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Unlike my other tech-savvy colleagues, I take a more simple approach towards technology. As long as it’s good enough to get by, I am happy with what I have.
However, now that I am working from home most of the time, I am recognising the importance of technology which is vital not just for our personal life, but also our work productivity. In my view, there is nothing more important that can make or break our work-from-home (WFH) experience than good (or bad) Wi-Fi connection.
Many people think that getting good Wi-Fi connection means paying for the most expensive fibre broadband plan. But this isn’t always true. With some simple and cheap hacks, anyone (even a tech noob like me) can still vastly improve their internet speed.
#1 Use A Good Router
Every internet connection needs a good router.
If you ever experienced slow internet speed or Wi-Fi connection at home, there is a very good chance that the problem can be easily resolved by upgrading our routers, and not necessarily our fibre broadband plan. As our tech writer pointed out in his article, most people who are already on a 500mbps plan likely have more than enough bandwidth for up to 5 users but could still struggle if they use a router that isn’t good enough.
If you are looking for a router, there are many in the market to choose from. For example, if you sign up for a home broadband plan with ViewQwest, you can choose the preferred router that you want.
From the screenshot above, we can see that the retail price for routers can range from $199 to $449, depending on our needs.
One thing I like about ViewQwest home fibre broadband plan is that it recognises the importance of how routers can complement our home fibre broadband plans, and allows us to choose a suitable router for ourselves. For example, when I select the 1Gbps plan, I can choose to add the Linksys E7350 router as part of my plan. In total, I pay $34.90 a month inclusive of both the fibre broadband plan and the router.
Do note, this is a promotion price that I am seeing. Price revert to $44.90 after 10 months.
If I need a more powerful router that can be used for gaming or UHD streaming, I can also opt for the Netgear RAX43 to be paired with my 1Gbps plan. This would cost me $39.90 per month, or about $5 more each month.
Do note, this is a promotion price that I am seeing. Price revert to $49.90 after 10 months.
Both the Linksys E7350 and the Netgear RAX43 are WiFi 6 routers. Wi-Fi 6 routers are the latest technology and are more efficient compared to Wi-Fi 5 routers as they improve our internet connection experience by optimising for multiple devices being used at the same time on a single network. This is important for big families that will likely have multiple household members using the same broadband plan at the same time.
Also, consider using a Mesh Wi-Fi system. A Mesh Wi-Fi system allows us to insert more nodes throughout our home thus optimising for performance throughout the entire home so that we can work from our bedroom, kitchen or anywhere in our home without suffering a deterioration of Wi-Fi speed.
#2 Tweak Channel Settings To Improve Wi-Fi Speed
Tweaking the channel settings is also an easy way to potentially improve our internet connection speed, without having to upgrade any plans or to buy a new router.
Here’s an analogy to think about the situation. Suppose we buy a good, fast, sports car that comes with a powerful engine. We bring the car to the race track hoping to have a great time racing it. However, instead of setting the car to sports mode, or manually configuring the car to optimise for race track performance, we unknowingly left the setting at the eco or comfort mode. We spend hours at the race track with our sports car giving a sub-optimal performance, despite having paid a premium for a sports car that was meant to give us greater speed as we race around the track.
Wi-Fi channel settings can likewise give us a similar problem.
Most routers and devices are compatible on two settings, 2.4GHz and 5GHz. 2.4GHz allows for wider coverage but at a lower speed. 5GHz frequencies provide faster speed at shorter range. So depending on how far our devices are from our router, we can choose between these two settings. Think of this as different modes in our car with 2.4GHz being the comfort/eco mode, and 5GHz being the sports mode.
#3 Use Cat 6 Ethernet Cable
Ethernet cables are the cables used to connect our modem or router to the internet entry ports. While we might recognise and plug them in rather frequently when setting up our modems and routers, we may not realised that they are actually different variations of ethernet cables.
Cat 6 Ethernet cables can transfer up to 250 MHz, compared to up to 100 Mhz for the previous generation of Cat 5e Ethernet cables. This means that a Cat 6 cable can process more data at the same time. Think of this as driving on a 4-lane road vs a 2-lane road. A 4-lane road can handle more traffic just as a Cat 6 cable can handle support greater data transfer. Cat 6 Ethernet cables have additional shielding inside the cables to provide lower crosstalk and system noise which can interfere with your data transmission.
To make the best of your broadband connection and router, using an Ethernet cable rated Cat 6 and above would ensure higher data transfer rates and fewer signal noise which can slow down your broadband connection.
#4 Use Freedom DNS
Ever encountered trying to watch a video that is legally hosted on a website only to find out that we can’t watch it because of the country we are from?
Some platforms restrict access to content depending on where we are watching it from. Thankfully, there is a work-around that some of us use – proxy servers. What a proxy server does is that it hides the location from where we are surfing so that restricted content becomes accessible. However, if you have done it before, you may know that this can be a little complicated.
Offered by ViewQwest, Freedom DNS automatically detects the content you are trying to access for all the devices connected in your house and re-routes the connection for that content without having to switch proxy connections every time you want to access the content. Unlike doing it on our own which will take some time and need to be manually adjusted depending on which site we are trying to access, Freedom DNS is fuss-free and does this automatically while you’re connected to your ViewQwest broadband.
Through our ViewQwest home fibre broadband plan, Freedom DNS can be added to our ViewQwest fibre connection allowing us to unlock more content on the internet. This is given for free for the first 3 months for all new ViewQwest home broadband sign ups.
#5 Protect Ourselves From Hackers By Using SecureNet
Even though Singapore is known to be one of the safest countries in the world, home safety is something many of us don’t take for granted. We still take precautions to lock our gates and doors at night or whenever we are out.
However, when it comes to protecting ourselves on the internet, many of us don’t do much to protect our devices or confidential data even though there are many online threats, malicious websites or malwares designed to attack our computers and to steal our data and passwords. This may even be a bigger threat than a physical break-in to our homes. In fact, a Straits Times article earlier this year reported that nearly 4 in 10 people in Singapore reported being a victim of at least one cyber-security incident in 2020.
One easy way to prevent these threats is to use a cyber-security service such as SecureNet. Offered by ViewQwest, SecureNet helps detect and prevent our home network from common and sophisticated online threats. This provides an additional layer of security on top of end point security that we may already have (e.g. antivirus software). Think of this as similar to how many private properties employ security officers and technologies to prevent and reduce trespassing from unwanted intruders.
Through ViewQwest, we can opt to sign up for SecureNet and automatically surf the internet with our ViewQwest fibre broadband plan with a peace of mind, knowing that SecureNet will keep us secured online from cyber criminals who are trying to penetrate our network and to steal our data. For new ViewQwest home broadband customers, SecureNet is available for free for the first 3 months.
Maximise The Value Of Our Home Fibre Broadband plan Through ViewQwest
In the digital age we live in today, fast and reliable internet connection is something that all of us need at home. Yet, getting the best internet connection speed isn’t just about paying for the most expensive home fibre broadband plan.
A good router, choosing the right settings, using good quality ethernet cable are all additional things that we can do to maximise the value of our home fibre broadband plan. At the same time, using FreedomDNS, we can access more content, and to do it safely with the protection offered by SecureNet. With ViewQwest, we can enjoy all these benefits as part of our home fibre broadband plan.
Moreover, ViewQwest is also currently Singapore’s fastest fixed network and winner of Ookla’s Speedtest awards since 2018. So what we are getting from ViewQwest is a holistic suite of benefits on top of fast internet speed. And with a 500Mbps plan costing only $29.90, this is likely one of the cheapest ways in Singapore to enjoy top connection to the internet.