Wireless network – What would we do without it? Since WiFi became a thing at the end of the 90s, it has revolutionized how we live and how we do things. But, as with any technology, it has also created a lot of confusion. How does this and that work and is this really true?
Well, that’s what I thought we would check out today. I do not get asked about a wireless network that often (unless they need help installing a router, sigh) so I had to look on the world wide web for some claims and found some interesting. Did you know that WiFi does not cause cancer or the point of antennas on the router?
#1: It’s True That Other Devices Than Just Your Neighbors WiFi can Interfere with Yours
You may have heard about WiFi interference. It signals that will interfere with your WiFi and thus, your WiFi will not perform as good as it can. A common thing to do then is to blame the neighbors, as their WiFi is interfering with yours, right?
Not certainly. There is a lot of other things that can interfere with your WiFi network. A microwave is often interfering with the WiFi, that’s something you have heard before. But it’s more than that. IT is things like wireless speakers, radios, an electrical device with poorly shielded cables or other Bluetooth and wireless devices. The list goes on.
It is, of course, problematic to turn off everything that can interfere with your WiFi and the solution to interference is often to change the channel. But will that actually help? If the interference is very intermittent and not constant, I would suggest leaving the channel as it is. The grass is often not greener on the other side.
One thing you can do is to use the 5 GHz network more, as that is less pruned to interference than the 2.4 GHz network. You might need to get a range extender, like the TP-Link AC750 from Amazon, in order to get a good coverage of the 5 GHz but since it offers more performance with less interference, it’s a win for a small cost.
If you are interested in learning more about WiFi interference, I suggest reading this article from NetworkWorld.
#2: No, WiFi Does Not Cause Cancer
A very strong belief for many is that WiFi can give you cancer and thus, they do not have any WiFi at home. While I am no doctor, I do believe that this is wrong and here’s why:
We have had WiFI and cellular phones for quite some time now, at least 20 years. Yet, the amount of people that get a brain tumor is still the same number as it was 20 or 30 years ago. This article from the US National Library of Medicine says exactly that.
This article from iNews has a theory that this myth (I am going to call it that) exist, simply because we know more now than we did 20 years ago. It’s a well worth read.
I am well aware of the reports that say that being exposed to WiFi will increase the chances of getting cancer or other types of deceases. However, in 2018, you can’t live without getting exposed all the time, and instead of going around being scared all the time, I instead trust organizations like Cancer Research UK that say WIFi and mobile phones does not cause cancer.
#3: WiFi is Not as Secure as Wired Connection
This is simply not true. While the technology has come a lot further than it had 20 years ago, a physical, wired connection is always more secure than a wireless connection. It shouldn’t even need an explanation but here’s why anyway:
A wireless signal is a signal that you can reach outside someone’s home. You can sit on the other side of the wall and hide and connect to a WiFi. If you are skilled enough, there are ways you can get into a network. I can’t but I am 100% sure that there are people that are. Once they are connected to the WiFi, they can access all your computers, devices and the information on them.
However, if you are using a wired connection, it’s simply impossible to connect to your network without physically having access to a network device in your home. This means that the hacker needs to break into your home instead of just spending time outside. If I was the hacker, I would just continue to the neighbor to see if there’s WiFi there instead of breaking in.
However, I have WiFi at home, and I am sure that you do as well. It is making life easier and we are willing to take the risks. But I still encourage you to read this great article over at We Live Security as they are a bit more about wired vs wireless.
#4: Yes (and No), More Antennas Will Give a Better WiFi Network
I am going to be very vague on this because this can be both true and false, depending on what you mean with “better WiFi”. Having more antennas is usually better for stability and range. The router will be able to reach further with more antennas, but it won’t necessarily be faster.
Maybe you have seen router ads saying that the router supports the latest AC technology? AC is a wireless technology, and this will determine how fast your speed is. Using older technologies like n or g is not a good idea. So, the speed of the router will depend on the technology.
It will also depend on you if you are using the 2.4 GHz band or 5 GHz band. The 5 GHz can provide much faster speeds but does not have the same range as the old 2.4 GHz band. No matter how many antennas your router has, the 5 GHz will never reach as far. Because of this, I would suggest getting a range extender like the TP-Link AC750 on Amazon, instead of looking for a router with 8 antennas.
#5: Hiding Your SSID Will Not Prevent Hackers from Finding Yours
No, it will not prevent you from being hacked. If you sleep better during the night because your SSID is hidden, then I suggest that you go hide it right now. But if you are worried to get hacked, there are other things that you can do instead.
Instead of explaining how to do it, here’s an article from Acrylicwifi.com that explains it. And if a guide on Google (the first result on top of that) explains how to do it, that should prove how wrong this is.
Then we have the elephant in the room, the chance of getting hacked. A hacker is usually going for a predefined target or if they are choosing by random, the easiest target. What’s the point of going through more trouble then you need to? If you are the target of the hacker, you probably have other trouble to attend to then hiding your SSID.
#6: You Should Always Use the 5 GHz Network
The 5 GHz network has been here for a while and it’s time we start using it fully. The big downside with this frequency is the range but this can be easily fixed with a range extender. The advantages of going with new technology are that it’s faster, more reliable, stronger and doesn’t have as much interference as the 2.4 GHz network.
But I will be honest, I haven’t turned off the 2.4 GHz network at my home. I use it for my smart devices that don’t require much. However, for phones, laptops, the Apple TV, etc., I only go for the 5 GHz network, there is no point for not doing it.
2 years ago, Dirk Gates wrote an article on Betanews.com, where he asked why we couldn’t let the 2.4 GHz go. Today, steps are being taken towards just that, at least in my life. I am currently leading a project at work, to move forward with a new WiFi solution where only the 5 GHz will be used because we simply do not see the point of using 2.4 GHz.