Trading is all about the bottom line. And getting the best possible equipment for your trading setup has a direct affect on your bottom line.
In my last post, I talked about the different Wi-Fi standards, including expected speed, frequency, and signal distance.
We saw that Wi-Fi 4 (802.11n) operates at considerably slower speeds than Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac). Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) is the fastest, but isn’t available yet.
While that last post may be more tech talk that you normally care for, if you have to trade over a Wi-Fi connection, a little understanding of the tech can be crucial.
In today’s post, we’ll talk about what to look for when buying the components of your wireless system. Hint: it’s about more than just the router.
Maybe You Need a Booster
What if you have a Wi-Fi 4 router, but even the 2.4 GHz band isn’t getting a strong signal to the nether reaches of your house?
Just going to a higher speed and frequency (i.e., Wi-Fi 5 and 5 GHz) won’t necessarily help. The higher frequency cannot penetrate solid objects like walls and floors. And ceramic tile is the worst.
Before you spring for a new Wi-Fi 5 router, you may want to try a relatively inexpensive Wi-Fi booster (aka powerline adapter or extender).
These small devices capture and amplify the wireless signal coming from your router. By amplifying the signal, you’ll increase your network’s overall Wi-Fi coverage.
On the other hand, if you’re really ready to trade up to the much faster speeds of Wi-Fi 5, you may want to buy both a new Wi-Fi 5 router and a Wi-Fi 5 booster.
Look for Dual Bands
Many routers and boosters come with the ability to communicate at both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz. These so-called “dual band” routers may be either Wi-Fi 4 or Wi-Fi 5. You may have to look closely to tell which is which.
A Wi-Fi 4 dual band router is sending signal under the 802.11n standard from both bandwidths. In other words, the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz signals are both operating at the lower Wi-Fi 4 speeds (up to 600 Mbps).
A Wi-Fi 5 dual band router still sends the 2.4 GHz signal at the lower Wi-Fi 4 speed. But the higher-frequency 5 GHz signal is sent at the higher Wi-Fi 5 speed (up to 1300 Mbps).
The dual bands (and dual specifications) in the Wi-Fi 5 router allow it to work with older devices, while supplying the best possible performance to newer devices.
To know the highest standard a given router is operating under, you can usually look for “N” or “AC” in the model number. But to be certain, you may need to take a look at the specifications on the manufacturer’s website.
Check Your Computer’s Wi-Fi Adapter
Ponying up for an expensive new Wi-Fi 5 router won’t do you a bit of good if your trading computer can only receive Wi-Fi 4 signal.
If you’re trading over Wi-Fi, make sure your computer has a Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac) adapter.
To check what’s under the hood, navigate to Control Panel > Device Manager > Network Adapters. You’re likely to see one of these designations:
- Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 3160 (Wi-Fi 5 delivering up to 433 Mbps)
- Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 7260 (Wi-Fi 5 delivering up to 867 Mbps)
But if you see a model with an “N” in the name instead, your speed is limited to Wi-Fi 4 levels.
Most traders are going to want to go for routers and trading computers with Wi-Fi 5 because of the faster speed.
If you’re in the market for a new router, getting a Wi-Fi 5 router with dual bands is the smartest option.
Also consider the distance and the number of walls between your router and your trading computer or Wi-Fi device. You’re going to get increased disruption as you move away from the router. A strategically placed booster can make a big difference.
As with any technology, there is a trade-off between cost and performance. But given the impact of speed and reliable connections on stock trading, it’s not difficult to justify having a Wi-Fi 5 system.
The important thing is to know your options so you can make an informed decision.
Remember, we are here to help with all your technology-related questions. If you think of additional questions about computer hardware or other questions, give me a call. My team and I are here to help. We’re happy to answer any of your questions about trading computers via phone: 800-387-5250.
Photo by Isaac Jenks on Unsplash.