Life Tech The device that will supercharge your internet
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The device that will supercharge your internet

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Australian internet speeds have been evaluated as woeful, but a new device could be your saviour.

The nation’s web speeds ranked 42nd in the world, international cloud computing firm Akamai recently estimated.

The average home clocked in at 7.6 megabits (Mbs) per second, far slower than the rest of the region, with Japan (15.2Mb) and Hong Kong (16.7Mb) more than double, the State of the Internet report found.

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Thankfully, you no longer have to wait for the government to improve our infrastructure to speed up your home internet.

Linksys recently debuted the first ‘smart’ wireless router to ever be sold at the consumer level.

smart-router
What a mouthful! Say hello to the Linksys EA8500 Max-Stream AC2600.

Using new technology, the EA8500 detects the speed needs of all your connected devices and delivers faster speeds to those that need it, rather than broadcasting the same speed to every device.

In practice, this means it can boost downloads to your Smart TV while slowing down web access to your kid’s smartphone as they browse Instagram.

Known as MU-MIMO (Multi-User Multi-Input, Multi-Output), the tech is already in use by telcos around the world, but has only now been made available in the home.

With Australians now connecting multiple devices to the same network via one router, the average speed across devices will drop, resulting in lag time and dropouts.

If you’re one of many Australians unable to access high-speed internet, this new technology could enable you to utilise the service you do have to its maximum potential.

If you can’t afford a new smart router (it retails for around $400), here are some other suggestions to boost speed.

Update your equipment

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Follow these tips to zip ahead of the competition. Photo: Tron Legacy

If the router you use now is the same equipment you received from your Internet Service Provider a number of years ago, chances are you’re already behind the eight ball.

If the latest Linksys is out of your price range, any N900 wireless router is a good start. Tell the store salesperson about your home and how many devices you use and they’ll direct you to the best model for your budget.

Remember, if you access the internet via a phone line (ADSL), you’ll need either a separate modem and a wireless router or a combined modem/router in one.

Use cables

A lot of people make the mistake of thinking of wireless internet like a sound system, where everyone in the room hears roughly the same level of volume.

It’s actually the opposite; the more wireless devices you have in your house, the more they all slow down your wireless network.

Eliminate the number of devices connecting wirelessly by running a cable from the router to each stationary device, like a gaming console or a desktop PC.

Location, location, location

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Find the speed zone and put your router smack bang in the middle. Photo: Tron Legacy

Ensure your wireless router is positioned up high, rather than stuck on the floor behind a desk or cupboard.

If possible, locate your router towards the centre of your home, or roughly where you use the internet the most.

Keep your wireless router away from other devices that may interfere with the signal as well, like a microwave oven or cordless phone.

Update your firmware

Lastly, make sure your router’s firmware – the software it uses to do its job – is up to date.

Every router has an admin page you can access via your normal web browser to help check.

Consult the manufacturer for details.

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