WiFi can be an unstable thing. You may be enjoying a perfectly strong WiFi signal, move just a few steps in one direction, and watch it drop to one bar. You know how frustrating it is to not be able to use the Wi-Fi you paid for. Your wireless internet router signal may be the reason. Not to worry, there are ways you can boost your Wi-Fi speed and signal, to make sure you’re getting the most from your router and optimizing your Internet experience.
1. Place Your Router in An Optimal Location
Too many people overlook router placement when they’re setting up a network. Recent Wi-Fi mapping tests have confirmed that the router should be placed in the center of the residence for the best connection speeds. Your Wi-Fi signal can be blocked by thick walls, furniture, doors, mirrors, microwaves, or even a stack of books, so keep the router in a high spot, away from obstructions and other electronics.
2. Reboot & Restart Regularly
Just like a computer slows down when managing a lot of demanding programs, a router can experience a similar problem when a lot of devices are connected. Before you start digging deeper into mechanical issues, try rebooting the device. A full restart can refresh the software within the router, allowing it to resync its processes and eliminate any delays.
3. Change the Channel
Wi-Fi signal is divided into channels. Your router uses a particular Wi-Fi channel to communicate with the devices around your home, and if you have neighbors living very close who have routers using the same Wi-Fi channel, then everything can get congested quickly. Switching to a different channel can solve this problem.
Think of the channels as individual lanes down a single highway. The lanes with most cars are going to move slower than the lanes with fewer cars. Most routers automatically choose a default channel and when everyone is on those same default channels with you, you’ll run into more interference than if you switched to a channel that’s not as widely used.
If you’re curious about which channels have less traffic, there are various programs that can scan nearby networks for you. Once you’ve found an option with fewer users, you can log in to your router’s web interface controls and switch to the more open channel
4. Move the Antennas
Those two or three antennas sticking out the top of your router are not just there to look good. They can actually improve your Internet signal strength. For best results, put the antennas perpendicular to each other, with one facing vertical and the other horizontal.
5. Set A Strong Password
Because routers broadcast a wide Wi-Fi signal, any device in range could hypothetically access your network. Luckily, you can prevent bandwidth leeches by setting complex passwords on both the router and the Wi-Fi network. To change your router password, open a web browser, and enter your router’s IP address. You’ll be prompted to log in, at which point you can enter the username and password found on the bottom of your router. If you can’t find the password, default login information is easily found online. After you’ve logged in, follow the prompts to change the password to a more secure key or phrase. Once you’ve adjusted your router login information, set up a secure Wi-Fi network. Take care to choose WPA2 as the encryption method and use a unique, hard-to-guess password here as well.
6. Use A Wired Connection
A wired connection to your router is usually preferable to a wireless one. It’s faster and more stable, and can’t be affected by other devices or large fish tanks.
Wireless connections tend to be more unreliable than wired ones, so if your Wi-Fi connection keeps breaking up, try plugging your device directly into the router. For this to work, you’ll need a device with an Ethernet port, like a desktop or laptop computer, and an Ethernet cable. Plug one end of the cable into your router and the other end into your device. As long as you have the right drivers installed, you should see some notable improvements in both speed and reliability.
7. Upgrade Your Old Router
Routers vary significantly in functionality and price, but in this case, the upgrade to make is generally in terms of how far your Wi-Fi is broadcast. If you have a large house, you’re likely better off with a router that can pair with “repeaters” that broadcast signal into the furthest reaches of your home. Smaller homes and apartments can generally get by with a simpler system.
A router from 2006 is not going to be able to handle an Internet connection in 2016. Decade-old equipment and in some cases, equipment in the last five years, can’t keep up with the ever-evolving Internet. Check the model specifications on the bottom of your router, then compare them to your Internet package. If your old router can’t handle the bandwidth you’re paying for, you’ll need to upgrade.
8. Run A Speed Test
If you’ve tried the above tips and are still dealing with connectivity issues, your router may not be the problem. Try measuring your Internet speed to discover if something else is causing a delay. To do this, first determine the speed you’re paying for by logging into your provider’s website or calling the company directly. Then, conduct a free speed test online several times over the course of a month and at different times of day to get a good idea of your average speeds. If the results differ drastically from the plan you’re subscribed to, there may be something wrong on your provider’s end. If the results are the same, you might need to choose a new plan with higher bandwidth.
You need fast Internet to keep up with the evolving world of connected technology, Follow the above tips to maximize your services.