Moving your technology to your new home doesn’t have to be as stressful as you fear. If you keep the process organized and do a little “new-home homework” before you move, you can get yourself set up relatively efficiently. Here’s a suggested checklist to follow:
What TV/internet service is available?
Some apartment or condominium communities allow you to contract with you own provider, such as Comcast, AT&T, Charter, Google, DirecTV, etc. to deliver TV and internet service. Your choices likely would be no different than they are where you live now.
Other communities and senior residences may have arrangements with a carrier to deliver TV and internet. If that’s the case, your choices may be limited — but you shouldn’t face an overwhelming array of decisions. Still, you should find out if the “house provider” has already installed hookups for your TVs and hardwired access for a computer and a Wi-Fi network.
Also make sure that those access points can be activated without any additional installation work, and you might want to see how their locations will affect your furniture arrangements. Personally, it’s not something I worry about very much, but it may be important to you.
You should also find out if a Wi-Fi network is available within your living space and what its capacity is. In my experience, many networks are not capable of supporting streaming and other functions on TVs, laptop computers, mobile devices and other internet-based devices. You may need to have your internet service upgraded to support everything you want or need to use — which brings us to the next item on the checklist.
What are your priorities for using your TV/internet service?
These will determine how much service — or the service speed — you’ll need to have. Everything will come in through the same connection. It’s just a matter of getting the service level you need. The most common uses for TV/internet service are:
- Watching TV (obviously)
- Connecting your computer (or multiple computers) to the internet for entertainment, transactions such as shopping and banking, and checking email
- Using mobile devices such as phones, tablets and e-book readers on Wi-Fi networks instead of cellular service
Beyond these basics, you might be one of the growing number of people using smart speakers — like Amazon Echo (sometimes known as Alexa), Google Home and others — or a device that alerts others if you have a fall or an emergency. You may also be using a Wi-Fi network to replace or supplement cable TV, and you may be using that network with several devices, all at the same time. This leads to your next — and final — checklist item.
How powerful a Wi-Fi network will you need?
The answer depends on what you’ll be using your network for. Here are some guidelines:
- Check email and browse the web: 1-5 Mbps (megabits per second) minimum
- Stream HD content: 15-25 Mbps minimum
- Stream 4K content and play competitive online games: 40-100 Mbps minimum
- Stream 4K content, play online games and download very large files: 200+ Mbps minimum
- How many devices are active simultaneously also affect what you need.
To put this in perspective, unless you’re an online gamer or have a frequent visitor who is, you won’t need 200 Mbps service. If you do have one or more smart TVs with 4K picture quality that you use to stream TV content, you might want to look at 100 Mbps service as a minimum. With one TV, you can go lower.
If you use your cable TV service for delivering Netflix, Amazon or another source of content associated with the internet, you can back off the Wi-Fi capacity and take advantage of the cable capacity. For email and web browsing plus some HD streaming to a laptop or mobile device, 10-25 Mbps might be a good level.
you can always change your service level — providers are always happy to increase it — because you’ll use the same pipeline to bring it in.
Once you’ve determined your TV/internet service needs and you know what’s available to meet them, arrange to have everything set up before you move in or within a few days of moving. You should also consider getting professional help to set up your network and make sure all your devices connect to it properly for full security and fastest possible speed. It will help you settle in more comfortably.
Photos and illustrations courtesy of Pixabay.