In today’s computer age, chances are good that your home has WiFi. And, if your home is like many—with people trying to stream movies, work on their laptops, play video games and do many other things at the same time—chances are also good that your WiFi can be on the slow side.
Fortunately, having a sluggish WiFi connection does not have to be inevitable. In fact, the following hacks will teach you how to fix slow WiFi—in many cases, without having to shell out for a new router or package:
Separate Your Router and Other Appliances
Routers typically operate on one of two channels: a slower but steady 2.4GHz and a quicker 5GHz. Many of the other wireless devices in your home probably also operate on the 2.4GHz frequency, which means your WiFi signal can easily be disrupted. This includes common gadgets like baby monitors, cordless phones and smart fridges. To make sure the matching WiFi strengths won’t interfere with each other, keep your microwave oven at least 40 feet away from your in-home WiFi device, baby monitors 20 to 40 feet away, cordless phones 20 to 30 feet apart, and Bluetooth devices about 20 feet away from the router. If you wish, you can also think about upgrading to a dual band WiFi; this way, if there are a lot of devices close by that are using the 2.4GHz channel, the WiFi modem will automatically upgrade to the higher 5GHz.
Remember that the Internet, Like Freeways, Have Rush Hours
In general, 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. is an “internet rush hour” of sorts—well, four hours to be exact. To help prevent slow downloads and issues with streaming services, try to download whatever content you need either before or after these times. You can also plug stationary devices like a desktop computer and gaming console directly into the router to help get better bandwidth for your mobile devices. You may also install a browser extension that will block ads and videos that can slow down your WiFi; the simple act of getting rid of unwanted ads alone should really make a tangible difference in improving your WiFi connection.
Be Mindful of Where You Place Your Router
In addition to placing your WiFi connection a certain distance from a number of devices in your home, you should also think about what might be blocking the signal from the router to the TV, computer or other tech device. For example, big pieces of furniture, fish tanks, mirrors and other objects can cause the signal to go astray between the WiFi connection and its intended target. Whenever you can, keep the areas open between the router and your devices and be especially mindful of mirrors and metal blinds, whose reflective properties may cause the WiFi signal to deflect from your router.
If All Else Fails, Consider Upgrading Your Router
Hopefully, the aforementioned trio of tips will help make your WiFi run faster and smoother. But if you have moved the fish tank, scheduled most of your WiFi use in the morning, and have the microwave at least 40 feet away and things are still crawling along, it might be time to upgrade your router. If your router is an older 802.11g or 802.11n model, you should really see a difference with an upgrade to the latest 802.11ac WiFi model. Upgrading your router, along with the three tips, should make a drastic difference in your WiFi signal.
Here’s to a Speedier WiFi Signal
If you use your WiFi quite a bit, and again, most households do, you don’t have to tear your hair out in frustration over a slow connection. Give these tips a try and be very mindful of where everything is placed in your home—that alone should really help. Then, if you are still getting slow service, you may have to invest in a new router, but only as a last resort.