Tips, Tricks, and FAQs

Many times, we are contacted by old and new customers alike, asking how to improve upon their existing service.  Not every internet “problem” requires a Kingwood Smart Homes engineer.  Here are some common findings, along with some tips and tricks for you to consider before calling us:

Why is my internet slow?
This is by far our most common query, and there are dozens of answers.  Here are our top 5 discoveries from Kingwood area homes:

  1. Old Router:
    This is by far the most common cause of slow internet speeds.  In fact, with the high speeds now available to the Kingwood area, most wireless routers have become the chokepoint.  On a scale of 1-1000, most routers older than 3 years can only handle speeds of about 100.  It frankly does not matter if you hook it up to the fastest internet connection in the world.  If the old router can only handle 100 units of data per second, that’s all you’re going to get.  Replace your old router with a more modern version and you might give your internet speeds a boost.
  2. Improper Placement/Router Configuration:
    So you go to the store, purchase a brand-new router, ask your neighbor’s teenager to configure it for you, and you’re good to go, right?  Not exactly.  There is more to configuring your router than just plugging it in and following the one-size-fits-most prompts.  WiFi reception is horrible, and one of the biggest issues is the proper placement of your WiFi hotspots.  Notice the pluralization: hotspots.  A modern home should have, at minimum, one hotspot per floor, and one to service any distant locations (master suites, garages, patios, etc.)
  3. Time of Day:
    Most internet service providers offer two grades of service: business and residential.  The two grades are not equal.  Business accounts are given guaranteed service contracts.  What this means is that a business customer is guaranteed certain internet speeds, 24/7. With most carriers, residential customers are given the “leftovers” with respect to data speeds.  For instance, if your community network can handle 100 units of data, and your brand-new grocery store demands 90 units to process credit cards the night before Thanksgiving, then you and all of your neighbors will be stuck with the remaining 10 units.  This is not necessarily a bad thing, as most of us prefer our credit card transaction to clear immediately.  Read your service contracts carefully, and you will see that your internet speeds can be “up to  ___ mbps.”  Up-to is not a guarantee.
  4. Lack of hard-Wired Connections:
    The majority of Kingwood homes were built in the 1970s and 1980s, long before high-speed data was a concern.  Although many of us have been able to “get-by” with WiFi, as of 2016 we have reached a point where our homes are gridlocking our digital lives.  Trying to run 4+ smartphones, 4+laptops, multiple Netflix streams, and an X-box or two leads to a pretty frustrating experience for almost everybody.As a general rule, the only items which should run on WiFi are smartphones and tablets.  Data-hungry devices like: computers, 4k televisions, gaming consoles, home theaters, and even your external hard drive should all be on a hard-wired network.Although hard-wiring a home can be costly, you will quickly see a in improvement in your family’s quality of life.
  5. Expecting Miracles:
    This should be a Foxworthy bit:

    1. If your internet service crashes every-time someone picks-up the telephone, you’re not getting fast internet speeds.
    2. If the phrase: “You’ve Got Mail” still cheers you up: you’re not getting fast internet speeds.
    3. If your computer’s user manual begins with: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…”  you’re not getting fast internet speeds.
    4. If you bought your computer or router while George W. Bush was running for governor, you’re not getting fast internet speeds.
    5. If your long-lost Nigerian relative prefers the speed of postcards in lieu of emails, you’re not getting fast internet speeds.