In today’s fast-paced, ever-changing world, a quick, seamless Wi-Fi connection makes all the difference. A smooth Wi-Fi experience means video games can be played, music streamed and work done quickly. Improving your Wi-Fi connection can be a quick, easy and low-cost endeavor with a high payoff — it just takes a little bit of knowledge and willingness to troubleshoot. Here are five easy-to-take steps toward a faster, smoother Wi-Fi experience that lets you live your online, internet-connected life without a hitch.
1. Move Your Router
Whether you’re working from a laptop, desktop or mobile phone, when at home, your router’s location plays a big part in the quality and speed of your Wi-Fi connection. The ideal location for your router is in the middle of your home in an open, unenclosed spot high above the ground and free from obstruction.
2. Change the Channel
A fact unknown by many everyday internet users: Every router, like your television or radio, can be set to one of several different channels. In the United States, the FCC allows the use of 11 unique channels for the frequently used 2.4 GHz band. When your router was first set up, it likely paired automatically with one of the more commonly used channels such as Channel 1, 6 or 11, which don’t overlap with other channels due to limited spectrum space.
Of these nonoverlapping channels, you want to ensure your router is paired with the one used by the fewest other networks. Neighbors with networks on the same channel can cause interference. To find out if your router’s channel is cluttered by others’ use and to change the channel, go to the wireless or WLAN section of your router’s website using your IP address.
3. Boost Your Frequency
Similar to the multiple channel options that come with routers, many modern routers have two frequency settings as determined by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers — 2.4GHz and 5GHz. If your router automatically connects to the 2.4 GHz frequency, it may be worth changing it manually to connect to the 5 GHz setting. This frequency allows for higher speeds at closer proximity but may not reach as far in distance as the 2.4GHz frequency.
4. Update Your Firmware
As with your phone, tablet or computer, your router’s firmware may require periodic updates to stay in the best shape. If you want to improve the Wi-Fi with an older router, check to see if it’s due (or overdue) for an update. Often you can find out easily by simply turning the router off and rebooting it. In addition to helping improve your Wi-Fi speed and the ability of your router to send and filter signals, updates will help protect it from new viruses and the potential threat of invasive hackers.
5. Invest Some Cash
If you’ve worked through the above four tips and found they didn’t give you the Wi-Fi improvements you were seeking, it may be time to pull out your wallet. A new router, mesh system or taller antenna are three options with different price levels to explore, depending on the current state of your equipment and budget.
By following one or more of these simple tips, you may quickly be on your way to an improved, more reliable Wi-Fi experience. Whether these tips help you make a small change to your Wi-Fi’s settings or location at no cost or you decide to invest in upgraded equipment, your return on investment will more than likely be worth it.