Not only because of the pandemic have we learned how important fast internet is for the home office. In addition to telephones, computers and televisions, more and more household appliances and building services are being networked with each other in the smart home.
A correctly set up WLAN is therefore indispensable for every home. It must be stable, have sufficient signal strength and offer high bandwidths. But that is exactly what is lacking in many households. We spoke to the head of sales and service at Telekom, Dr. Ferri Abolhassan.
A family sits comfortably on the sofa in the evening and streams a film. Suddenly the image stagnates – the connection is broken. Worse still: When you video call a customer, you suddenly only see black. Why is radio interference still so common in the 21st century?
dr Ferri Abolhassan: In most cases, the problem is not due to the connection we have provided. The ordered bandwidth usually arrives at the customer’s point of termination. The causes of Internet disruptions are usually found in the home network that you set up yourself.
What do you have to watch out for?
dr Ferri Abolhassan: The most stable home network is still achieved with LAN cabling. However, for visual reasons or for convenience, most users access the Internet via WLAN. Here not only the choice of a powerful router is decisive, but also the right router location. Again, there are some pitfalls to be aware of.
And which ones are they?
dr Ferri Abolhassan: Elevators, thick walls, special window glazing and underfloor heating often pose an obstacle to the WLAN signal. Furniture can also slow down the radio signals. The same applies to aquariums or plants. Even glass doors can reflect WiFi waves on their surface, reducing range. The router plays a big part in the speed of the home network. It should be placed as freely and elevated as possible, at least one meter high. It is best to be close to the places and devices that are to be reached via WLAN – i.e. not in the basement but in a central location. In addition, the router should not be hidden between furniture or even in a closed cupboard.
So where exactly is the perfect location?
dr Ferri Abolhassan: With software tools and apps, the signal strength of the WLAN router can be easily measured in order to determine an optimal location. Recommended here is e.g. B. the MeinMagenta app, because it offers not only the optimal location determination but also other functions, such as tips for the right choice of channel or a speed test. The app also offers tips & tricks for optimizing the WiFi signal.
And what if my internet is still just too slow?
dr Ferri Abolhassan: For fast internet connections, a fiber optic connection is a better choice than a cable connection. Because with the latter, the users very often have to share the bandwidth with their neighbors in the house, this is also referred to as a “shared medium”. With a fiber optic connection, on the other hand, the ordered bandwidth reaches the respective customer exclusively. With fiber optic connections, speeds of up to 1 Gbit/s are possible. That is why Telekom is playing a key role in the expansion of the fiber optic network in Germany.
I don’t have a fiber optic connection yet – how can I still optimize my Internet line?
dr Ferri Abolhassan: A lot of cabling runs over old risers. These can be a common source of trouble for slow internet connections in the home. In the past, the risers were often laid without surrounding empty pipes and therefore hang unsecured and unprotected on the wall. Cable breaks and corrosion are therefore not uncommon. Especially when renovating, the problem of porous insulation in connection with moisture can be investigated. Older or cheap risers should be replaced because they are not up to today’s quality standards for fast internet connections. The end of the riser is the TAE. The telecommunications connection unit is the telephone socket, which is found in every household, mostly in the hallway or in the living room or bedroom. Here, too, it is worthwhile for homeowners or tenants to take a look, since a dilapidated TAE can be a source of Internet disruptions. As a gesture of goodwill, Telekom service technicians replace this socket with every new connection.
My impression is that particularly large apartments, offices or houses with several floors have problems with smooth reception. What can you do?
dr Ferri Abolhassan: A WLAN with mesh technology is recommended here, which ensures unimpeded reception in every corner. While the range of a normal WiFi router is a maximum of 10 to 20 meters – and the power of the signal decreases with every meter of distance -, several devices, special mesh repeaters, work together in a mesh network and thus create a comprehensive WiFi network -Network. Such a mesh WLAN is particularly necessary when several end devices are used and high data rates are required everywhere. Basically, we do not leave our customers alone and help with the perfect home network.
What services do you offer to support customers?
dr Ferri Abolhassan: Telekom offers professional help for setting up or problems with your home network. With our Digital Home Service offer, we optimize WiFi at home, even for non-Telekom customers. The technician only leaves when the WLAN is running optimally everywhere in the house. There are two new packages on offer for fast and convenient surfing: WLAN Comfort and WLAN Comfort Plus. These include the Speedport Smart 4 router and – depending on the package selected – one or up to three Speed Home WLAN mesh repeaters. Technical experts support you by phone with the simple and carefree setup of the WLAN devices. The check of the home network for the purpose of WLAN optimization is included in a so-called “Welcome Call”. Anyone who prefers a personal installation service can book an on-site appointment when ordering the package. Users of the WLAN Comfort Plus package also benefit from permanent application support: Telekom experts help with all questions and problems with hardware such as PCs, tablets or smartphones. They also support software applications such as video conferencing tools and WLAN problems. Help is provided by telephone, via secure remote access or even once a year directly on site.
Thank you for this informative interview.