Wi-Fi speed and coverage explained

Understanding your Wi-Fi speed and coverage

What is internet and Wi-Fi speed?

Understanding the difference between internet speed and Wi-Fi speed is important. Internet speed is the upload and download speed that is stated on your internet speed plan on your bill — this is what you pay for. Think of internet speed as the “pipe” that enters your home. Once inside the home, all your personal devices that need to access the internet are connected to the modem either via ethernet or Wi-Fi.

Ethernet connected devices perform the best and offer the maximum speed of your internet plan.

For Wi-Fi connected devices, your internet gets distributed and shared amongst all your Wi-Fi personal devices that you use. The Wi-Fi speeds that you can attain depend on various factors that are explained in this article.

What is Wi-Fi coverage?

Wi-Fi coverage is the quality of your signal over a certain distance that enables you to connect your personal devices to the internet seamlessly.

Wi-Fi coverage behaves similarly to music playing from a speaker. The closer you are to the speaker, the better quality and clearer you can hear the music. Like listening to music, your Wi-Fi signal is stronger (and faster) the closer you are to your modem. As you move further away from your modem, Wi-Fi signals lose intensity, which is why the quality of your connection decreases. At some point, you might move far enough that you will simply be out of range and have no Wi-Fi signal at all.

How much coverage is provided?

There is no simple rule to calculate the amount of coverage your modem will offer. For everyday use, like surfing websites, streaming videos or sharing photos, your Wi-Fi network will provide great coverage throughout your home.

The speeds you can achieve within various coverage areas varies with distance from the modem along with other factors.

Your modem will be able to provide coverage throughout your home. On average, maximum speeds and best coverage are achievable within 2000 sq ft* around your modem. As you move into further coverage zones, your speeds will slow down.

As illustrated below, the darkest green coverage zone represents the area that you enjoy the best speeds for applications that require intensive internet connectivity; such as watching high definition and 4K videos on Netflix or YouTube. Further out, you can enjoy standard definition videos, sharing photos and more. Finally, the further out you go (represented by the lightest green coverage zone), you will be able to browse and respond to emails, along with activities that do not require high internet speeds.

The size of each coverage zone depends on your usage and home’s unique characteristics. Here are some of the key factors that impact your Wi-Fi coverage and speeds:

Your surroundings
  • Home construction materials that block Wi-Fi signals
    • E.g. concrete, brick and heated floors
  • Electronic devices that emit interference to your Wi-Fi signals
    • E.g. microwaves, baby monitors and bluetooth speakers
  • Home decorations that reflect or distort Wi-Fi signals
    • E.g. mirrors and fish tanks
Your setup and usage
  • Distance from your modem
    • The closer the better!
  • Location of your modem
    • Off the ground, generally on a table
    • Clear of electronic obstacles
  • Your personal device's age and technology limitations
    • Older smartphones and some newer smart TVs have fewer Wi-Fi antennas
  • Your Internet speed plan
  • Number of devices in your home are using Wi-Fi at the same time

What can you do to improve speed and coverage?

Here are some tips to optimize your coverage:

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* Disclaimer: The 2000 sq ft radius is based on testing conducted in real homes on the TELUS Advanced Wi-Fi modem. Individual results may vary depending on the construction materials of your home, location and configuration of your Wi-Fi modem, location and capabilities of Wi-Fi devices, number of nearby Wi-Fi networks, number of active Wi-Fi devices or other factors. For a description of Wi-Fi performance, please read the Wi-Fi Performance Explained article.

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