It is going to be yet another big year in the gaming market, as once again Sony and Microsoft battle it out to see which product comes top of everyone's Christmas list. November will see the release of two new consoles from the gaming powerhouses; Sony's PS4 and Microsoft's Xbox One.
The consoles are set to be two of the 'must-have' gifts for both adults and children alike this Christmas, meaning thousands of homes are about to add more devices to their already bustling line up. With the popularity of online gaming at its peak, many will be looking forward to a seamless gaming experience over the Christmas period - free of stuttered play and lag time. However, with more and more bandwidth-hungry gadgets taking pride of place in the home today, such a problem-free blast on the new console is by no means a given - in fact it is heavily dependent on having the right networking kit in place.
Picture the scene, its Christmas day and you are all set up and ready to go on your brand new console, the excitement is building as you wait for it to fire up...and you're still waiting. You finally get to start playing Call of Duty and you're just about to shoot your first enemy, when suddenly your character stutters, freezes, then gets killed, because in this game the microseconds count. The problem here is that all of the gadgets in your home which connect to the internet (from smartphones to smart TVs) are fighting for bandwidth - and your shiny new console has lost the battle.
To avoid disappointment this Christmas, the key is to first get your home's 'bandwidth backbone' in place:
1. Invest in a router that offers stand out WiFi speeds, reliability and range. This will boost and maximise connectivity, meaning at no point it is hampered. Opting for a model that supports the latest AC wireless standard will give you the best possible performance, allowing you to run all your devices to their highest capabilities.
2. If you feel your home connection is slow, consider products that will improve your network performance. For example, if there are areas in your home where the WiFi signal cannot reach, consider a range extender or Powerline adapter. A range extender will - as the name suggests - extend your WiFi connection to cover the whole house. These small boxes simply plug into an electrical socket in the house and use their antennas to boost the range of your wireless network. Alternatively, a Powerline adapter would be an ideal solution to improve the gaming experience. These clever devices convert any electrical outlet in the home into a high speed network connection. You simply just need to connect one adapter to your router and plug it into an electrical socket, and then put the second into an electrical socket in the room you are struggling to receive WiFi signal in, before connecting it to - in this case - the console in question. Internet connection and performance will be improved, making annoying buffering hold-ups a thing of the past.
The likelihood is, while you want to play on your new console, your mum's watching Home Alone on Netflix, and your sister's streaming music with her new iTunes voucher. A networking device may not be the most traditional Christmas decoration, but it will certainly help you have a merry Christmas.