultimate Oomph and Gig1 customers. They’re a £5 upgrade for other Virgin Media customers.

The idea is similar to BT’s Complete Wi-Fi system, which involves placing Wi-Fi extender discs around the house. These partner with the BT Home Hub, to create a wider mesh network. It’s a slightly more complicated system to install. The discs are bigger than Virgin’s Wifi Pods, and while they still need a power plug, they come with little feet so have to stand on something. Again, they’re an incremental cost, depending on your package.

Buy it: BT Complete WiFi | from BT

BT Complete WiFi
BT Complete WiFi

If you don’t want to add to your monthly broadband bill, opt for a standalone Wi-Fi extender to re-broadcasts Wi-Fi signal around your home. The TP-Link RE650 sits in a wall plug and has four pop-out antennas able to connect multiple devices simultaneously.

Buy it: TP-LINK RE650 WiFi Range Extender | £99.99 from Currys

Also available at Amazon.

TP-LINK RE650 WiFi Range Extender
TP-LINK RE650 WiFi Range Extender

The biggest upgrade you can make (and the best way to future proof) is to install a specialist router. By turning your ISP supplied router into a modem, you can let much more sophisticated hardware handle your network duties.

For the ultimate turbocharge, take a look at the second generation Orbi by Netgear. Available as a single unit, or packaged with an extender satellite, this system will take your home network to another level. We’re insatiable streamers in my house, the family often watching different services at the same time. The Orbi can support 12 streams simultaneously, so no problems there.

Orbi uses WiFi6, which is able to handle multiple devices and tasks. You can watch 4K telly, enjoy lag free gaming and squeeze in some work, all at the same time, without your network grinding to a halt. Two versions of the Orbi system are available, the RBK 750 and RBK 850. The difference is capacity, each supporting 40 and 60 devices respectively.

Pricey, but worth it when you’re living your life online.

Where to buy a Orbi Home Wifi System

Buy it: NETGEAR Orbi RBK750 Whole Home WiFi System - Single Unit | £249.99 from Currys

NETGEAR Orbi RBK750 Whole Home WiFi System - Single Unit
NETGEAR Orbi RBK750 Whole Home WiFi System - Single Unit

Buy it: NETGEAR Orbi RBK752 Whole Home WiFi System - Twin Pack | £449.99 from Currys

NETGEAR Orbi RBK752 Whole Home WiFi System - Twin Pack
NETGEAR Orbi RBK752 Whole Home WiFi System - Twin Pack

Buy it: NETGEAR Orbi RBK850 Whole Home WiFi System - Single Unit | £399.99 from Currys

NETGEAR Orbi RBK850 Whole Home WiFi System - Single Unit
NETGEAR Orbi RBK850 Whole Home WiFi System - Single Unit

Buy it: NETGEAR Orbi RBK852 Whole Home WiFi System - Twin Pack | £699.99 from Currys

NETGEAR Orbi RBK852 Whole Home WiFi System - Twin Pack
NETGEAR Orbi RBK852 Whole Home WiFi System - Twin Pack

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