Even the difficulty of watching a couple of videos on streaming services can leave you frustrated. We’ve provided 10 simple steps below to show you how to improve WiFi connection and enjoy faster speeds, whether or not you’re using one of the best Internet Service Providers (ISPs) on the market.
Reboot Your WiFi Router
The 1st thing to do when your computer, phone, or any other device isn’t working correctly is to restart it. Rebooting your WiFi router clears its cache and enables it to connect to a new IP address, which can perform better and be faster than the previous one. If you don’t wish to reset it manually, you can buy a programmable timer that can automatically restart your modem and router.
Your ISP customer support can also troubleshoot network issues, reset your router remotely, and check the settings on their end to ensure that your router works well.
Upgrade Your Router or Its Firmware
Newer hardware provides access to next-generation wireless technology that can offer better performance and higher bandwidths than the router you’ve had for several years. Sometimes, the router’s internal software—which is called firmware—is not up-to-date, causing pesky bugs, limited functioning, and the potential for a virus attack. Check whether your ISP updates the firmware automatically or if you should do it manually to have your router operating at the proper level.
Find a Central Spot for the Router
Router placement affects the WiFi signal being broadcast, so it’s better to find a central, raised spot away from obstructions. While routers may not match your home decor, the less obstruction, the better. Avoid placing it on the floor, in cabinets or drawers, or behind TVs, picture frames, or other metal or electronic equipment. If you’re in a 2-story building, make sure the router is high up on top of a shelf near the ceiling on the first floor.
Wired connections offer faster and more reliable internet connections than wireless ones. Ethernet cables can transfer data faster because there’s less interference in the signal, and it doesn’t have to encrypt data in transit. It’s better to use Ethernet cables when you are close to the router. Otherwise, you’ll need to get creative on where to place longer cable lines in your home.
Check Your Antennas
Some routers come with external, omnidirectional antennas, spreading the WiFi signal throughout the building. Walls, metallic objects, or other devices can prevent the signal from reaching your devices, meaning you have to find another way to get the signal through. High-gain antennas can solve this issue, enabling you to turn the antenna in the direction where you need a connection.
If your computer’s network adapter is not working—which is crucial for connecting to your router—replace it with a USB wireless network adapter with an external antenna. Even though a wireless repeater is usually recommended to rebroadcast wireless signals and bridge the distance between your router’s signal and the connecting devices, it may slow down your internet speed. A better alternative is to get a wireless booster because it amplifies the signal before broadcasting it to the connecting device.
Control the Bandwidth and Limit Family Use
Your internet connection might frustrate you due to buffering or having many device connections slowing down your speed. One option is to select ISPs such as Xfinity Internet that offer fast, reliable speeds and TV streaming services bundles. Xfinity also provides parental controls, enabling you to manage and limit your children’s online activities, thereby freeing up the bandwidth.
A second solution is to set bandwidth allowances for your top-priority online activities. For example, you can set greater bandwidth speed allowances for downloads over streaming services. Even though Virtual Private Network (VPN) software is essential, consider turning it off if it affects your internet bandwidth.
You can control your bandwidth by checking the Quality of Service (QoS) settings, which are accessible through the router’s administrator interface. Open the admin interface by typing the router’s IP address on your browser and type your WiFi username and password, unless you created new admin login details. If the IP address is not listed, open your PC’s command prompt, type ipconfig, and press Enter. It will list your IP address, which you can then copy and follow the above instructions.
Reduce Interference That Affects Signal Strength
Nearby wireless devices like speakers, TVs, baby monitors, smart thermostats, microwave ovens, and anything transmitting a signal may cause interference and disrupt the WiFi’s signal. Modern-day routers use dual-band technology—2.4 or 5 GigaHertz (GHz) spectrums—and you can switch from one band to another. 5GHz has a faster connection but is more limited by distance and obstructions, whereas 2.4GHz is better for older devices and for range.
Since 5GHz is rarely used, switching to the frequency may reduce the signal interference from other devices, which can use lower frequencies. To make the change, go to the router’s admin page and change the settings from Auto to 5GHz.
In addition, each frequency has multiple channels. Most of your area may be on the same channel by default, so you should switch your channel to get to a less-congested one through the router’s admin interface. You can find which channels have a lot of traffic by checking your settings, or you can use a WiFi analyzer mobile app.
Choose a Different Internet Service Provider
Slow and poor internet and WiFi connections are not always a result of obstruction, interference, or aging routers. You may have an ISP subscription plan that only offers lower speeds or applies data caps if you exceed your bandwidth.
To check your current upload and download speeds, use sites like speedtest.net or Fast.com. If the speed listed on those sites doesn’t match the speed and data caps offered in your subscription package, contact your ISP and ask for suggestions to improve your speed. If the issue is severe enough, the ISP can send a technician to review your router and other connected hardware to uncover the problem.
If you still feel the service doesn’t meet your needs, choose a different ISP. Some ISPs, such as Verizon 5G Home, don’t have data caps and don’t throttle internet speeds.
Boost Your Signal
Even with newer routers such as the 802.11ac routers, the signal may struggle to reach other parts of the house. That’s because you’re out of range of the WiFi signal or there are obstructions preventing the signal from reaching your device.
Wireless boosters such as range extenders work well for big houses and repeat a signal to blackspots in your home. For more comprehensive coverage, get a WiFi mesh system, which is a network of connected units—also known as nodes—that work together to broadcast a wireless signal from your router to a device.
Consider placing the mesh units in ideal places to boost transmission. The main node is connected to the router using an Ethernet cable. All the subsequent nodes are then set within range of each other, preferably in a central part of the room or connected to electrical outlets.
Manage and Update Your Devices
Stop apps and software updates from operating in the background on your devices because they can slow down your internet speed. For example, backup software is constantly uploading data and may take a chunk of your internet upload speed.
Update your browser and clear your cache to enable your device to run seamlessly and store new websites and image shortcuts.
Secure Your WiFi Network
An unprotected WiFi network can be the cause of your poor internet connection and WiFi signals. For example, someone could be hijacking your internet for their own use to download large files. This is risky, as it can cause data loss, virus infections, and legal jeopardy if someone does something illegal using your WiFi. Check the devices connected to your network using a WiFi scanner app like Netspotapp to uncover if anyone is piggybacking on your internet.
Change your passwords and use a strong password on the WiFi Protected Access 2 (WPA2) security protocol. Your password should be a minimum of 8 characters, with a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, special characters, and numbers. Changing your login details means you’ll have to re-register many of your devices, but at least you’ll know your network is secure.
Improving your internet connection and WiFi signal will make a big difference to your browsing and entertainment needs for personal and professional use. Make sure you’re subscribed to the ideal ISP service on the market that suits your needs. Upgrade your router and modem hardware, ensure the firmware is always up-to-date, and perform occasional reboots to refresh your device connections.
Place your router in suitable locations away from obstructions, position external antennas correctly, and use WiFi boosters where necessary to improve the signal. Control the bandwidth on your router and limit access to people and outsiders to secure your network for better functionality. If all else fails, contact your ISP for solutions you might not have thought of.