Can you improve your wifi?

When we moved in Moscow, eight years ago, we arrived in a new region, just inside the city border.

Like many new regions, the infrastructure was limited. Only one internet provider was on the scene.

My son, then a teenager, had much more technical knowledge than me. We agreed to set up a wifi link

to my computer, the direct feed going to his machine, so that he could enjoy whatever teenagers enjoy on the internet.

The system generally worked well. My usage did not depend on any high-speed input.

Cloudy weather could close us down for a few hours at a time, but usually things were okay.

When I would complain, my son would blame the internet service provider – we could do nothing due to its monopoly in the area.

My computer  has a display indicating the strength of signals to my computer and to those in neighbouring flats. As we only have one provider, this should have alerted me to improvement.

The display identifies a strength of 0-5. ours languished at 2-3, whilst several neighbours enjoyed a better score.

When problems struck, I would check where the box (‘router’, as I have learned), often to find that my wife had let it fall behind the armchair, which I believed had caused the miserable signal performance.

On a visit from my tekkie, I was persuaded to buy a new wifi card which plugged into a USB port in the computer and was like a guitar plectrum, the size of a thumbnail.

Time moved on, until one Sunday the strength collapsed. On Monday, we called the internet service provider , who came to see us. The box was the original, possibly older than eight years.

It was replaced, as was our plectrum card by a new card that is fixed into the computer box (freeing up a USB port in doing so). The improvement was immediate, our signal strengthening from 2-3 to mostly 5.

The only problem now is that the wifi disconnects, often when I am writing emails. I can quickly reconnect it. The ISP guy has been here to check it, promises it has been solved, disappears before the problem raises it ugly head again.

I thought that I was learning some technology in computers, but the network parts of my computer (used by ISP guy) baffled me completely as he roared through them. I will have to stick with websites and master them.

Conclusion: blaming the provider for poor wifi was wrong. I should have realised that from the comparative strengths of my neighbours’ service. I am loathe to change any part of my computer system, but I should have looked to upgrade the system, both router and wifi card before.

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