Monday Productivity Pointers
Illustration by Neil Webb

Identifying your wifi's weakest link


Monday Productivity Pointers

with Jess Stratton and Garrick Chow and Nick Brazzi

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Video: Identifying your wifi's weakest link

Welcome to Monday Productivity Pointers. My name is Jess Stratton and this week I'm talking about home WiFi. When things are slow with your home wireless connection, it's not necessarily just a matter of getting a new router, and sometimes you may get a new router and not notice any speed increase at all. There's a lot of puzzle pieces and a lot of hardware. That all combines to give you the speed you get when you use the Internet on your device. Today, I'm going to show you what all those puzzle pieces are. So that you can check them one by one and make sure you're squeezing every possible megabit per second of speed.
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  1. 5m 23s
    1. Working with a touch app on a Windows 8 desktop PC NEW
      5m 23s
  2. 1m 11s
    1. Welcome back to Monday Productivity Pointers!
      1m 11s
  3. 12m 9s
    1. Using an Amazon filler app to qualify for free shipping
      2m 11s
    2. Using the free version of GoToMeeting
      3m 35s
    3. Creating mind maps
      6m 23s
  4. 10h 56m
    1. Running a group meeting with coworkers
      7m 19s
    2. Recording and marketing chat on air
      8m 30s
    3. Creating a quick presentation
      5m 37s
    4. Presenting from an iPad or computer
      3m 36s
    5. Migrating your accounts to
      9m 55s
    6. Setting budgets and goals
      7m 4s
    7. Collaborating on team documents
      5m 53s
    8. Creating an online photo gallery
      4m 58s
    9. Kickstarter: Setting up your project
      10m 41s
    10. Driving traffic to your project
      5m 48s
    11. Conducting a voice call with a virtual team
      6m 40s
    12. Adding video and chat notifications
      4m 7s
    13. Accepting a payment with Square
      4m 35s
    14. Using the Square Wallet
      2m 32s
    15. Setting up shop on Etsy
      6m 31s
    16. Tracking your Etsy sales with Shop Stats
      4m 9s
    17. Raising your Klout score
      7m 3s
    18. Earning Klout perks
      4m 55s
    19. Skydrive: Collaborating on team documents
      4m 56s
    20. Skydrive: Accessing files on the go
      2m 57s
    21. Setting up Google alerts to track your data
      5m 5s
    22. Removing a page from the Google search index
      4m 42s
    23. Browsing privately in public
      4m 38s
    24. Cleaning up your session before logging out
      5m 8s
    25. Troubleshooting a remote computer with TeamViewer
      3m 42s
    26. Taking screenshots from a PC
      4m 12s
    27. Taking screenshots from a Mac
      3m 36s
    28. Setting up Find My iPhone
      3m 36s
    29. Using iCloud to find an iPhone
      3m 49s
    30. Sampling color from the screen
      5m 27s
    31. Using for inspiration
      3m 22s
    32. Get an audio clip onto YouTube using iPhoto
      5m 49s
    33. Creating playlists and customizing your YouTube channel
      5m 41s
    34. Record your screen using QuickTime
      3m 14s
    35. Record your screen using CamStudio
      2m 34s
    36. Using Tempo Smart Calendar when you are going to be late
      3m 9s
    37. Using Twist to let your customers know where you are
      3m 38s
    38. Using Wunderlist to track multiple projects
      9m 0s
    39. Use the Wunderlist browser extension to create tasks on the web
      5m 46s
    40. Using Smart Mailboxes with Mac Mail
      6m 52s
    41. Customizing the Mac Mail View
      7m 13s
    42. What's a firewall?
      7m 36s
    43. What is the Cloud?
      4m 42s
    44. Creating your own recipe with IFTTT
      7m 19s
    45. Browsing existing recipes with IFTTT
      5m 7s
    46. Installing the Feedly browser extension
      6m 34s
    47. Customizing Feedly
      6m 53s
    48. Understanding the basics of Twitter
      9m 9s
    49. Using Tweetdeck to handle multiple accounts
      9m 14s
    50. Working with URL Shorteners
      5m 45s
    51. Using
      8m 31s
    52. Creating Quick Parts to re-use text
      6m 19s
    53. Moving your Autotext to a new computer
      6m 7s
    54. Shutting off access to social networks
      6m 18s
    55. Hiding taskbars
      2m 36s
    56. Exploring the iOS 7 Update
      10m 7s
    57. Running a productive online meeting
      3m 44s
    58. Getting meeting minutes faster
      6m 47s
    59. TextExpander for Mac
      7m 6s
    60. Breevy for Windows
      3m 44s
    61. Using Smart Folders on a Mac
      5m 52s
    62. Using Windows Libraries
      4m 25s
    63. Finding large attachments in your email apps
      5m 13s
    64. Use Ninite to install all your PC apps at once
      3m 30s
    65. Use Get Mac Apps to install your Mac apps at once
      2m 56s
    66. Creating a disposable email address with Guerrilla mail
      4m 7s
    67. Creating an email address that lasts only 10 minutes
      3m 16s
    68. Finding and adding local vendors to enhance your iOS reminders
      3m 45s
    69. Adding geofencing to Find My Friends
      3m 20s
    70. Turning a Word document contract into a PDF
      4m 1s
    71. Turning a PowerPoint presentation into a PDF
      4m 10s
    72. Resetting browser site passwords
      7m 11s
    73. Disabling toolbars, resizing screens, and accidentally closed tabs
      7m 42s
    74. Identifying your wifi's weakest link
      7m 59s
    75. Setting up dual band speed on your router
      7m 36s
    76. Add your social media activity to your website
      8m 54s
    77. Using WordPress mobile to update on the go
      4m 48s
    78. Matching the header row on your spreadsheet files
      8m 20s
    79. Using a formula to merge first and last name columns
      5m 58s
    80. Using JoliDrive to browse cloud app data
      5m 11s
    81. Using JoliDrive on an iPad
      4m 31s
    82. Finding deals on eBay using misspelled listings
      4m 18s
    83. Searching for promotional and coupon codes online
      5m 52s
    84. Sending real postcards from your computer with Postagram
      4m 25s
    85. Using Postagram to send a real postcard from your smartphone
      3m 55s
    86. Getting to Inbox Zero
      11m 4s
    87. Using existing GMail labels with Mailbox
      3m 19s
    88. Adding 2-step authentication
      3m 39s
    89. Enabling in-app PIN codes
      3m 31s
    90. Accessing your digital movies
      5m 20s
    91. Copying movies onto a device
      3m 25s
    92. Using Genius Scan to scan your documents
      3m 34s
    93. Sending your scans
      2m 41s
    94. Using Acrobat to ink sign a PDF
      4m 49s
    95. Writing a letter of recommendation
      7m 49s
    96. Constructing a successful press release
      4m 48s
    97. Troubleshooting wireless security
      4m 48s
    98. Writing a claim letter
      5m 22s
    99. The best reasons to try online chat customer service
      5m 9s
    100. How to do a firmware update
      6m 34s
    101. Siri, your iPhone assistant
      4m 48s
    102. Writing an email that gets read
      4m 51s
    103. Writing an email that requires action
      2m 54s
    104. Your Blu-ray questions answered
      3m 50s
    105. Using LittleBit to photograph your goal progress
      3m 9s
    106. Exporting WordPress blog entries
      3m 28s
    107. Understanding how Office 365 works
      5m 9s
    108. Using Waze for crowdsourced GPS
      2m 58s
    109. Downloading your Facebook timeline
      3m 10s
    110. Scheduling email with Boomerang
      4m 24s
    111. Google Labs for Calendar
      2m 58s
    112. Finding missing songs in iTunes on your iPhone
      2m 10s
    113. Requesting your Twitter archive
      2m 59s
    114. Using Doodle for easy group scheduling
      4m 59s
    115. Easily remote to another computer with
      3m 47s
    116. Keyboard shortcuts for YouTube
      2m 58s
    117. Easily annotate images with Skitch
      6m 4s
    118. Migrating to Google Apps
      9m 31s
    119. Get your Google Calendar schedule by email every morning
      3m 3s
    120. Blurring photos for posting on social networks
      6m 41s
    121. Using supplemental To Do apps
      3m 43s
    122. Getting alerts for Amazon price drops
      2m 36s
    123. Four tips to teach kids about websites
      8m 19s
    124. Caring for family members from afar
      4m 39s
    125. Using Google Sheets to make templates
      4m 35s

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Watch the Online Video Course Monday Productivity Pointers
11h 21m Appropriate for all Mar 25, 2013 Updated Jul 27, 2015

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

In this series on productivity, author Jess Stratton takes you through the latest tools that will help you run your business and life more efficiently. Each installment covers a particular feature or technique in a different online tool, such as Google Apps, Skype, YouTube,, Etsy, and more. Learn about topics ranging from recording and publishing video chats to managing your finances online.

Business Education + Elearning
Jess Stratton Garrick Chow Nick Brazzi

Identifying your wifi's weakest link

Welcome to Monday Productivity Pointers. My name is Jess Stratton and this week I'm talking about home WiFi. When things are slow with your home wireless connection, it's not necessarily just a matter of getting a new router, and sometimes you may get a new router and not notice any speed increase at all. There's a lot of puzzle pieces and a lot of hardware. That all combines to give you the speed you get when you use the Internet on your device. Today, I'm going to show you what all those puzzle pieces are. So that you can check them one by one and make sure you're squeezing every possible megabit per second of speed.

I'm going to start with the most general things and end up with the most specific. But the first thing I need to explain is how wireless speed is measured. It's measured by means of megabits per second. How many megabits per second of data can be transmitted over the connection? One megabit is one million bits. So a 54 megabit connection means that it can transfer approximately 54 million bits of data per second. Obviously, the higher the number, the faster the connection speed.

When we talk about speed, we also usually refer to it as bandwidth that is the amount of data that your allowed to transfer. These rates can also change over the course of your connection, so your max speed may also not be the speed you connect at, it could be slower. And that's okay. We're here today to identify the weakest link in your home wireless configuration, and to find the weakest link in the bunch, we first have to identify what the bunch is. So, here's the first puzzle piece. Your modem speed. Is your cable modem or BIOS word DSL. Outdated.

This can be combined with a router, or it can be a stand alone piece of hardware. Most likely, it came from your provider. So the first thing that you can do, is call your FiOS, DSL, or cable provider, and ask them if you're using the most current modem to get online. The next thing is your router speed. You could be using an older router. If you don't know the speed of your router, the easiest thing to do is to search the web for it on the model number, and find out. Let me show you. I did a quick Google search on the router that I use at home.

It's called the NetGear N600. So if I do a Google search, I can immediately see the first result is the actual model number of that router. Which is WNDR3700. And I can see right in the description, that the NetGear N600 router offers wireless speeds of up to 300 Mbps. Now in the next video, I'm going to show you how to log into your router and configure it for something called dual band mode for even more speed. And while you're there, if your network connection is slow you can also do something called a firmware update on your router.

The next thing to check is your wireless adapter speed. Your computer or laptop has a wireless adapter in it. It's a physical piece of hardware. Now, most likely, has the fastest speed that was available when the laptop or computer was built. Or, when you bought the adapter, if you have an external USB wireless adapter. Because, a lot of older computers didn't even come with wireless adapters. So, you may have had to go to the store, and bought an external wireless adapter. That you then plugged into the computer via a USB cable.

Now, that comes with a maximum speed, also. To find out the speed if you're on a Mac you can do a spotlight search and type, network utility. Let's do that now. I'm going to hit Cmd + space on the keyboard and type network utility. If I get into that Network Utility I'm going to click on the Info tab, and the first thing I need to do from the Drop Down is select the network interface that I'm looking for. Now in this case I'm not connected via WiFi, I'm connected by a hard Ethernet cable, so I'm going to select that. But you would see wiFi in here.

I'll find the right connection, and I'll know it's the right connection because it's one that has an IP address. And it's actually transmitting data over here on the right. I can see what my link speed is currently, but what I'm interested in, is the make and model of that physical piece of hardware, so that I can look it up online, and see what the maximum speed is. If you are using Windows, in the task bar on the bottom right of the desktop you can right-click that wireless icon which is the icon with the tiered bars on it, open the Networks and Sharing Center and click on your Wi-Fi connection.

You'll probably see a button there that says Properties and you can click on that to see that actual make and model and name of your wireless card. The next thing to search on, is your provider tiered download speed. Gone are the days of signing up for a high speed internet. Now internet speed is tiered, meaning you can pay more per month for faster download speeds. For example, you can get a 75 megabit per second download speed, which is great for families that have multiple computers and stream video a lot. So what you need to do now, is call your provider, after you ask them what type of cable box you're using, and see what download rate you're currently getting.

Sometimes you can increase it, and they're always having specials. So you can shop around and see what the price is. For a good rate for you. And even then though, after, you can go to a website, called to make sure that you're really getting that speed. You may not get that actual speed, but you want to make sure you're coming close. There's one more piece, and that's your router configuration. I'm going to go over this in the next video, but it does play a part here. You can have a router that's capable of a fast connection, but you might have it configured with an older networking standard.

You may have heard of something called an 802.11 protocol. This is a WiFi networking specification. It's a standard. We started out with 802.11a and b. Then we moved on to wireless adapters that were being manufactured to support much higher transmit data speeds which gave us something called, 802.11g. And finally, the much faster and still widely used 802.11n. Now I'm covering this here because these are numbers that you've probably seen a lot.

And maybe you didn't know what they were. So you have the ability to log into your router, and make sure you aren't slowing down your connection by having it set to an older protocol. Such as 802.11g. Every one of these pieces is important, and it's important to know the speed that each hardware item maxes out at. This is how you can tell what your weakest link is. So now that you know what all the puzzle piecces are, you can go through and identify where your bottleneck lies. I know a lot of people that have the latest and greatest tablets and computers.

Which would certainly come with fast Wi-fi adapter speeds, and they recently switched to Verizon FIOS to give them that screaming fast 75 megabit per second download speed. However, their router is still the old blue Linksys WRT54G model. Which was the old blue router with the two rabbit ears on it. This is a really old router from back when 54 megabits, per second was the fastest speed out there. The connection will never be able to transmit any data faster than that. So, in this case, spending more money for a faster Internet connection speed is a waste.

As the computer will never be able to download at that speed, due to the limitations of the router. I'm going to leave you with one final thought. For streaming, nothing will be more stable than a wired Ethernet connection. Many devices like Blu-ray players, TVs and XBox consoles also come with the ability to plug in a physical cable through Ethernet from your router. If you're worried about streaming quality, think about moving your home router into your living room, TV and console area, so that you can hardwire everything. In the next video, I'm going to show you how to create what's called a dual band wireless network.

So that you can potentially double your WiFi speed.

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