No Signal: Homes Often Baffle Wi-Fi From Routers
By GEOFFREY A. FOWLER DECEMBER 23, 2010
Technology companies are touting wireless homes, where we can download a book in the tub and beam a movie from a tablet to the television set. But too often, that potential doesn't live up to the reality of sluggish and flaky wireless networks.
My apartment has more than a dozen devices that feed off the network: two laptops, a printer, an e-reader, wireless speakers, two smartphones, an iPad and more. Yet getting gadgets to connect to my two-year-old wireless router is a dark art. I can surf the Web on the street in front of my house, yet can't get a signal sitting in bed. In desperation, I even tried dangling a router-the equipment that takes your Internet connection and shares it with the devices in your home-from the ceiling in an effort to distance it from interfering walls.
Surely, covering a whole apartment is a problem that the decade-old Wi-Fi industry can solve. So I tested four top-of-the-line home wireless routers, each of which features the latest generation dual-band "wireless N" technology designed to increase performance.
The result was disappointing. None of the routers could deliver a100% consistent wireless experience that could take advantage of the latest technology, like Apple's AirPlay media-streaming service.