Check out these easy suggestions for boosting your router’s wireless signal, extending and optimizing your Wi-Fi coverage, and speeding up your browsing.
Browsing at a snail’s pace, the inability to stream, dropped Wi-Fi signals, and wireless dead zones—all of these issues are aggravating in a world where getting online has become as important as breathing for some. (Okay, so it’s not that critical…but it’s still significant.)
There are a variety of programs available to test the speed of your internet if you believe it has become sluggish. You can also attempt a few ways to troubleshoot your network issues. If standing next to your wireless router is the only way you can get acceptable reception, these easy tips can help you optimize your network.
1. Make sure you have a wired internet connection.
Before you blame the Wi-Fi, double-check that the internet coming into your home is working properly. If your laptop doesn’t have an Ethernet port, use an Ethernet cable to connect it to your modem. If your laptop doesn’t have an Ethernet port, you’ll need a USB to Ethernet adapter.
To find out how fast your internet is, take a speed test. You may need to contact your ISP or change your modem if it does not match the speed on your internet bill. If your speed test and internet bill match, but your internet still seems slow, it may be time to upgrade to a better plan. (When I told my grandma that her Wi-Fi was broken, she thought it was because she was on a 3Mbps connection.)
2. Update the Firmware on Your Router
It’s a good idea to update your router before you start tinkering. Software is always being improved by router manufacturers in order to gain a little more speed. The ease with which you can change your firmware is entirely dependent on the manufacturer and type of your device.
3. Obtain Optimal Router Positioning
The Wi-Fi signal will not be distributed evenly throughout all homes. The truth is that the location of your router has a significant impact on your wireless coverage. Although it may appear reasonable to place the router inside a cabinet and out of the way, or near the window where the cable enters, this is not always the case. Rather than being placed at the far end of your house, the router should be placed in the middle, if feasible, so that its signal may easily reach all four corners.
4. Do You Have a Frequency?
Examine your network’s administrator interface to ensure that it is set up for optimal performance. If you have a dual-band router, switching to the 5GHz band instead of the more popular 2.4GHz band will likely improve throughput.
5. Switch to another channel
Interference is a significant problem, particularly for people who reside in heavily crowded places. Other wireless networks, as well as some cordless phone systems, microwaves, and other electronic equipment, might slow down speeds.
6. Defend Against Wi-Fi Intruders
It’s likely that the issue has nothing to do with Wi-Fi range or interference. You could have an uninvited guest or two piggybacking on your network if your network is open or has a weak password. Your video chats will suffer if your neighbor is downloading numerous 4K movies on your Wi-Fi.
7. Maintain Quality
Like the Netgear menu above, most current routers come with Quality of Service (QoS) features to control the amount of bandwidth that apps utilize. You could, for example, utilize QoS to prioritize video calls over file downloads, ensuring that your connection with Grandma doesn’t drop merely because someone else is downloading a large file from Dropbox. (Yes, their file will take longer, but Grandma comes first.) You can also prioritize different apps at different times of the day using some QoS settings.
8. Get a New Antenna
If your router has an internal antenna, replacing it with an exterior one is a smart idea because the latter sends a better signal. Many router manufacturers sell antennas separately if your router did not come with antennae that you may add on yourself (or if you threw them away long ago).
9. Replace any obsolete hardware.
It’s a good idea to get the most out of your existing equipment, but you can’t expect the best performance if you’re using obsolete technology. With back-end devices, particularly networking hardware, we have a propensity to follow the “if it ain’t busted, don’t fix it” mindset. However, if you bought your router a long time ago, it’s possible that you’re still using the slower 802.11n standard (or God forbid, 802.11g).
10. Extend your Wi-Fi range with a Range Extender or Mesh Wi-Fi
Although some modern routers may have better range than your old beater, you may still be unable to acquire the range you require in many homes. If the network has to cover a bigger area than the router can broadcast to, or if there are a lot of corners to go around and walls to break through, performance will suffer. If none of the previous suggestions work, it’s conceivable that your home is simply too huge for a single router to deliver a strong signal to everyone. You’d need another device to extend your signal in that instance.