If you’ve been struggling with slow wifi, you’re not alone — it’s a common problem that plagues networks everywhere. When your wifi network is slow and unreliable, it affects everything from internet browsing to video streaming. While there are a number of ways to speed up a home or office network, we’ve put together seven tips for speeding up your wifi connection in the simplest way possible.
Move your router
If you’re using a wireless router, move it to a different location and see if you get a better connection. If you’re using a wired connection, move your computer to a different location and see if you get a better connection. This is the first step to take when you’re trying to troubleshoot a connection problem. The exact cause of a poor internet connection is often difficult to diagnose. When you have great internet speed in one area, you might get the slow down in another. This is because each location operates its own network software, which uses internal towers for speed. Moving around the router can often improve speeds by clearing out some of the internal clutter. For example, in our home, we have a downstairs location that uses its own wireless network and an upstairs location that uses the internet directly.
When we move our computers and phones to a different location, their router software is temporarily configured to use the upstairs network. This clears out some of the internal clutter and speeds up our connection.
Move your router to an upstairs location (or move the computer that’s connected to it) This will clear out a lot of the clutter in your home and might help fix your internet speed problem. Check the signal strength by opening your router’s app and go to “Wireless” under the menu. You’ll probably see a list of nearby wifi networks.
Use this list to find your router’s signal strength by pressing the test button. This will provide a very basic reading but you can use the reading on a larger map to quickly check whether your home network is providing a strong signal. If you don’t see a reading, look at the bottom of the app to see if there’s a name and timestamp associated with the network. If the name is “Unspecified,” that means there isn’t a network with that name. Repeat the process for your other wireless networks so you have a comprehensive list of difficult-to-find networks.
Upgrade your wifi router
You can’t have a great internet connection without a great router. If you’re struggling with your wifi connection, there are a few things you can do to improve it.
- First, make sure your router is placed in the center of your home so that it can cover the whole area.
- Second, if your router supports noisy roaming, turn it off — the router’s WiFi is just a tool for transmitting your internet signals, and the most effective wireless coverage comes from one wire going straight to your modem and the other straight to your router. You can’t put a premium on speed if you don’t have the best router possible. Relative to other routers on the market, Netgear has built a reputation for being among the fastest.
While this may seem like an obvious point, it’s something people sometimes overlook. In particular, consumers often put a great deal of faith in these routers, thinking that if it supports feature X, then it must support feature X, only to find out two weeks later that feature X no longer works. That’s unacceptable, and regardless of what router you get, you never want to buy the cheapest one that supports feature Y — you want to buy a router that meets or exceeds your network’s needs, not falls short. The most important thing a router does is to get your internet connection in order.
But a router doesn’t do anything fancy: it’s there to get you connected to whatever radio or frequencies your network hardware can support. Through the magic of radio spectrum management, routers listen for these requests from your network hardware and manage your connection. If your wireless signal can’t go through, routers will change it to a lower power signal that can transmit over longer distances. This basically means better coverage, but it also means that interference can mess with your devices, especially gaming consoles and gaming amplifiers. To avoid interference issues, buy a router that supports IBSS (802.11.x) — the more interference-stopping features, the better the wireless coverage.
Use a better wifi channel
The wifi signal from your router goes through walls and other obstructions, but if you have a weaker wifi signal in a certain room of your house, you can use a wifi channel extender to improve the wifi signal to that room. “Whenever I can, I try and move my high-wattage receiver into another room,” Thiru in India said. (Thanks, Thiru!) Another option is to find a router that has an auto-join channel, a feature that allows multiple devices (like smartphones) to connect to the same wi-fi channel without requiring manual intervention.
Once you’re done installing your extender, test it out by connecting a smartphone to the extender and browse some websites. Make sure all networks are properly discovered and all devices appear in your network settings. If your internet connection still isn’t fast enough, try reducing the amount of data your devices are using or unplugging them to force your router’s software to prioritize the use of that wi-fi channel.
Upgrade your internet connection
If you’re an online business owner, you will benefit from an internet connection with fast upload and download speeds. If you don’t have access to fast internet, you should ask your internet service provider if it’s possible to upgrade to a faster connection, For example, areas, where the large carriers offer 5G service for a flat monthly rate, may have better connectivity than areas where AT&T and Verizon’s gigabit networks offer similar speeds. An internet speed test can tell you if your internet is fast enough to do what you need it to do, such as using streaming media services.
This speed test can also see if your router is really the bottleneck. An internet speed test identifies where your network is hogging bandwidth and how fast you’re able to move around your network. Many routers have a number of advanced features for optimizing your connection. These advanced features don’t necessarily have to be expensive, but they do take time and expertise to properly set up. If you just want to know how to optimize your home or office internet speed, read on. Using the internet is convenient, but unfortunately, it can also slow down.
If your connection is slow and your computer or device is doing something background that can create a network load, traffic can pile up on your WiFi network, One way to use the internet more efficiently is to avoid overlapping websites. Instead of visiting the same website across your devices, you can set up a unique domain name. For example, you can use testmy.net or example.net to test your website load. Another way to use the internet more efficiently is to limit what devices are connected to your wifi. For example, if you have a laptop and an iPad, you can set up a shared folder on your router that only allows access to the iPad. To add a shared folder to your router, open your router’s app. When the app opens, tap More > Sharing.
Install an ethernet cable to connect to your network
If you want a fast and reliable connection, get an ethernet cable and install it to connect your computer directly to your router. Although wireless connections are convenient, they’re often slower and more prone to interference than ethernet cables. Most home routers connect to the internet using wifi. While wifi is relatively faster than ethernet, it suffers from the same congestion problems. For example, router manufacturers often use auto-tiering, which essentially lowers the available speed of your network as your network becomes congested.
A slower internet connection may make it difficult for you to stream ultra-high-definition video, play online games, or use that hefty 4K monitor. If your wifi signal is so poor, you might have to change your internet service provider (ISP). Many ISPs, like Comcast and AT&T, offer a free 3.0Gb/s (megabit-speed) or 5.0Gb/s (megabit-speed) plan that enables you to stream video, use online games, or browse the internet at blazingly fast speeds. Some routers also have a speed test feature, which shows you how well your internet connection is performing by sending specially-crafted tests to all the devices on your network. Netgear, a well-known brand that offers consumer routers, offers a free 3.0Gb/s plan for its new AC1200 router. Unfortunately, since it only supports auto-tiering, that speed won’t appear on your internet-connected devices.
Although that’s still pretty fast, you’ll still have a much harder time installing streaming apps or playing games. Until Netgear releases a firmware update here in 2022, you won’t get that fast internet connection. If you really need that extra speed, you should step up to a wired connection and downgrade to the company’s less-efficient 2.4GHz network. There are multiple reasons why your internet connection is sluggish and whether your speed testing tools are accurate. Sometimes, your router is experiencing a large range of connection issues — like interference from other nearby networks — which might be caused by your network being too far apart or even because your router is malfunctioning.