Category Archives: Computers & Peripherals

What You Need to Know Before Buying Refurbished Computers

 Refurbished ComputerIs buying a brand-new computer out of your budget? If so, then buying a refurbished computer is the best budget-friendly solution. These reconditioned PCs or laptops cost 30-50% less compared to a new piece and are also good for the environment. However, many people hesitate in buying refurbished gadgets and electronic accessories because of several misconceptions.

If you’re considering buying a refurbished computer, then go through this blog post. We have addressed these misconceptions and tried to clear the confusion regarding refurbished devices by explaining all the important things you need to know before making the purchase decision.

Meaning of a Refurbished Computer

The common misconception is that a reconditioned computer is second-hand and of poor quality. But, the actual meaning is something different. A refurbished computer generally means the devices can’t be sold as ‘new’. As a result, they are offered for resale at discounted prices. Computers that are returned by a customer, unable to meet the standards and then restored by the manufacturer like the new, come from a cancelled order or rebuilt with new and updated components are considered as refurbished.

Process of Refurbishing

Many people fail to understand what exactly a computer goes through when it is reconditioned. It depends on the manufacturer what a refurbishment process would involve. It generally consists of a factory reset, cleaning and testing of the system. But, if the unit was damaged or faulty, repairs and/or replacement of the damaged component are also involved before the unit is sold. The process can vary depending on who is doing it. So, purchase the computer from the reputable manufacturer or an authorized dealer instead of third-party sellers to ensure that the device has undergone the appropriate level of testing.

Reasons to Buy a Refurbished Computer
Reasons to Buy a Refurbished Computer

  • Choosing a reconditioned computer can save from 20% to 50% of the cost of a brand-new piece. If you have a limited budget, then you go for a ‘like-new’ computer to get all essential features at a comparatively lower cost.

  • You’re assured of the quality of the device as it is tested and cleaned to meet the strict quality standards.

  • You get better performance at the same price as the refurbished computers often come with updated software and operating system to make them like new in appearance and performance.

  • Buying a reconditioned computer is a ‘green option’ as helps in reducing the amount of electronic waste by making the life cycle of devices way longer.

Things to Consider Before Buying a Refurbished Computer

Before you make the decision of purchasing a ‘like-new’ computer, it is important to consider all important aspects related to it.

  • Assess your current and future computing needs before buying to get the right device. If you’re planning to get the computer mostly for surfing the net, storing documents, using social media platforms and reading your mail, then a three-year-old refurbished PC will be good for you. But, if you want to install the latest video editing software or high-end games on the computer, then go through the minimum and recommended system requirements of the refurbished piece.

  • Make sure that you buy the computer from an authorized refurbisher or a certified electronics store that sells reconditioned equipment. If you make the mistake of buying used computers from a flea market, then they are likely to disappoint you with their performance.

  • Go through the warranty and return policy carefully as revamped computers generally don’t offer a two-year warranty, instead, you’ll get up to two-month warranty to cover manufacturing defects. Also, pay attention to the fine print about the seller’s refurbishment process to find out whether it includes testing or not.

  • Not all reconditioned PCs and laptops are good deals so doing some research will help you get an understanding of which model to buy.

Buying a refurbished desktop or laptop involves a little risk compared to a new computer, but it has some perks as well. Whenever you consider buying a reconditioned device, use this guide to consider every important factor and then make the purchase. To learn more about electronic accessories, contact RTC Electronics.

How to Use Wi-Fi Extenders to Improve Your Home Network – Part II

In our previous blog post, we discussed what a Wi-Fi extender is, how it works and the different types of extenders available. In this post, we’ll cover other aspects of Wi-Fi extenders.

How to Set up a Wi-Fi Extender?

Ideally, you should place your Wi-Fi extender in a place that’s mid-distance from your router and the area(s) where signals start to drop. It’s easy to install – you just need to plug it in and press the WPS button on your extender for your router to get connected to the internet.

But note that Wi-Fi extenders also suffer from interference just like routers, therefore, make sure to place it in an area where there is minimum interference.

How to Choose the Right Wi-Fi Extender?

Wi-Fi extenders are a good solution to increase the coverage of Wi-Fi signal, but it should be compatible with your Wi-Fi standard. Make sure to check the standard of your router first to avoid compatibility issues. If you wish to get the latest standard Wi-Fi extender, you’ll need to replace your router with a new compatible one. Also note that if you’ve got a dual band router, it’s better to opt for a dual band Wi-Fi extender.

For a higher level of security, select an extender that comes with the latest version of WPS (Wi-Fi Protected Setup) which requires the user to physically switch on the button. This means that a third party can’t intrude or steal your signal.

You can also look for extenders with one or more Ethernet ports. This will enable you to use wired devices which offer better speed. Some Wi-Fi extenders also offer audio streaming.

Best Wi-Fi Extender under $65

There are several Wi-Fi extenders available in the market in different price ranges. If you’re looking for a quality Wi-Fi extender within a budget of $65, then TP Link 300 Mbps Wireless N Access Point TL-WA901ND is a good choice for home networks.

It provides 300 Mbps transmission rate for a smooth 802.11n experience. With multiple protection measures, this device also ensures complete data privacy. This Wi-Fi extender is also equipped with smart antenna technology to overcome interference and weakened signal, even through physical barriers.

With multiple wireless modes like Access Point, Bridge with AP, Client, Multi SSID, you can use various wireless applications and get a more dynamic experience. You can power the wireless extender with an Ethernet cable, meaning that you can place the access point in a position that gives you the best signal. Check out all the features and specifications of the TP Link 300 Mbps  Wireless N Access Point TL-WA901ND before you make your purchase decision.

Although it’s not necessary to get a Wi-Fi extender from the same brand as your router, it does usually result in better performance. Make sure to get the latest firmware updates for both your router and the extender before connecting them.

How to Use Wi-Fi Extenders to Improve Your Home Network – Part I

Wi-Fi extenders

We’ve all experienced a Wi-Fi dead spot in some part of our home. While in other rooms a moderate to full signal is available, the Wi-Fi simply doesn’t seem to exist in these places. If troubleshooting efforts fail to improve your Wi-Fi connection, then it’s time to invest in a Wi-Fi extender to boost your home network performance.

In this blog post, we’ll discuss what Wi-Fi extenders are, the types available and how they work to improve the range of your Wi-Fi signal.

What is a Wi-Fi Extender?

A Wi-Fi extender (also known as a range extender and Wi-Fi repeater) is a device used to fix Wi-Fi dead spots. They improve the range of the wireless signal throughout your home by remedying connection problems.

How does it Work?

Wi-Fi routers mainly have two frequency ranges. The 802.11b and 802.11g routers use the spectrum of 2.4 GHz and the latest 802.11ac routers use the 5 GHz band. The 802.11n routers use both spectrums to transmit signals. A Wi-Fi signal can travel a certain distance without obstruction. In modern buildings, there are a lot of obstructions to weaken your wireless signal. If you aren’t sure what hampers the reach of your wireless network, then read about it here.

When you place a Wi-Fi extender in your home, it connects with the router wirelessly and captures the router signal to rebroadcast it into a stronger signal. As a result, it transmits the stronger signals from its location to the areas of your home where the Wi-Fi signal is weak or not reachable.

Simply put, Wi-Fi extenders expand the physical range of the Wireless LAN and amplify the existing signal.

What are the Types of Wi-Fi Extenders?

There are two types of range extenders available.

  • Repeaters: These devices have antennas for receiving Wi-Fi signals and rebroadcasting them. They have their own broadcasting capacity by which they extend the home network signal when placed within range of the wireless router. 
  • Wireless Bridges: These are devices that connect multiple wired computers and provide them access to an existing Wi-Fi network without actually extending the range of the signal.

In the next blog, we’ll discuss how to set up or place Wi-Fi extenders and how to choose the right Wi-Fi extenders for your home. We’ll also cover the best buy under $65 if you’re on a limited budget.

4 Things That Interfere with Your Wi-Fi Signal at Home

It’s common to find at least one specific corner of your home where you experience poor Wi-Fi signal. No matter how much you experiment with the position and placement of your router, it simply doesn’t seem to work. There are several reasons that can cause interference with your Wi-Fi signal. In this blog, we’ve listed four common things that can hamper your Wi-Fi performance and how to fix it.

1. Physical Barriers

The construction of the building can be a cause of Wi-Fi interference. The more walls and objects a Wi-Fi signal has to pass through, the poorer will be the connection. Some materials that cause interference are:

Mirror, Metal, Concrete: These three materials cause the highest Wi-Fi interference. There isn’t much you can do about them except positioning your router in a way to have an uninterrupted line of sight with your device(s).

Bricks, Marble, Water: These three materials have a medium effect on your Wi-Fi signal. Although you can’t fix brick walls, you can control some of the interference caused by marble and water. Most countertops are made from marble, especially in the kitchen and other living spaces. Avoid placing your router anywhere near your kitchen or other areas that have marble.

Similarly, if you have a fish tank or aquarium placed anywhere that forms a hindrance between your router and your device(s), you’ll get poor signal. Water can potentially block your Wi-Fi signal. Also remember that our bodies are made up of 70% water, meaning if you sit or stand directly between your router and device, there will be a signal drop.

Glass, Wood, Plaster: They cause a low level of interference with your network. But you’ll always do better if you have less of these materials in the line of sight of your device(s) and router. Also, make sure not to place your router in a cabinet made of glass or wood or other materials. It’ll put an extra layer of interference between your router and device.

2. Other Wi-Fi Networks

It might be surprising, but it’s a fact that your neighbours’ Wi-Fi networks are one of the major causes of interference, especially those that use 2.4 GHz band. If you live in an apartment or a busy area, it’s a common occurrence. However, you can easily fix this problem by upgrading to a router that uses 5 GHz band.

3. Electrical Appliances

Electrical appliances such as microwaves, cordless phones, wireless monitors, older Bluetooth devices and a poorly wired satellite dish can all affect your Wi-Fi signal. However, not these appliances interfere. Electronics that use 2.4 GHz spectrum are mainly responsible for the hindrance, especially if you’re using 802.11g and 802.11 n routers. The latest Bluetooth devices don’t hamper your Wi-Fi performance.

4. Security Settings

If you’ve got an old router (with WEP protection) for your home network, a stronger security setting can also moderately affect the performance of your Wi-Fi. This is common with low-end routers. While WPA/WPA2 (an upgrade of WEP) may have some effect on the Wi-Fi performance, you should never consider disabling security settings or downgrade to a weaker security setting. More recent security technologies like WPS in a router are designed in such a way that they don’t slow your Wi-Fi speed. Even the latest routers with WPA/WPA2 security encryptions are now designed with special hardware that has no adverse effects on your Wi-Fi.

To get the best Wi-Fi performance, switch to an 802.11ac dual-band router and place it where it’s almost free of these hindrances. Although Wi-Fi is still not as fast and free of interference as a wired connection, the latest innovations have been making strides to close the gap between their performances.

What’s the Best Wireless USB Adapter under $25?

A fast internet connection is an absolute necessity these days. To ensure good internet connectivity on your home network, you’ll need a good modem and router. A strong wireless USB adapter is also essential.  However, not all Wi-Fi USB adapters are same and there are hundreds of adapters available. There are different types of adapters for different types of users. So let’s go over some basics.

What are Wireless USB Adapters and how do they Work?

A computer, or any other device with online capabilities, needs an internal or external wireless adapter to connect to a wireless network. USB Wi-Fi adapters are the external options that are most commonly used. These adapters don’t require special SIM cards or dedicated service providers like satellite USB modems and broadband to connect to wireless networks.

To install a wireless USB adapter, you need to plug it into your computer’s USB port and install the driver and software. These days, Windows and Mac OS/iOS are come equipped with driver software that recognizes an extensive range of USB adapters from different manufacturers.  Microsoft’s generic drivers can support almost all adapters. Once installed, your computer gets connected to an access point of a wireless network.

The Best Wireless USB Adapter under $25

In this price range, TP-Link Wireless N300 USB Adapter TL-WN821N is one of the most popular USB adapters available. It offers a speed of 300 Mbps that’s ideal for HD video streaming, internet calling, and online gaming. It also complies with all common types of Wi-Fi standards – Wireless B, G, and N.

This adapter has several other important features –

  • It uses MIMO (Multiple Input, Multiple Output) technology which is an antenna technology providing optimized performance, data speed, coverage, and stability.
  • It employs CCA (Clear Channel Assessment) technology that uses its feature of channel selection to avoid channel conflicts.
  • It supports 64/128-bit WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy) encryptions, WPA/WPA2 (Wi-Fi Protected Access) and WPA-PSK/WPA2-PSK (Pre Shared Key) encryptions.
  • It comes with a QSS (Quick Secure Setup) feature that allows users to setup wireless security easily and quickly just at the push of a WPS button.
  • It enables the establishment of high-speed Wi-Fi hotspot with just a few clicks.
  • It supports both ad-hoc (“peer to peer”) and infrastructure wireless modes. Through ad-hoc mode, you can connect devices on the wireless network directly to each other. Infrastructure mode connects devices on the wireless network to each other through a centralized access point.
  • It supports Windows XP/Vista/7/8/8.1, MAC OS X 10.7~10.10, and Linux operating systems.

These external gears from TP-Link are easy-to-install, highly functional, well documented and flexible. These qualities keep this TP-Link Wireless N USB Adapter TL-WN821N ahead of most of its competitors for this price range.

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