Tips for Optimizing Your Home Wi-Fi Network as Family Devices Skyrocket

Check out these tips!

By Katie Linendoll, Partner at MetroCap Partners

This weekend, I watched my niece and nephew so my sister and brother-in-law could enjoy a rare night out. It’s a setting you can probably relate to. We tend to use the phrase “there’s a lot going on.” We had quality family dinner time discussing everything from current events to Funko Pops, and then we all migrated to the living room for some down time to hang out.

My nephew was gaming on his iPad; my niece was messaging friends, discussing creative ideas for a school project; my mom was on her phone catching up on news articles; I was on my phone and laptop multi-tasking while also simultaneously trying to fix my nephew’s VR headset. Can you relate?

One thing we don’t often think about is the increasing demand we are putting on our home network - and that demand is only expected to increase in the coming years.

So when I had the opportunity to partner with Xfinity to share their recent 2021 WiFi Trends report, as a big techie, the data even surprised me:

Nearly one billion unique devices connected to Wi-Fi in Xfinity households in 2021, a 12X increase from 2018 - and while various categories saw their own growth, including health and wellness, streaming, and IoT, one stand-out was gaming. Gaming saw a 15X growth from three years ago, now averaging more than one console per household.

Connectivity has never been more important, and now that many are working from home, there are even more people on the network, posing the question: How can I get the fastest speeds and most control of my home network? Here are some insights and tips!

FUTURE PROOF YOUR TECH

Consumers were keen on investing in their home networks in 2021 - nearly 3 in 5 Americans improved their Wi-Fi connectivity. Additionally, about a third upgraded their equipment or increased their speed and are taking advantage of the best hardware on the market. Future proof your tech to get the best coverage and speeds!

What about extending Wi-Fi range in the home? In 2021, Xfinity found that nearly 100 million devices were regularly connected to their Wi-Fi extenders for wall-to-wall coverage. Whether you have Xfinity or another network provider, there is always an opportunity to gain better speeds and coverage by simply looking into the hardware that meets your specific needs. Wi-Fi extenders help reduce dead spots and ensure you stay connected, especially in bigger homes. Your Wi-Fi router is also important. For hardware, there are various options, but for example, Xfinity’s xFi Advanced Gateway provides fast, reliable Wi-Fi.

PARENTAL CONTROLS

I recently had a parent share with me just how useful Wi-Fi digital dashboards can be for monitoring screen time. When it came time for lights out on school nights, the kids were staying online later than they should, and parents saw an increased need to limit their screen time. In fact, Xfinity discovered that more than 1 million customers used parental controls in 2021, taking advantage of more than 1 million “downtimes” and scheduled offline time for their kids throughout the day. The most popular schedules were bedtime, homework, and dinnertime. In addition to creating downtimes, parents also paused and unpaused Wi-Fi nearly 100 million times.

If you’re a parent looking to get more control of your home network, including minimizing your kids’ screen time when needed, take a peek at the parental control settings in your digital dashboard to see how you can customize your settings and enjoy greater ease of mind and a more active role in your children’s relationship with technology at home.

ADVANCED SECURITY

Consumer devices are under attack more than ever. To ensure you are getting the most out of your home Wi-Fi experience, it’s important to take a proactive approach in the security of your devices.

One of the easiest ways to protect yourself from threats is to make sure you’re taking advantage of protective services from your network provider. I attend so many cyber conferences, and it amazes me how they continually stress the importance of being extra careful with the basic fundamentals. I know we are all so busy, but being extra cautious can help prevent cyber attacks. Here are some tips:

  • One of the most common ways people opt to change a password is to just add “1” - be proactive and take a few extra seconds to create a strong password. I know you’ve probably heard this a million times, but it’s so critical!
  • Enable two-factor authentication.
  • As phishing schemes are on the rise, take the time to hover over a sender’s email address to see where an email is coming from.

Probably not much of a surprise, but the growth of connected devices in our homes is only going to continue. While the fastest-growing device categories right now are streaming and gaming, health is seeing the most rapid rise, with smart fitness equipment and fitness trackers connected to home networks. And for what it’s worth, over the years we have also seen the growth of health and gaming with so many fitness games from VR headsets to consoles. Who says we’re not living in a Jetsons era?


Katie Linendoll is an Emmy Award-winning TV personality, consumer technology expert, and one of the leading women in the field of technology. Katie is also a partner at MetroCap Partners, focused on engagement with both early-stage startups and strategic investors. Katie is a gamer, specifically covering all-things Nintendo, including an exclusive interview with Shigeru Miyamoto for a worldwide product launch.

Top image © Yingyaipumi / Adobe Stock