Wired networks are still the most reliable
If you're lucky enough to have ethernet cable throughout your home, you probably have the most reliable network. However, very few homes have ethernet cable throughout. Powerline adapters, which use your home's existing electrical wiring to send a network signal, may be more reliable than Wi-Fi, but they don't always work in every home. They also don't work with your mobile devices, like smartphones and tablets.
Improving Wi-Fi performance and reliability
Although your Slingbox may be connected using ethernet or powerline adapters, many homes now use wireless networks to connect laptops, smartphones, and tablets. These suggestions pertain to wireless networks:
- First of all, consider your router's location. For the best wireless signal, your router should be out in the open, not hidden in a cabinet. Ideally, it should be in the center of the house. This may not do much for aesthetics, and many times isn't even feasible because the cable that carries the Internet signal into your house is usually in the corner or side of the house.
- Most modern routers operate in two bands, 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz, and you can choose which one you want. The 2.4Ghz signal travels farther, but is susceptible to interference from household appliances, like microwave ovens, wireless landline phones, and vacuum cleaners.
- Consider upgrading your router if you have an older one supporting 802.11b or g wireless technology (check your router's documentation to determine which standard it uses). The most popular Wi-Fi standard is 802.11n, which is what the Slingbox 500 uses.
- To get the best range and speed, the devices you are connecting must be able to receive the same standard used by the router. Otherwise, it drops back to the slower standard. This shouldn't be a problem unless you are using an early iPhone or an older computer.
- If your signal is still disappointing, consider getting a new router that supports 802.11ac, the latest standard that promises greater range and connection speeds. Unfortunately, only a few devices support it, such as Apple's latest iMacs and the MacBook Air.
- Some carriers, such as AT&T, provide consumers with a combination modem and router. If you don't like the router they provide, you can use your own and plug it into the combination unit. Then you can set up the router to disable the combination router's signal.
- Many dropped wireless signals can be fixed by updating the router's firmware. Unfortunately, the update process is not always straightforward. Check your router's manual or web site for instructions. You might also want to check the manufacturer's web site to be sure you have the latest firmware.
For more information and suggestions, see the articles linked below. Hope this helps!