Router (computing)

How to Prioritize a Certain Device on Your Google Wi-Fi Network

When you have a large handful of devices connected to your network, it can be difficult to get the speeds you need to play online games or download media. However, with Google Wi-Fi, you can prioritize a device to get the best speeds possible on an otherwise crowded network.

Granted, you can do this on most traditional routers as well, but it’s certainly not as simple and easy as it is using Google Wi-Fi.

Start by opening up the Google Wi-Fi app on your phone and tap on the tab with the settings gear icon and three other circles.

Tap…

How to Set Up the Wink Hub (and Start Adding Devices)

The Wink Hub is yet another smarthome hub that aims to compete with the likes of SmartThings and Insteon in order to create a central device that all of your other smarthome devices can connect to. Here’s how to set it up.

What Is the Wink Hub?

Smarthome hubs act as a central device that connects to your router (thus giving it access to your network and the internet) and then your various other smarthome devices can connect to it, like sensors, smart bulbs, smart outlets, and smart light switches.

Many of these smaller devices communicate using the Z-Wave and ZigBee wireless protocols, which is why a special smarthome hub is necessary in the first place—your router doesn’t support either protocol, so your phone has to communicate with something that sends out Z-Wave or ZigBee signals to your devices.

There are many smarthome hubs on the market, but Wink has one big difference from products like Samsung SmartThings or Insteon. Wink doesn’t make its own sensors, outlets, lights, and more. So whereas SmartThings and Insteon both make their own line of sensors and such to go along with their respective hubs, Wink only makes a hub. This isn’t a problem at all, though, as Wink simply relies on third-party manufacturers to make Z-Wave and ZigBee devices.

For instance, companies like GoControl, Cree, GE, Osram, Leviton, and Lutron all officially make products that can connect to the Wink Hub, and there are hundreds of other devices that can connect to the Wink Hub, even though they may not be officially supported, since Z-Wave and ZigBee are relatively open protocols.

Plus, the Wink Hub supports a ton of other smarthome platforms, even if they already have their own hub. For example, you can link your Philips Hue lights to the Wink app and control them from there (though you’ll still need the separate Hue hub to do so). Wink also supports Nest products, the Ecobee3 thermostat, the Ring Doorbell, Kwikset and Schlage smart locks, and even water heaters and garage door openers from Rheem and Chamberlain, respectively.

The Wink Hub is on its second generation, and the newer hub comes with better Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, as well as improved processing power. This guide will focus on setting up the second-generation Wink Hub (called the Wink Hub 2), but the instructions are nearly the same for either generation.

Setting Up the Hub

Start off by unpacking the Wink Hub, plug it into power, and connect it to your router using the included ethernet cable (plug it into any free ethernet port on the router). You can connect it to your router using Wi-Fi, but it’s best to use ethernet if at all possible.

It will automatically boot up and display a blinking white status light on the front.

Next, download the Wink app on your iOS or Android device.

Open up the app and either log in to an existing Wink account, or hit “Sign Up” to create one.

When you sign up, you’ll need to enter in your name, email address, and create a password.

Once you create your account or…

The Easiest Way to Fix Wi-Fi Issues: Move Your Router (Seriously)

Are there Wi-Fi dead zones in your house? Before you do anything drastic, you might be able to fix it by simply moving your router.

This sounds fake, because Wi-Fi seems like magic—something that can only be made better by wizards who understand its mysterious ways. But Wi-Fi isn’t magic. Your laptop and iPad connect to the Internet using a century old technology: radio waves.

And radio waves have limits. If you drive through a tunnel with the FM radio on, you’ll mostly hear a bunch of static. This is because the signal from the radio tower can’t reach you underground. There are barriers that block the signal.

The same principle applies to your Wi-Fi: barriers between your router and your devices make the signal worse. So the physical placement of your device makes a startlingly big difference in your signal across the house.

Place Your Router in the Center of Your House

If you drop a pebble in a still pond, ripples move out from the impact point in all directions.

That’s more or less how radio waves work: they emanate from a central point, in all directions. Remember this when you place your router: imagine ripples moving out from the router in all directions.

With that in mind, the ideal position for your router should be as close to the middle of your house as possible. If your router is in one far corner of your house, you’re sending most of the “ripples” outside, where they aren’t really doing anything for you; meanwhile, the corner of your house furthest from the router is just picking up diminished ripples (or nothing). Put your router in the middle of the house to get equal coverage everywhere.

And remember to think three dimensionally, too. In a three-story house, it’s probably best to put the router on the second floor, assuming you want good signal on all three stories.

NVIDIA GameStream vs. GeForce Now: What’s the Difference?

When it comes to PC gaming, NVIDIA arguably rules the roost. And in recent years, the company has gone to great lengths to take its gaming presence to the next level with services like GameStream and GeForce Now. The thing is, these services can be kind of confusing for new users, especially when you’re trying to figure out which one best fits your needs.

Before we get into what makes them different, however, let’s take at where they share common ground.

  • Both services stream games to the device in front of you, so it isn’t carrying the heavy resource load.
  • Both services require NVIDIA SHIELD devices.
  • Both services need a 5GHz Wi-Fi router.

That’s about it. Each service has its own set of requirements, too, but we’ll get into that down below.

What Is NVIDIA GameStream?

If you’re a PC gamer with a large collection of games, GameStream is probably the service you’re after. Basically, this allows you to stream your games from a PC to a SHIELD device—be it SHIELD Portable, SHIELD Tablet, or SHIELD TV. That way, your gaming PC is doing all the heavy lifting, but you can play your games on a handheld device or on your TV, even if you’re away from home.

Of course, it’s not entirely that simple, either—you’ll also need a GameStream-compatible GeForce GTX graphics card in the PC doing all the work. Those include:

  • GeForce GTX 1000 series
  • NVIDIA TITAN X
  • GeForce GTX 900 series
  • GeForce GTX 700 series
  • GeForce GTX 600 series
  • GeForce GTX 900M series
  • GeForce GTX 800M series
  • GeForce GTX 700M series

Otherwise, you’ll just need enough horsepower in your PC to push the game, but the odds are you’ve already got that covered if you have a large catalog of games to choose from. The quickest way to know if you meet all the criteria is to install NVIDIA’s GeForce Experience—it’ll let you know if your PC is ready or not. The main thing you’ll want to make sure you have outside of a good gaming PC is a good network—while a 5GHz router is required for streaming over Wi-Fi, ethernet is always going to be a better choice. That’s really only practical if you’re streaming to SHIELD Android TV, though.