Which Router To Choose
In the process of choosing a router, it is necessary to take into account some important aspects. Qualcomm, a manufacturer of chips that stand out for their connectivity, recommends that the network capacity created by the router needs to be at least twice the speed of the contracted broadband.
When it comes to equipment, that means using routers and smartphones that at least feature technologies such as Wi-Fi 5 with Multiple-Input, Multiple-Output 2×2 for broadband speeds of up to 300 Mbps. For those who dont know, MIMO means multiple inputs and outputs in literal translation.
In practice, this technology offers two antennas for receiving data and two for sending signals. This represents a big differential in connectivity. It is basically about doubling the communication capacity between the devices on the network.
For faster networks, a Wi-Fi 6 or 6E router supporting 4×4 or 8×8 MIMO technologies is recommended. Routers with these specifications, in addition to being more powerful, are also capable of making the devices save energy by providing a more stable connection network.
What Other Options Are There
Theres the dedicated WiFi 5 mesh systems with identical units. The dual-band WiFi 5 systems work really well when theres direct line of sight between the nodes , otherwise, the performance is not that great. Still, depending on the width of the wall, it may work well enough as to push the signal through and have some half decent Internet away from your main router. Why I say half decent is because systems such as or the TP-Link Deco M5 use both bands for connecting the clients and for the inter-node communication. So, the bandwidth will be severely limited. The same concept applies to the Asus AiMesh that I previously praised, but the hardware is far more powerful, so I wont experience any issues with the bandwidth.
To fix it, I would opt for the tri-band WiFi 5 mesh systems, such as the Eero Pro and even the sometimes unstable Netgear Orbi. In my experience these systems can deliver a phenomenal wireless performance at the second node, even if there is a lot of distance between the mesh nodes. But, at least in the case of Netgear, the software can break the entire system and, lately, the manufacturer has been a bit weird about its router software , so I would be cautious.Note: TP-Link is also experimenting with a similar system as Asus did with its AiMesh and it is worth checking, since their routers are usually cheaper.
Tip #: Adjust Your Router Antenna
If youre like me, you dont have a high-powered wi-fi router that even has antennae. However, if youre using one of the many routers available that do have such multiple antennae, adjusting their direction could help improve your signal.
Its easy to think that pointing your wi-fi antenna straight up is the right way of doing things. But this is actually not the case in almost any situation.
Instead, if youre using a 2.4 GHz router, point them perpendicular, e.g. one antenna pointed vertically, and one horizontally, making an L shape. For 5 GHz, point them flat out or at a 45 degree angle for best results.
A former Apple wi-fi engineer shared a few tidbits on Mac Observer. You can check out more details and a few more of his tips here. Meanwhile, you can find some interesting data on DSLReports from a networking professional who did a test using both frequencies.
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Optimize Your Router Placement
One of the best ways to boost your Wi-Fi signal at home is to reposition your router to a more central location. This helps your router provide Wi-Fi coverage to as much of your home as possible, while avoiding Wi-Fi blockers like thick walls, doors, and electrical interference from household appliances.
While you can experiment with router placement using the trial-and-error method, its easier and faster to use a home network mapping tool like Heatmapper . You can use the tool to analyze your home layout and find out where your Wi-Fi signal is strongest and weakest.
The Heatmapper tool for Windows helps to boost your Wi-Fi signal at home by showing you where to place your router for best results.
The best place for your router will generally be in the center of your home, possibly in a corridor, and away from any thick walls or doors.
Test Your Internet Speed To See If The Problem Is With Your Internet Service Provider Dave Johnson/business Insider Make Sure You’re Connected To The 5ghz Band
If you have a dual-band or tri-band Wi-Fi router, you should be using the 5GHz band rather than the 2.4GHz band whenever possible. Many smart home devices can only use the slower 2.4GHz band, but your phone, laptop, tablet, and TV should all be connected via 5GHz to take advantage of the significantly higher speeds it offers. Use the Wi-Fi settings on each of your devices to see what Wi-Fi band you’re using. Incidentally, if your router doesn’t have a 5GHz band, then you should definitely upgrade.
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Do I Need A Gaming Router
Wireless routers marketed for gaming usually stand out with garish designs and come packed with gaming-specific features like the ability to prioritize traffic from specific devices or settings meant to improve response time in multiplayer games. But in our testing we found that these features are mostly just renamed features that arent unique to gaming routers and didnt make a significant difference in latency.
What did make a difference? A strong, fast Wi-Fi signal and the ability to juggle everything you can throw at it. If youre really concerned about in-game performance you should connect by Ethernet anyway. So, our take? You dont need a gaming router you need a good router and we suggest our top pick for the best overall router
See If There Are Apps Hogging Your Bandwidth
Different applications use different amounts of bandwidth, and if youve got multiple apps running that are bandwidth hogs, overall performance is going to suffer.
Most routers come with something called Quality of Service tools that can help you limit the amount of bandwidth different apps use. You can use these tools to prioritize certain apps over others. For example, if you want to make sure your streaming of the big game isnt interrupted because your kids are playing games online you would assign a higher priority to your streaming service than their devices browser.
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What Does ‘wifi 6’ Mean
Once you start shopping for a router, youre likely to hear a lot of buzz about WiFi 6, a new technology standard that promises faster speeds, a longer range, and better support for the ever-expanding fleet of connected devices in modern homes.
Also known as 802.11ax, WiFi 6 replaces the WiFi 5 standard formerly known as 802.11ac, which debuted in 2013, and WiFi 4 , which dates back to 2009. The consortium that sets these standards announced a WiFi 6 certification program in September 2019, and a number of routers that support the standard are now available, including three models in our ratings.
But only a few internet-connected devices are currently WiFi 6- compatible. WiFi 4 and 5 devices can connect to a WiFi 6-compatible router, but they get none of the technologys speed benefits. So our experts say its fine to hold off on making the leap if you can save money on a slightly older model. If you still have a WiFi 4 router but your smartphone, TV, and laptop all support WiFi 5, get a WiFi 5 router instead, Fisco says. That will set you up for a good five years.
Switch Your Router To A New Channel
Wi-Fi broadcasts, like physical highways, operate on various channels. In most countries, these include the non-overlapping channels of 1, 6, 11, and 14. By default, most folks are using Channel 1 or Channel 6.
If you can, you should switch the channel on your router to “Auto.” Otherwise, try turning it from Channel 1 or Channel 6, or vice versa. You’ll need to log into your router and follow the router-specific directions to make the change.
If changing the channel doesn’t make a difference in the performance of your Wi-Fi connection, switch it back to the original channel.
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Make Sure Youre On The Right Frequency Band
Modern routers work primarily on two radio frequency bands: 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz. The band you use for your connections can affect your speeds and the quality of your connections at different distances from your router.
The 2.4 GHz band is the oldest and most commonly accessed Wi-Fi connection. Its used for many other wireless communications other than Wi-Fi, so the airwaves in this frequency can be a little crowded. This band trades speed for rangemeaning its better at passing through walls and other objectswhereas 5 GHz has better speeds but a shorter range.
The two frequency bands often appear as two separate Wi-Fi networks. To reorganize your connections, log off from the incorrect band and connect to the correct one on each device.
Connections best for 5 GHz band:
- Gaming consoles
Connections best for 2.4 GHz band:
- Smart speakers
- Security cameras
What Influences Wifi Reception
You probably know that your WiFi router transmits data in digital form. In other words, every picture, video, audio, website, or document you download from the internet is sent to you as an impossibly long string of ones and zeros, or bits. As long as every single bit eventually finds its way to you, the content will be readable.
The problem is that the transmitted data relies on analog radio waves, similar to an old-school transistor radio. These waves are broadcasted on several different frequencies, most commonly on 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz, and the easier they can reach you, the better your WiFi signal strength will be.
Arguably the biggest factor that influences WiFi reception is distance. Stand only a few feet away from a WiFi router, and youre guaranteed to enjoy a strong signal and excellent speeds. But walk away from the router to a different room, and the signal will weaken.
Just how much weaker the signal will be depends not only on the distance itself, but also on the kind of obstacles between the router and the connected WiFi device. Generally, solid materials such as brick, stone, or concrete have a greater negative influence on WiFi signal strength than materials such as wood.
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Have You Tried Turning It Off And On Again
Yes, this first piece of advice is rather cliché, but it really works. Errors and bugs affect all computers, and in a router, this means that data takes longer to go from point A to point B. So, if you normally have decent speeds, but theyve recently dropped, try a quick reboot.
Although the best method does depend on your router, there are a few options. The easiest way is to just unplug it, but you can also press the power button or turn it off through your browser. Be sure to leave it off for about 10 seconds to ensure it fully shuts down.
Why Is My Wi
Many factors can cause a weak Wi-Fi signal, from physical obstacles like walls and doors to signal interference or router issues. Thats why boosting your Wi-Fi signal involves a lot more than moving closer to your router.
Here are a few reasons why your Wi-Fi signal is weak at home:
Youre too far from your router. Wi-Fi routers are local devices, and they dont cover that much distance. If you have a large home, some areas may be outside your routers transmission range.
Your Wi-Fi signal is blocked. Wi-Fi signals can struggle to penetrate walls, doors, and other physical obstacles in your home. It can be difficult for the frequencies used by your router to break through these Wi-Fi blockers.
Theres interference with your Wi-Fi signal. Were surrounded by radio waves from mobile phones, smart devices, car radios, and more. Household appliances, such as refrigerators and washing machines, can also interfere with your Wi-Fi signal. And if youre living in an apartment building, other nearby Wi-Fi networks can mess with yours.
Youre consuming too much bandwidth. If you or someone else on your network is sucking up all the bandwidth via P2P torrents, large downloads, streaming movies, watching TV online, or streaming games like GTA V on Twitch, it can leave little for anyone else.
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Install A Wifi Range Extender
One way to attain complete WiFi coverage throughout your home is to install a range extender. A range extender increases WiFi coverage by connecting to your existing WiFi router and creating a separate WiFi network that has its own name and security credentials.
While wifi extender will work, they are not without their complexities and limitations. First, because a range extender has its own security credentials, your devices must constantly log into the range extender and then back into the router as you roam around your home. Second, the range extender cannot communicate simultaneously with your router and all your devices. This cuts transmission capacity in half, because the available bandwidth is shared by the range extender, the router, and all the connected devices. Overall WiFi performance, therefore, takes a significant hit with this method.
How Do I Increase My Wifi Signal Strength
You need a strong WiFi signal to have strong WiFi. If your signal is weak everything slows down and an Internet connection is either frustrating or nearly impossible. There are some common things that can cause your WiFi signal strength to struggle: distance, obstructions, interference, capacity and devices hogging bandwidth. All it takes are a few adjustments to increase your WiFi signal.
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Update Your Firmware Or Network Adapter Driver
Router manufacturers regularly offer free updates. Sometimes, these updates can increase your routers performance. To receive the latest firmware updates for your router, visit your router manufacturer’s website.Network adapter vendors also occasionally update the software or driver that Windows uses to communicate with your network adapter. These updates can improve performance and reliability. You can check your vendors website for updates or sign up for email newsletters to receive notification.
Get More Out Of Your Isp
If youre not getting the speed you need even standing close to your WiFi router, youve got a problem with your ISP. That could be a technical glitch or youre being ripped off.
Tip: Restart your modem. Before you contact support at your ISP, try unplugging your modem from power, waiting 10 seconds and then plugging it back in. Its possible the thing has been running for a very long time and just needs to clear its memory.
Tip: Ask about upgrading your modem. Like routers, modems have also improved over time. Ask your ISP if it can tell how old yours is and whether youd get faster service if it sent you a new one or you bought one yourself.
Tip: Complain and consider a different ISP. Its possible your ISP just cant serve your neighborhood very well under the current demands. ISPs including Comcast, Americas largest, claim their networks have been holding up well with so many people working from home. But my connection has cut out periodically, and some of my Post colleagues have noted spikes in network latency . Some ISPs, particularly cable companies, use technology thats actually a shared resource which means, if your neighbors are also all running Zoom conferences, everyones connections will suffer.