How to Fix Typical Wireless Problems

I know you’ve been there: you are comfortably sitting on your couch, watching the last episode from your favorite detective/murder series. The villain is quietly approaching his innocent victim, when all the sudden… your Wi-Fi connection breaks down.

Sometimes a quick router restart fixes the problem, but this only happens if you’re lucky. Often times, the problems that can cause Wi-Fi signal drops are serious, and not that easy to fix.

The good news is that you’ve discovered this blog, though. And here I am, ready to share with you pretty much everything I know about poor wireless connections and how to fix them.

Let’s make this clear from the very beginning: one of the biggest Wi-Fi signal problems is interference. Most people keep their routers in their homes, after all, and – truth be told – our homes are sometimes filled with electronic devices.

I am talking about microwave ovens, cordless phones, smartphones, and so on. And not just the electronic devices cause problems, you know? Metal structures and even plain walls can turn a strong Wi-Fi signal into a weak one, sending a powerful wave of terror in your Internet-connected home.

So now that you know about this problem, what can be done about it? The answer is simple: move the router closer to your room. Yes, this may make your kids angry, but it’s one of the most effective ways of boosting Wi-Fi signal strength. And even if your kids will have a weaker signal, dad pays for Internet bill, right?

According to Data Alliance, Wi-Fi signal can be diminished by up to 30% because either your router or the wireless card utilizes outdated drivers. The easiest method of checking if you can download and install new drivers for your devices is to use Windows’ built-in software update mechanism. I have to admit that this method may fail every now and then, though, so sometimes it’s going to be wiser to go to the manufacturer’s website and access its driver download section.

If you live in an apartment, I’m quite sure that most of your neighbors run their own Wi-Fi networks. And with the standard 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi networks, the number of available channels is very limited – 14, to be more precise. If your neighbor has a powerful router that operates on the same channel with your Wi-Fi network, it’s a good idea to switch to a new channel.

Simply test the channels, one of the time, until you find the one which provides the strongest Wi-Fi signal. There are lots of apps that simplify the process by showing you graphs with the active/crowded Wi-Fi channels in your area.

Another effective method that fixes most wireless problems is the addition of a wireless signal repeater. These devices are also known as wireless extenders, and their goal is to amplify the signal, extending the range of your Wi-Fi network. And with prices starting at a low $30 or so, you should definitely purchase a signal repeater if you experience frequent disconnects, slow download and upload speeds, and so on.

Finally, if everything else fails, it’s time to replace your router with a modern one. Try to find one that’s got as many antennas as possible, though; this way, you should see a significant signal strength increase. Pick a router that uses both bands (2.4 and 5 GHz), and then use the higher frequency band for the devices that are in the same room with the router.

The lower frequency band should be used for the devices that are away from the router, because the 2.4 GHz frequency signal travels farther than the new 5 GHz one. You’ve got it, it’s another case of a new technology that isn’t as good as the old one, at least in some areas.

These are the most common solutions to the most frequent Wi-Fi problems. Start with the ones that don’t require any financial investment, and then, if the results aren’t as expected, move on to the ones that may cost you some money, but are guaranteed to have a higher success rate. Good luck!

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Smart Cars, Robots and Baby Monitors

Intelligent Hybrid Cars Save 30% More Fuel

I know what you’re dreaming of: someday you will have your own hybrid car. They’re so posh and… green! On the inside, of course!

And yet, very few people know that hybrid cars aren’t that efficient. Sure, they don’t use too much power when you’re driving to work, for example, but things can get much worse faster, whenever you have to drive longer distances, forcing the gas-powered engine to kick in.

As you can imagine, specialists know this, and they have recently started to design AI-powered cars that are able to combine the power of both engines, with the goal of obtaining a maximum fuel efficiency. A team of researchers from University of California have studied nature’s own energy-saving processes, and then they have designed several algorithms that improve fuel consumption, instructing the car what engines to use when it is stuck in traffic, when it is running at 100 mph, and so on.

The results are very encouraging: researchers have managed to reduce fuel consumption by about 30%, and the future looks even brighter! It’s true that we’re looking forward to a future where gas-powered engines will be thrown into huge garbage bins – at least I know I am! – but hybrid cars are a necessary intermediary step, at least for now.


Robots Give People Emotional Support

I’ve got a confession to make: I’m a proud robot owner. It’s true that I’ve only got a robot that knows how to make coffee, tea, and so on. It doesn’t look like a humanoid, but who cares about that? I’m not interested in talking with it, after all! Why would I want to do that?

Well, there are actually several reasons why people might be interested in talking to robots in the very near future. A team of researchers from Cornell, Northwestern and IDC Herzliya have created an interesting simulator, which is supposed to give people emotional support while they are preparing to date a new romantic partner.

The study, titled ” What robots can teach us about intimacy”, has discovered that humans may ascribe social intentions to robots, using them as a source of security. Who would have thought about that?

The participants shared their dating experiences with Travis, a robot with a height of a… foot! Researchers have instructed the robot to encourage some of the subjects and discourage others.

Then, after talking to the robot, the participants tried to introduce themselves to potential romantic partners. Believe it or not, those who were encouraged by Travis were much more confident! So who needs friends, when you can have a cold robot shoulder to comfort you in times of need?

If this sounds weird to you, just think at the number of people who talk to their pets!


Raybaby, the First Non-Contact Health and Sleep Monitor in the World

Raybaby is a Kickstarter project that has gathered about three times more money than requested, so it will hopefully see the light of the day soon – this September, according to its makers.

It’s a gadget that can monitor the way your baby breaths, and it makes use of a camera that can detect any movements and alerts the parents right away, by making use of their smartphones.

Raybaby has an accuracy of close to 99%, so (hopefully) parents won’t get too many false alarms. It can detect even tiny infant movements within a range of 15 feet.

The gadget is quite small, and it can be placed in the nursery on a shelf. It can also be mounted on a wall, and even tied to the baby’s bed. An FDA study shows that the performance of Raybaby is similar with the one provided by the much more expensive monitoring systems that are used in hospitals.

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