It only takes watching TV one night to see a communications carrier commercial touting their high speed cable access. So, of course, as consumers we all believe that when they connect their router up in our home, all our Internet connections and streaming will be as described.

To better understand why you have dead zones & slow Internet & streaming in your home, it is best to first understand what you are getting from your communications carrier. You are essentially receiving a router. A router actually comes with 4 devices inside it: a router, an access point, a network switch & a firewall.

A router is a device that forwards data packets along networks. A router is connected to at least two networks, commonly two LANs or WANs or a LAN and its ISP’s network. Routers are located at gateways, the places where two or more networks connect.

An access point is a device that allows wireless devices to connect to a network. It is the radio transmitter receiver of a Wi-Fi network. Most routers have built-in access points which must be connected to a router in order to provide network access. In either case, access points are typically hardwired to devices, such as network switches.
A switch is a device for the interconnection of hardwired devices. A switch is connected to a router port that will take the data toward its intended destination.

Firewalls are frequently used to prevent unauthorized Internet users from accessing private networks connected to the Internet. All messages entering or leaving the internal (secured) network pass through the firewall, which examines each message and blocks those that do not meet the specified security criteria.

Now that you are thoroughly confused by the overlapping definitions, other than the firewall, let me make a point. Generally, when a homeowner is not receiving the signals needed in the home from the communication carrier’s router, the consumer purchases an additional router or an access point or a switch or a combination. Then, after spending all that money & time on these products, the network is no better than it was and sometimes even worse.

Without fully understanding “networking” it is very easy to buy the wrong product or to even degrade the existing system. Your communications carrier is selling you the router that does carry the speeds they talk about on TV. However, once that device is installed in your home, there are a number of factors that come into play to degrade those speeds; number of IP addresses, structural blockages, simultaneous usage, heavy need of broadband such as gaming and more. Upgrading to an even higher speed router from your carrier is not going to solve your problems either, since all the other internal factors have not changed. An experienced network specialist can determine how to get you optimum performance by setting up the correct network infrastructure within your home.

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