More than 90 percent of Americans look forward to visiting with family and friends over the holidays, while the average number of guests invited to a holiday party is 47. If you’re planning to play host for Thanksgiving, New Year’s, or in between, your guests will want to get online for social media, fantasy sports, online gaming, shopping, streaming, and more, so it’s important to make sure your Wi-Fi is up to speed.
To keep everyone happy, here are a few tips to use while entertaining this holiday season. You can also check out our Holiday Hotspot infographic here.
Put Your Router Front and Center
Most activity will probably take place in your living room and kitchen, as family and friends gather to watch football (while checking Fantasy scores), open presents (while posting on Instagram), cook dinner (while looking at Pinterest recipes), and so on. Make sure your router (aka Wireless Gateway) is somewhere centered in this general vicinity, about 5 feet off the ground. This way, the wireless signal will reach the most-used areas. (Check out this blog for more tips on where to put your Wireless Gateway.)
Reboot Your Router Beforehand
Most software and speed updates to your Wireless Gateway require a restart, just like on your smartphone or tablet. To make sure your router is running at its peak performance, reboot it a few days before the party to complete upgrades. Just unplug it from the power outlet, wait 15-20 seconds, and plug it back in. Allow a few minutes for it to turn back on.
Use the 5 GHz Connection
Most devices connect to 2.4 GHz by default, meaning the 5 GHz spectrum is generally less crowded and faster. It’s also better for applications requiring high bandwidth like streaming video. If your Wireless Gateway has both wireless radio bands, tell your visitors to set their devices to 5 GHz in the Wi-Fi Settings menu. Your uncle can then stream a toy tutorial video while your sister uses Periscope, and they both will get the best experience. (However 2.4 GHz signals travel farther than 5 GHz, so they may want to switch back after leaving your house.)
Hard Wire When You Can
If your nephews and nieces love playing Xbox or PlayStation, set them up in the basement with a wired connection to the gaming console. Or, if they want to stream Home Alone or Elf while the adults are being boring upstairs, hardwire the laptop. To do so, plug your wired Ethernet cable into the port on the device. Gaming and streaming can take up a lot of bandwidth, so this will provide the best Internet performance for all of your guests.
Choose Wi-Fi Over Cellular
Whether you’re streaming holiday music on Pandora or your husband is watching a YouTube video on how to make homemade gravy, make sure all devices are on Wi-Fi and not cellular. Streaming can eat up your mobile data fast. To check, go to the Wi-Fi settings menu.
Watch out for Hogs
Need to clear some space on that smartphone or digital camera? Tasks like uploading thousands of photos or downloading a new computer program can hog your speed and bandwidth. Most likely these things don’t need to happen during a party, so hold off until after your guests leave, or do them beforehand.
Take Advantage of Two Hotspots
If you’re an Xfinity Internet customer with our latest Xfinity Wireless Gateway, you have two wireless signals, or SSIDs. One is your family’s private home Wi-Fi signal, while the other is a separate "xfinitywifi" signal. Each has its own dedicated bandwidth, keeping your home network faster and more secure, because you don’t have to share it with guests.
Visitors who are Xfinity Internet customers can use the Xfinity WiFi home hotspot feature without needing your private password, giving them instant, easy access to fast and reliable Wi-Fi. Then, you can use your personal Wi-Fi signal for things like online holiday shopping, to catch a good deal or buy another strand of lights.
When in Doubt, Restart
If the Internet starts to get sluggish, reset your Wireless Gateway, and let it readjust. This will reestablish the network in your house and may solve the issue.
If you follow some of these tips, your house will be Internet ready for the holidays. For more solutions for optimizing your Internet experience, click here.
Click here to download the infographic.