Upgrade To Faster Internet
While we hope these tips will do the trick for you, sometimes your internet connection is simply too slow to sustain your internet consumption. If thats the case, youll need to upgrade to a faster internet plan to get better Wi-Fi speeds.
And if youre confused because youre sure youve paid for enough internet speed but your connection still doesnt cut it, that might be because your internet connection doesnt always perform at 100%.
Internet providers advertise speeds up to a certain speedthey dont promise that you will always get those speeds. So even if you have a 100 Mbps plan, you might not always be getting that much bandwidth. In that case, you might need a bit of a buffer, or a speed plan that is actually higher than you think you would need. That way, network slowdowns will still happen but youll probably notice them less.
You can find every internet provider in your area and compare internet speeds and prices by typing your zip in the box below.
Tip #: Change Your Wireless Router Channel
This tip is fully dependent on your wireless router. However, if you live in an apartment or in a dense suburban neighborhood, your wireless interference issues may be because of your neighbors Wi-Fi router.
It may be difficult to determine if this is an issue. However, if you use any wireless device, such as a mobile phone or computer, you can check to see how many wireless signals are in range. The more devices in range, the more likely it is that a neighbors Wi-Fi equipment could be causing issues with yours.
Changing your wireless routers channel will allow it to operate on a slightly different part of the frequency band, clearing up the interference issue. How you go about changing the channel will vary by device and brand. Check your device manual or the manufacturers website to learn how to adjust the channel settings.
Turn An Old Router Into A Wi
Powerline network adapters are almost always the better option to extend your wireless network’s reach. However, they won’t work across separate circuits.
When you need to extend your network and power line network adapters won’t do, the next best option is to put your old router to use and turn it into a wireless bridge. This is rather involved and will usually require you to install custom firmware on your router. Not to mention, the network speeds will be dramatically cut. But it might be the only way — short of running a wire — to get Wi-Fi on the outer limits or your property.
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Best Wifi Mesh Systems
WiFi mesh systems are one of the best ways how to improve WiFi signal strength in large buildings. Here are the top 5 best WiFi mesh systems that you can purchase right now.
- Not Enough Ratings
Googles WiFi mesh system consists of one Nest Wifi router and one or more Wifi points. Even in the most basic configuration, Google Nest Wifi is able to handle up to 200 connected devices and stream multiple 4K videos at a time.
Each Wifi point doubles as a smart speaker powered by Google Assistant, so you gain the ability to play your favorite songs or find answers on the web with natural voice queries. Because this mesh WiFi system is backed by one of the largest tech companies in the world, you can rest assured, knowing that Google wont stop releasing updates for it anytime soon.
- Not Enough Ratings
The Netgear Orbi 6 is a high-end mesh WiFi system designed with ultimate performance in mind. Thanks to its support for the latest generation WiFi 6 technology, it offers 4x increased capacity compared with WiFi 5 and the ability to connect as much as 100 devices at the same time.
Included with the Netgear Orbi 6 is an online threat protection solution called NETGEAR Armor, which can protect all connected devices from the latest malware and send instant alerts to your smartphone or computer to keep you informed. You can conveniently manage your security and WiFi settings using the Orbi app, which is available for Android and iOS devices.
Choose The Placement Of Your Router
One of the most important things you need to consider is the placement of your router. You need to keep it in an open area to avoid furniture and walls from obstructing the signal. Placing it in the middle of the room will also help spread out its coverage. You can also elevate the router or place it on a wall mount. Always make sure to take time to choose the best spot for your router.
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Why Buy When You Can Rent
Many consumers simply accept the model provided by their ISP. But internet companies usually charge a $10 to $12 monthly rental fee for the privilege, which can eclipse the price of a new router within two years.
In addition to providing potential savings, buying your own router gives you far more say in the operation and security of your home WiFi network. Using a simple mobile app, you can set up your router to receive automatic firmware updates. If you have a large family or frequent houseguests, our experts suggest a model that offers robust settings that let you establish parental controls and a guest network to wall folks off from certain websites and private information.
If your router doesn’t come with a companion app, however, instructions on how to update routers vary by brand. For most models, you need to log in through a browser on your computer, using the routers IP address. Here are links on how to update widely used routers: Apple, Asus, D-Link, Linksys, and Netgear.
You may also be able to get security notices via email from your routers manufacturer. To learn how, go to the company websiteyoull probably have to register the device.
Rodrigo DamatiRodrigo Damati
Measure Wired Internet Performance
If youve tried the 10 above-described tips for improving wireless internet performance without any success, then its time to shift your focus from your WiFi and measure wired internet performance. To do that, you need an Ethernet cable and a laptop or desktop computer with an Ethernet port.
We recommend you repeat the wired internet performance test several times, preferably at different times of the day. Once youre certain that your internet service provider is to blame, send them the results of your tests and ask them to fix the problem. If they fail to do so, then its probably time to switch to a different internet service provider because even the best tips on how to increase WiFi signal wont help you.
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Centralize And Raise The Router
The position of the router in your home matters a great deal. If you have the router placed in a far corners of your home, chances are, you get spotty signal on the other end of the house.
The ideal location of a router is as close to the center of your home as possible, in an open area, away from other electronics, with maximized visibility. The more walls, doors, and other obstructions near your router, the higher the chance of something interfering with your signal.
It’s also better to keep the router higher. Routers tend to spread signal downward, so if it’s resting low or on the floor, you’re not maximizing your coverage.
How I Tested Them
We’re still working from home here in 2021, so for my second round of at-home range extender tests, I followed the same playbook as I did in 2020. In short, I ran lots and lots and lots of speed tests.
I started out by measuring the average internet speeds in five different parts of my home, a 1,300 square-foot shotgun-style house with an incoming AT& T fiber internet connection of 300Mbps. I started towards the front of the house in the living room, where the router sits, then worked my way back to my home’s back bathroom — a common dead zone whenever I’m running speed tests here. Even with an AX1500 Wi-Fi 6 router running my Wi-Fi network traffic, speeds in that back bathroom dropped to averages of 15Mpbs for a Wi-Fi 5 client device and 50Mbps for a Wi-Fi 6 device . Upload speeds are typically in the single digits and sometimes the connection drops you outright.
Those baseline speeds are represented by the gray columns in the test results below. See how they drop off in that back bathroom?
The top chart shows you the average speeds in each room when I ran my speed tests on a six-year-old laptop with an aging Wi-Fi 5 radio. For the bottom chart, I ran my speed tests on an iPhone 12 Pro with full support for Wi-Fi 6. All of the extenders boosted the back bathroom speeds for both of them, but some did a better job than others.
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Change The Admin Username And Passphrase
The logic here follows the same line as the previous section. You need to change the username and password of your network admin user.
Attackers know the defaults, and theyre going to try those first. Dont think that youre clever by just changing the password or changing it to be one character off. Attackers have a tool that can test thousands of possible password and username combinations very quickly.
Change the admin username to something somewhat difficult to guess. The password should be a passphrase. That means that it should be a short phrase containing at least one more obscure word. It should also make use of capitalization, numbers, and a couple of special characters.
Optimize Your Router Settings
Testing different settings on your router could improve signal strength and speeds in your home.
- Some routers have entertainment settings that prioritize bandwidth while you play video games or stream content. This strategy is less effective when multiple users share a Wi-Fi connection simultaneously, so try turning off the entertainment settings.
- Reset the Request to Send thresholds on your router. Essentially, the RTS threshold protocol clears a data transmission channel before data packets are sent on it. In a crowded Wi-Fi network, such as an apartment complex, setting your RTS threshold to a lower number could help improve Wi-Fi performance.
- You can also fiddle with the routers fragmentation and RTS threshold settings. Setting your fragmentation threshold to a lower value can help data packets transfer more efficiently and improve network reliability issues. However, setting the threshold to a smaller data packet size can decrease network performance if you already have a reliable network.
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Recommended By Our Editors
To change the password, look for an option that is typically nested under the Administration tab. The screen will likely ask for your current router password and then ask you to enter a new password.
As you create the new password, remember the usual recommendations for creating a secure password. Use one thats not too difficult for you to remember but complex enough so its not easy to guess. A passphrase, which uses a combination of easy-to-remember words, is also a good option.
Just be sure to remember the new password so you don’t have to struggle to think of it or ultimately reset the router in the future. Your routers firmware may also ask you to set up security questions and answers, another handy way to prove your identity. Youll then have to apply the settings and log back into your router.
Common Wifi Roadblocks & How To Fix Them
WiFi is electromagnetic radiation, just like light, says Bhaskar Krishnamachari, a professor of electrical and computer engineering and computer science at the University of Southern California. There are objects that block it and others that let it through. Here are some common obstacles to think about as you place routers and use connected devices. In this diagram, weve arranged a three-piece mesh router network to help eliminate potential dead spots in a multilevel home.
For the best results, place the hub in the center of your home and between the satellites , says CR’s Fisco. Note that satellite 3 sits on the kitchen counter away from the refrigerator . The WiFi signal from both the hub and satellites can also reach up and down to other floor levels, eliminating potential dead zones.
The Walls Thicker walls tend to absorb more of a WiFi signal than thinner walls, Krishnamachari says. While you cant easily change how thick your walls are, simply repositioning a mesh satellite closer to a rooms entrance may help boost the signal.
The Fridge A refrigerator and other appliances that contain a lot of metal can cause trouble, too. WiFi signals may bounce off them instead of passing through to the other side. Metal plumbing and rebar in your walls create similar problems.
The Fish Tank Water absorbs radiation, Krishnamachari says. So your WiFi signal is likely to get hung up near pools, tubs, and, yes, that 100-gallon fish tank you installed.
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Purchase A Newer High
The biggest issue holding back your homes Wi-Fi connection may be your aging router. Thankfully, there are numerous advantages to purchasing a brand new router, so youd be investing in more than faster internet speeds.
A new router could also give you improved home security features and be compatible with a wider spectrum of devices. Additional security and compatibility help homeowners interested in automating their home or making their network more secure.
How To Easily Boost Your Cell Phone Signal At Home
Chris Hoffman is Editor-in-Chief of How-To Geek. He’s written about technology for over a decade and was a PCWorld columnist for two years. Chris has written for The New York Times, been interviewed as a technology expert on TV stations like Miami’s NBC 6, and had his work covered by news outlets like the BBC. Since 2011, Chris has written over 2,000 articles that have been read nearly one billion times—and that’s just here at How-To Geek. Read more…
Poor signal strength could be your carriers fault, or it could be because of signal-blocking materials in your homes walls. Whatever the cause, you can boost that signal and get the maximum number of bars at home. Or, better yet, just use Wi-Fi calling on a modern phone.
Many cellular carriers offer inexpensiveor maybe even freedevices that you can plug in at home to extend a cellular signal. But Wi-Fi calling is a better solution that will remove the need for a strong cellular signal wherever you have good Wi-Fi, as long as your carrier offers it.
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