Simple Ways To Improve Your Wi
So long, sluggish internet.
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Mr. Santo Domingo is a senior staff writer at Wirecutter, a product recommendation site owned by The New York Times Company.
For anyone used to working in a traditional office, working from home has revealed just how telecommuting-unfriendly a living space can be. While it may be uncomfortable to sit in a bad office chair or type under dim overhead lighting, a bad internet connection can really impede your productivity or even grind it to a halt. Between Zoom meetings and remote learning, coupled with more members of the household hogging up bandwidth, you might have noticed a slower-than-usual connection.
As a senior writer at Wirecutter, a New York Times company that reviews and recommends products, who specializes in network devices, even I have had to contend with adequate, but not great, Wi-Fi connections.
Common causes for a crawling Wi-Fi connection include using the subpar router rented from an internet service provider a home with rooms far from a router or a router that requires an extra boost to reach a corner of the home office, backyard patio or the surveillance camera over the garage door.
Maximum Data Rate And Connection Speed Are Different Things
To begin with, many users incorrectly focus on the connection speed , which is displayed in the connection information. For example, in the Windows operating system, it is shown in the ‘Speed’ field on the ‘General’ tab of the ‘Status’ window of the wireless connection.
The wireless adapter driver displays this number. It shows what connection speed at the physical layer is currently used within the selected standard, i.e. the operating system only reports the current physical connection rate .
The actual bandwidth of the connection may be significantly lower during data transmission. The real data transfer rate depends on many factors, such as 802.11n access point settings, the distance between the client and access point, the number of wireless client adapters simultaneously connected to it, etc. The difference between the connection speed that Windows shows and actual data rates are primarily due to the amount of service data, wireless packet loss, and retransmission costs.
For information on how to check wireless network transmission rates, see the following article .
Achieve Optimal Router Placement
Not all homes will distribute Wi-Fi signal equally. The fact is, where you place the router can hugely affect your wireless coverage. It may seem logical to have the router inside a cabinet and out of the way, or right by the window where the cable comes in, but that’s not always the case. Rather than relegating it to a far end of your home, the router should be in the center of your house, if possible, so its signal can reach to each corner with ease.
In addition, wireless routers need open spaces, away from walls and obstructions. So while it’s tempting to put that ugly black box in a closet or behind a bunch of books, you’ll get a better signal if it’s surrounded by open air . Keep it away from heavy-duty appliances or electronics as well, since running those in close proximity can impact Wi-Fi performance. If you can eliminate even one wall between your workspace and the router, you can drastically improve performance.
If your router has external antennas, orient them vertically to bump up coverage. If you can, it even helps to elevate the routermount it high on the wall or on the top shelf to get a better signal. There are plenty of tools to help you visualize your network coverage. We like Ekahau’s Heatmapper or MetaGeek’s inSSIDer, which show you both the weak and strong spots in your Wi-Fi network. There are plenty of mobile apps, too, such as Netgear’s WiFi Analytics.
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Even Better Install A Wifi Mesh System
Recognizing the challenge of delivering seamless WiFi coverage to the typical home, NETGEAR designed a solution that eliminated the pitfalls of the previous methods. The result is the Nighthawk Mesh Extender system, which provides seamless, broadened WiFi range without the login disruptions, bandwidth issues, or the setup complexities characterized by installing traditional extenders and additional routers.
The Nighthawk Mesh Extender system is unique in several key areas. First, it has a backhaul radio with a dedicated connection to your router that is not shared by your connected devices. Not only can the router and mesh system communicate directly with one another, but the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands are available for devices to transmit data at the highest speeds possible. This division of labor is a total game changer in range extension.
Another difference is that the Nighthawk Mesh Extender system shares the same network name and security credentials of the existing router. You can therefore walk around your home, and your device will seamlessly connect to the strongest WiFi signal, whether delivered by the router or by the Nighthawk Mesh Extender.Because there is only one network name with one password, you wont experience any disconnects.Your WiFi connection works as seamlessly as you would expect it to.
Avoid Obstacles Walls And Interference
Wi-Fi signal can travel through some materials okay, but put too many barriers between it and your device and itll start to struggle. Large metal objects like fridges, filing cabinets, or even hidden metal pipes and ducts running through walls are major impediments to Wi-Fi signal, as are large amounts of water, like aquariums. Wi-Fi signal doesnt bounce the way that sound waves do, so a router sitting by a window only gives you better Wi-Fi on the other side of that window. Other devices and household appliances can also interfere with your Wi-Fi signal. Some of the worst offenders are cordless phones and baby monitors, wireless Bluetooth speakers, old garage door openers, and, the worst of them all, the microwave. Even elevators and TVs can interfere with the signal. The best solution is to make sure your router is at least 3 metres away from your microwave and around 1.5 to 2 metres away from other electronics.
As for dinosaurs, we suggest keeping those as far away from your router as possible.
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How To Kick Your Kids Off The Wi
If your kids need a screen-time breather, here are a few ways to disconnect their devices from Wi-Fi.
Were you one of those kids who secretly stayed up late, watching TV or reading comic books under your covers after bedtime? Kids today are no differentexcept they have the internet. If you need to give your children a forced break from the web, or just need them to stop hogging all your bandwidth during the day, a few router settings can help make that happen.
And Yes Nighthawk Mesh Works With Any Router
The Nighthawk Mesh Extender is designed to work with any WiFi router, from the most basic ISP-provided equipment to the latest state-of-the-art WiFi routers of any brand or manufacturer. If your goal is whole-home WiFi coverage using your existing router configuration, then installing the Nighthawk Mesh Extender system will deliver the highest level of performance available. Furthermore, should you ever choose to upgrade your WiFi router, Nighthawk Mesh will grow with you. Adding it will broaden WiFi coverage in even the largest of homes, and it does so without the complexities and inconveniences of the range extension solutions before it.
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Things You Can’t Do For Free But Could Help A Lot
It’s possible the problem is more serious than simple router placement. That would really suck given the current predicament we’re all in, but if you have the means, there are some steps you can take to fix your crappy WiFi by opening up your wallet.
On the cheap end, you can get some ethernet cables and try to wire up as many of your devices as you can. I realize this is inconvenient and will invariably lead to cable clutter. Still, if you’re having signal problems, a direct connection between your device and your router should help stabilize things.
For those at wit’s end after trying the above, you might simply need a new router. Our friends over at PCMag have rounded up some of the best available routers right now, keeping both price and performance in mind. For about $60 you can get this router from D-Link, or you can splurge on a more expensive option.
If you wind up getting a new router, make sure it has a good number of ethernet ports. You don’t want to be stuck shuffling wires in and out of a limited number of ports. Also, if a router you’re looking at is “WiFi 6” certified, consider this a plus! It’s a newer, faster WiFi standard that will only help you in the future as more devices support it.
Hopefully, some combination of the tricks we’ve suggested will help. Fingers crossed.
Upgrade Your Wifi Routers Firmware
Firmware is software that makes your devices work the way the manufacturer intended them to. Some devices, such as routers, need to have their firmware upgraded periodically to make sure they are functioning to the best of their ability.To make sure your router has the most up-to-date firmware installed, you should consult your user documentation, the router manufacturer or your internet provider.You might need to download a firmware file from your routers support page or push a firmware upgrade button on your router. Upgrading router firmware should be done fairly regularly to improve your WiFi signal whether you are having problems or not.
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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.
What Does Private Browsing Do
When activated, Private Browsing on Safari prevents your browsing history from being kept in the history tab of the application. Along with this, it doesnt autofill information that you have saved in the browser. In this mode, you essentially become incognito and any references of previous use is essentially hidden when you are in private mode.
For example: if you are on Facebook or filling out a form and some information or your login is already filled in in the spaces provided, this is called autofill. Its activated by simply clicking Safari next to the Apple symbol in the menubar and selecting Private Browsing, then clicking OK to the prompt.
The reasons behind private mode differ for each individual. While we wont go into all of those reasons, one thing that is important to remember is that private browsing doesnt forget the websites you visit. As we will see later on, Macs keep a second copy of the websites you visit in either mode. If you are in frantic mode looking for a solution to this, look no further.
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Upgrade To A Better Router
If the weak or slow Wi-Fi continues despite moving the router, consider upgrading it to a better one.
The oldest to newest Wi-Fi standard are: 802.11b, 802.11g, 802.11n, 802.11ac and Wi-Fi 6. If you have an older wireless “b” or “g” router you should consider replacing it with a newer device that offers longer ranges and faster connection speeds.
Why not be cheeky and ask your ISP to send you an updated wireless router? If you’ve been a customer for a while it should help you out, but watch out if it asks you to sign up for a new contract.
A common misconception is that the latest Wi-Fi standard gives you the best performance and range. While that is partially true, the best speeds come at the expense of range, so you’ll actually get the best coverage from a router with really good performance using 2.4GHz, not 5GHz. For more, click .
However, this is where mesh Wi-Fi comes in, and it’s why we highly recommend you invest in a kit, which can cost less than a single router in some cases.
Remember that your devices also need to support these newer Wi-Fi standards. But rather than buy a new laptop you can buy a USB wireless adapter from as little as £10 that plugs into a USB port. You can also add a new wireless adapter inside a desktop PCs case or via a PC Card slot, but good luck trying that with a Mac! Check out our round up of the best 802.11ac USB Wi-Fi adapters.
We’ve also got a separate guide with tips on how to speed up Wi-Fi.
Find Your Router’s Ip Address
You log into your router’s firmware through a browser. Any browser will do. At the address field, type the IP address of your router. Most routers use an address of 192.168.1.1. But that’s not always the case, so you may first want to confirm the address of your router.
To find your router’s IP address, type cmd in the Windows search bar and press Enter to open the command prompt. Type ipconfig in the command prompt and press Enter to run the command. Scroll through the information until you see a setting for Default Gateway under Ethernet adapter or Wireless LAN adapter. That’s your router, and the number next to it is your router’s IP address. Close the window when done.
In Windows 10, you can also go to Settings > Network & Internet > Status > View hardware and connection properties. The next screen displays details for your different network connections. Scan the entry for Ethernet or Wi-Fi and look for the Default Gateway setting to find your routers IP address. Once you have the correct IP address, type it into your browser’s address field and press Enter.
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