Understanding Wi-Fi

What is Wi-Fi?

Wi-Fi is a technology that allows computers, tablets, smartphones and other devices to connect to the Internet or communicate with one another without the need of a wired connection.

Most Access modems are both a modem and a Wi-Fi router in one, also known as a gateway. As a modem, it connects to the Access network for Internet access, and as a Wi-Fi router, it creates a wireless network in your home.

What is the difference between Internet and Wi-Fi ?

Internet and Wi-Fi are often used interchangeably, but it is important to understand the difference between them.

Internet, also known as the Wide Area Network (WAN), is a vast network that provides data communication between multiple connected entities around the world. Wi-Fi is a radio signal that broadcasts out to your devices, connecting them to the Internet.  

A modem connects to a cable from the outside, bringing in Internet data, and then translates Internet traffic for your devices. You can connect your devices to the modem via a wired or wireless (or Wi-Fi) connection.

What is the difference between a wired and a wireless connection?

There are two ways to connect your devices to your modem: a wired connection uses an Ethernet cable to hardwire your device to the modem, providing extra stability. A wireless connection gives you the convenience of accessing the Internet throughout your home on smartphones, tablets, laptops and other devices. 

Why do I see two Wi-Fi networks at home?

Depending on the model of your Access modem, two Wi-Fi networks may be visible in your home, either ending in 2.4G or 5G.

If you have the Smart Wi-Fi modem, it has band steering enabled by default. This feature improves your experience by automatically connecting your devices to the frequency that offers the strongest signal.

What is the difference between the 2.4G and the 5G networks?

The networks labelled as 2.4G and 5G correspond to different Wi-Fi bands: 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz. You should select the network that best meets your needs and/or is compatible with your devices.

  • The 2.4 GHz network has farther reach and covers a larger area, so you may notice improved performance on this band when using devices far away from your modem. However, this band is more susceptible to interference from other devices, such as microwaves, cordless phones, baby monitors and neighbouring Wi-Fi networks. This is particularly true if you live in a condo or apartment building, as numerous wireless modems can be broadcasting nearby. 

Tip: The 2.4 GHz network is ideal for everyday web browsing and email.

  • The 5 GHz network offers faster speeds but covers a smaller area, so you may notice improve performance on this band when using devices near your modem. This band is less commonly used by household electronics, meaning that is less susceptible to interference or congestion. 

Tip: The 5 GHz network is ideal for condos and apartments, as well as heavy Internet usage activities such as streaming and video games. 

How do I improve my Wi-Fi experience? 

There are several steps you can take to improve your Wi-Fi experience at home. 

Modem placement 

Your modem placement in your home can have a significant impact on your Internet and Wi-Fi performance. 

  • Place your modem in a central location, near the area you use most of your devices. 
  • Avoid placing your modem in cramped spaces or next to anything that can block the Wi-Fi signal or cause interference. Sources of interference can be household appliances, other electronic devices, certain building materials and furniture. 
  • Position your modem upright with 6 inches or more of open space around it.
  • When possible, your modem should be visible from where you use most of your devices.

Connect to the best available network

Access modems have dual-band support, meaning you can use two different Wi-Fi networks, labelled as 2.4G and 5G. Each network offers advantages and are ideal for different uses. 

If you do not see two separate networks, it may be because your device is older and does not support dual-band, or because your modem uses band steering, which automatically selects the best network for your device. 

Understand your devices’ limitations and keep them updated

With the same amount of Wi-Fi, newer devices are usually more capable of attaining higher speeds than older devices, such as early generation smartphones and tablets. Older devices may also impact the performance of your whole network as they take longer to communicate with the modem, slowing down other devices in your home that must then wait to communicate with the modem.

  • Consult the manufacturer of your device to learn the maximum Internet speed possible.
  • Keep your devices updated with the latest software, and check for viruses and malware.
  • Turn off devices you are not using.

Consider a different Internet speed option

If many devices access your home Wi-Fi network at the same time, you may want to consider a higher Internet speed to improve your experience. We offer several speed options to serve your needs.

Change the Wi-Fi channel 

If you encounter Wi-Fi signal interference, you can change the channel on your modem. The wireless channel is set automatically by your modem, but you can select a specific channel in the advanced settings of your modem. Before you start, ensure your device is connected to the modem via Ethernet or Wi-Fi.

  1. Log in to My Account and click on Wireless Settings.
  2. Your default username and password to access your Wi-Fi settings will be listed on the Wireless Settings page. We strongly encourage you to change the password the first time you log in.
  3.  Enter your username and password. 
  4. Select Wireless.
  5. Select Advanced.
  6. Select either 2.4G or 5G for the Wi-Fi network you would like to adjust.
  7. Select Wireless Clients and make note of their RSSI and DataRates.
  8. Select Wireless Survey and identify the cleanest wireless channel.
  9. Go back to Basic Settings and change the channel to the cleanest wireless channel identified during the Wireless Survey step.
  10. Select Save Changes.

Smart Wi-Fi 

Smart Wi-Fi makes automatic network optimizations that ensure peak performance and coverage throughout your home. It identifies and correct network issues in the background, such as congestion and interference, without the need for you to act on it.

Learn more about Smart Wi-Fi