10 Ways to Boost Your Home WiFi for a Faster Internet
Due to the Coronavirus crisis, many are still sheltered-in-place and working from home, so figuring out how to improve your WiFi speed is more important than ever. Typically, there are several reasons for slow WiFi speeds. If you want to get things running smoothly with less disruption, we recommend the following 10 ways to boost your WiFi at home for faster internet.
1. Place Your Router in the Perfect Spot
Placing your router in the perfect spot matters a great deal. Walls, doors, floors, ceilings, and other obstacles affect your WiFi speed in many ways. The ideal position of your router is as closer to the center of your home as possible and in an open area without too many electronic devices around. Routers spread their WiFi signals downward. To maximize signal coverage, it’s a good idea to put your router in a higher place instead of placing it on the floor.
2. Reduce Interference from Other Electronic Devices
It’s obvious that less interference leads to better WiFi connection performance. Moving away from wireless interference and noise sources including microwaves, Bluetooth devices, baby monitors, and even your Christmas lights, is vital for speeding up your WiFi.
3. Choose a Better Frequency Band
Nowadays, most routers are dual-band routers, which support both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz frequencies. Normally, 2.4 GHz reaches a further distance while 5 GHz offers a stronger signal. Most of the electronic devices commonly use 2.4 GHz, so the airwaves in this frequency band might be more crowded than 5 GHz. To get faster WiFi speed, just simply switch the frequency band to 5 GHz, and don’t forget to get close to your router.
4. Switch to a Better Channel
A router can broadcast multiple channels. Try to avoid the most utilized channel in your area, and use the less overlapping channel if possible. In the 2.4 GHz spectrum, channels 1, 6, and 11 are the only 3 non-overlapping channels with the least interference. If you are in the 5 GHz spectrum, you’ll have a whole host of channels (24 channels) to choose from, making the selection much easier.
5. Limit Your Unnecessary Connections
When you are conducting video calls, playing online games, and streaming movies, you will get low-speed connections because these take up a lot of bandwidth. You need to prioritize your connections by limiting devices and optimizing the settings. Modern routers have a Quality of Service (QoS) setting, which allows you to prioritize certain applications over others and limit the amount of bandwidth those applications use. With QoS, you won’t be interrupted by downloading large files while you’re playing online games. Find more relative information below.
6. Set Up Wireless Security
Setting up a password for your WiFi is necessary. On one hand, it keeps you safe from hackers. On the other hand, it protects you from your neighborhood since your open network might be used by your neighbors for downloading large files or streaming videos. To set a password for your WiFi, just choose WPA2 as the encryption method and select your own passphrase.
7. Add a wireless repeater
To rebroadcast and strengthen wireless signal from your router to other floors or the other side of the building, it’s a good way to add a wireless repeater anywhere there’s an outlet. To get a better signal, you’d better place your repeater halfway between your router, modem, or access point and your device. However, some repeaters might drag down your signal and be difficult to configure.
8. Use Range Extenders/Powerline Networks
Sometimes, you still get very low WiFi signals even if you place the router perfectly in the center of your home, especially when you live in a large multistory house. Here, you need range extenders to extend your WiFi network. These boost the existing WiFi in your home by receiving the wireless signals from your router and repeating them, extending your coverage even further. Or alternatively, using Powerline kits to transmit data throughout existing electrical wiring, eliminating the need for complicated Ethernet cable setup. Go ahead and check out our Range Extender (RE) and Powerline Adapter (PLC) products!
- RE: https://www.tp-link.com/en/home-networking/powerline/
- Powerline Adapter: https://www.tp-link.com/en/home-networking/powerline/
9. Upgrade Your Router with the Latest WiFi Technology
Keeping up with the latest WiFi technology is always good for your internet connection. To enjoy better wireless experiences, you might consider getting a brand new router and other electronic devices (PC, cell phone, tablet, etc.) that support WiFi 6 technology. Besides that, get a router with MU-MIMO technology. MU-MIMO improves your home network capacity and efficiency by allowing WiFi to communicate with multiple devices simultaneously. To take your home network to the next level, try getting a Mesh WiFi system (if you have the budget for it, of course). Mesh systems eliminate dead zones and provide uninterrupted WiFi throughout your home. Try our TP-Link OneMesh TM routers and other devices to enjoy seamless WiFi connections with just one network name and without WiFi dead zones. Find more relative information below.
10. Reboot Your Router and Modem Regularly
Your router and modem need a break after working for a long time. That might be the easiest way to fix internet connection problems such as low WiFi speeds, pages not loading, videos/movies freezing halfway, and music stop playing. A simple reboot cools off the router’s memory and allows updates to install. According to the Consumer Reports, your WiFi connection would become slow if your router doesn’t catch a break.
Got all that? Great. Let us know which of these ways have helped speed up your WiFi. If you have your own personal recommendations feel free to share with the rest of us. Especially in today’s day and age, fast, seamless internet is a must have.
WiFi vs Mobile Data Speed: Which Is Faster?
Internet Speed Test: 4G / LTE, and WiFi – Who Wins?
In purely theoretical situations, there’s no big difference 4G LTE and WiFi speed. Commercial versions specifications for both include top speeds of 1,000 Mbps. However, given the circumstances each of these is used, you can expect different performance.
The answer to the question: “WiFi vs mobile data speed: which is faster?” should be “using both at once!” But can you actually do that – combine WiFi and 4G LTE at the same time? See below how Speedify, a channel bonding app, helps you achieve this.
WiFi vs Mobile Data Speed – What Determines Who’s Faster?
There are several key factors involved in the speed you will actually get from a WiFi or 4G LTE connection. Apart the obvious technology differences, when determining the actual connection speed, you have to look at:
- infrastructure: does it support the new technologies? Is it constantly being updated? How many simultaneous connections does it support?
- coverage: are there enough hotspots / cell towers to get good coverage?
- interferences: due to buildings, walls, other wireless equipment, etc.
- client usage: static or moving around? How many people are connected to the same hotspot or cell tower?
For example, let’s assume a client commutes to work by bus. They can connect to the bus’ WiFi network, as can the other passengers. They can also use their 4G LTE connection. Given they will be on the move, their cellular connection will most likely be faster. That’s mainly because other passengers connect to the bus’ WiFi network and get a slice of the bandwidth.
WiFi Is Usually Faster than 4G LTE Mobile Data. However…
A recent OpenSignal study [PDF] proved that mobile networks are killing Wi-Fi for speed around the world in 33 countries at least. Things should be reconsidered, according to them – for example, why does a smartphone automatically assume that a WiFi network is faster than the mobile data connection?
There are so many situations where WiFi speed is much worse than mobile data. And it pretty much has to do with stumbling upon a bad (slow, non functional) WiFi hotspot to which your smartphone sticks – a.k.a. sticky WiFi.
WiFi vs Mobile Data Speed: What Smartphone Manufacturers Are Doing
Phone manufacturers are constantly trying to make them smarter when it comes to managing your connectivity. Features like iPhone’s WiFi Assist or Samsung’s Adaptive WiFi try to solve the issue. Unfortunately they don’t – the best they can do is switch between connections when hitting certain transfer or latency thresholds.
But what’s the goal here? Just determining which is faster – WiFi or mobile data – and then using that? Or getting the fastest speed in any given scenario? If you’re interested in the latter one, you need Speedify to combine both WiFi and mobile data at once into a super-connection.
Speedify Solves the WiFi vs Mobile Data Speed Choice: Uses Both for Combined Speed and Reliability and Security
Speedify is a fast bonding VPN app that uses channel bonding technology to combine connections at once. It can bond 2 or more Internet links together at the same time on your computer or mobile device.
Just get Speedify on your device and make sure you enable both WiFi and mobile data on your smartphone. Speedify will use them both, as necessary, to give you the best Internet experience for your needs.
Real world situation: if the WiFi connection is bad or drops, Speedify will intelligently route traffic through mobile data. When WiFi connectivity is back, Speedify will begin to use that.
Being powered by VPN technology, Speedify also protects your private data from hackers and snoops. Everything is encrypted using the latest technologies and the service doesn’t collect any personal data about the online activities.
What are you waiting for? Don’t choose between WiFi and cellular data when it comes to speed. Use them both for their combined speed! Get Speedify today!
How WiFi Works
If you’ve been in an airport, coffee shop, library or hotel recently, chances are you’ve been right in the middle of a wireless network. Many people also use wireless networking, also called WiFi or 802.11 networking, to connect their computers at home, and some cities are trying to use the technology to provide free or low-cost Internet access to residents. In the near future, wireless networking may become so widespread that you can access the Internet just about anywhere at any time, without using wires.
WiFi has a lot of advantages. Wireless networks are easy to set up and inexpensive. They’re also unobtrusive — unless you’re on the lookout for a place to watch streaming movies on your tablet, you may not even notice when you’re in a hotspot. In this article, we’ll look at the technology that allows information to travel over the air. We’ll also review what it takes to create a wireless network in your home.
First, let’s go over a few WiFi basics.
A wireless network uses radio waves, just like cell phones, televisions and radios do. In fact, communication across a wireless network is a lot like two-way radio communication. Here’s what happens:
- A computer’s wireless adapter translates data into a radio signal and transmits it using an antenna.
- A wireless router receives the signal and decodes it. The router sends the information to the Internet using a physical, wired Ethernet connection.
The process also works in reverse, with the router receiving information from the Internet, translating it into a radio signal and sending it to the computer’s wireless adapter.
The radios used for WiFi communication are very similar to the radios used for walkie-talkies, cell phones and other devices. They can transmit and receive radio waves, and they can convert 1s and 0s into radio waves and convert the radio waves back into 1s and 0s. But WiFi radios have a few notable differences from other radios:
- They transmit at frequencies of 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz. This frequency is considerably higher than the frequencies used for cell phones, walkie-talkies and televisions. The higher frequency allows the signal to carry more data.
- They use 802.11 networking standards, which come in several flavors:
- 802.11a transmits at 5 GHz and can move up to 54 megabits of data per second. It also uses orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing (OFDM), a more efficient coding technique that splits that radio signal into several sub-signals before they reach a receiver. This greatly reduces interference.
- 802.11b is the slowest and least expensive standard. For a while, its cost made it popular, but now it’s becoming less common as faster standards become less expensive. 802.11b transmits in the 2.4 GHz frequency band of the radio spectrum. It can handle up to 11 megabits of data per second, and it uses complementary code keying (CCK) modulation to improve speeds.
- 802.11g transmits at 2.4 GHz like 802.11b, but it’s a lot faster — it can handle up to 54 megabits of data per second. 802.11g is faster because it uses the same OFDM coding as 802.11a.
- 802.11n is the most widely available of the standards and is backward compatible with a, b and g. It significantly improved speed and range over its predecessors. For instance, although 802.11g theoretically moves 54 megabits of data per second, it only achieves real-world speeds of about 24 megabits of data per second because of network congestion. 802.11n, however, reportedly can achieve speeds as high as 140 megabits per second. 802.11n can transmit up to four streams of data, each at a maximum of 150 megabits per second, but most routers only allow for two or three streams.
- 802.11ac is the newest standard as of early 2013. It has yet to be widely adopted, and is still in draft form at the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), but devices that support it are already on the market. 802.11ac is backward compatible with 802.11n (and therefore the others, too), with n on the 2.4 GHz band and ac on the 5 GHz band. It is less prone to interference and far faster than its predecessors, pushing a maximum of 450 megabits per second on a single stream, although real-world speeds may be lower. Like 802.11n, it allows for transmission on multiple spatial streams — up to eight, optionally. It is sometimes called 5G because of its frequency band, sometimes Gigabit WiFi because of its potential to exceed a gigabit per second on multiple streams and sometimes Very High Throughput (VHT) for the same reason.
- Other 802.11 standards focus on specific applications of wireless networks, like wide area networks (WANs) inside vehicles or technology that lets you move from one wireless network to another seamlessly.
- WiFi radios can transmit on any of three frequency bands. Or, they can "frequency hop" rapidly between the different bands. Frequency hopping helps reduce interference and lets multiple devices use the same wireless connection simultaneously.
As long as they all have wireless adapters, several devices can use one router to connect to the Internet. This connection is convenient, virtually invisible and fairly reliable; however, if the router fails or if too many people try to use high-bandwidth applications at the same time, users can experience interference or lose their connections. Although newer, faster standards like 802.11ac could help with that.
Next, we’ll look at how to connect to the Internet from a WiFi hotspot.
You may be wondering why people refer to WiFi as 802.11 networking. The 802.11 designation comes from the IEEE. The IEEE sets standards for a range of technological protocols, and it uses a numbering system to classify these standards.
WiMax, also known as 802.16, looks to combine the benefits of broadband and wireless. WiMax will provide high-speed wireless Internet over very long distances and will most likely provide access to large areas such as cities.
A WiFi hotspot is simply an area with an accessible wireless network. The term is most often used to refer to wireless networks in public areas like airports and coffee shops. Some are free and some require fees for use, but in either case they can be handy when you are on the go. You can even create your own mobile hotspot using a cell phone or an external device that can connect to a cellular network. And you can always set up a WiFi network at home.
If you want to take advantage of public WiFi hotspots or your own home-based network, the first thing you’ll need to do is make sure your computer has the right gear. Most new laptops and many new desktop computers come with built-in wireless transmitters, and just about all mobile devices are WiFi enabled. If your computer isn’t already equipped, you can buy a wireless adapter that plugs into the PC card slot or USB port. Desktop computers can use USB adapters, or you can buy an adapter that plugs into the PCI slot inside the computer’s case. Many of these adapters can use more than one 802.11 standard.
Once you’ve installed a wireless adapter and the drivers that allow it to operate, your computer should be able to automatically discover existing networks. This means that when you turn your computer on in a WiFi hotspot, the computer will inform you that the network exists and ask whether you want to connect to it. If you have an older computer, you may need to use a software program to detect and connect to a wireless network.
Being able to connect to the Internet in public hotspots is extremely convenient. Wireless home networks are convenient as well. They allow you to easily connect multiple computers and to move them from place to place without disconnecting and reconnecting wires. In the next section, we’ll look at how to create a wireless network in your home.
Building a Wireless Network
If you already have several computers networked in your home, you can create a wireless network with a wireless access point. If you have several computers that are not networked, or if you want to replace your Ethernet network, you’ll need a wireless router. This is a single unit that contains:
- A port to connect to your cable or DSL modem
- A router
- An Ethernet hub
- A firewall
- A wireless access point
A wireless router allows you to use wireless signals or Ethernet cables to connect your computers and mobile devices to one another, to a printer and to the Internet. Most routers provide coverage for about 100 feet (30.5 meters) in all directions, although walls and doors can block the signal. If your home is very large, you can buy inexpensive range extenders or repeaters to increase your router’s range.
As with wireless adapters, many routers can use more than one 802.11 standard. Normally, 802.11b routers are slightly less expensive than others, but because the standard is older, they’re also slower than 802.11a, 802.11g, 802.11n and 802.11ac routers. 802.11n routers are the most common.
Once you plug in your router, it should start working at its default settings. Most routers let you use a Web interface to change your settings. You can select:
- The name of the network, known as its service set identifier (SSID) — The default setting is usually the manufacturer’s name.
- The channel that the router uses — Most routers use channel 6 by default. If you live in an apartment and your neighbors are also using channel 6, you may experience interference. Switching to a different channel should eliminate the problem.
- Your router’s security options — Many routers use a standard, publicly available sign-on, so it’s a good idea to set your own username and password.
Security is an important part of a home wireless network, as well as public WiFi hotspots. If you set your router to create an open hotspot, anyone who has a wireless card will be able to use your signal. Most people would rather keep strangers out of their network, though. Doing so requires you to take a few security precautions.
It’s also important to make sure your security precautions are current. The Wired Equivalency Privacy (WEP) security measure was once the standard for WAN security. The idea behind WEP was to create a wireless security platform that would make any wireless network as secure as a traditional wired network. But hackers discovered vulnerabilities in the WEP approach, and today it’s easy to find applications and programs that can compromise a WAN running WEP security. It was succeeded by the first version of WiFi Protected Access (WPA), which uses Temporal Key Integrity Protocol (TKIP) encryption and is a step up from WEP, but is also no longer considered secure.
To keep your network private, you can use one or both of the following methods:
- WiFi Protected Access version 2 (WPA2) is the successor to WEP and WPA, and is now the recommended security standard for WiFi networks. It uses either TKIP or Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) encryption, depending upon what you choose at setup. AES is considered the most secure. As with WEP and the initial WPA, WPA2 security involves signing on with a password. Public hotspots are either open or use any of the available security protocols, including WEP, so use caution when connecting away from home. WiFi Protected Setup (WPS), a feature that ties a hard-coded PIN to the router and makes setup easier, apparently creates a vulnerability that can be exploited by hackers, so you may want to turn off WPS if possible, or look into routers that do not have the feature.
- Media Access Control (MAC) address filtering is a little different from WEP, WPA or WPA2. It doesn’t use a password to authenticate users — it uses a computer’s physical hardware. Each computer has its own unique MAC address. MAC address filtering allows only machines with specific MAC addresses to access the network. You must specify which addresses are allowed when you set up your router. If you buy a new computer or if visitors to your home want to use your network, you’ll need to add the new machines’ MAC addresses to the list of approved addresses. The system isn’t foolproof. A clever hacker can spoof a MAC address — that is, copy a known MAC address to fool the network that the computer he or she is using belongs on the network.
You can also change other router settings to improve security. For instance, you can set it to block WAN requests to keep the router from responding to IP requests from remote users, set a limit to the number of devices that can connect to your router and even disable remote administration so that only computers plugged directly into your router can change your network settings. You should also change the Service Set Identifier (SSID), which is your network name, to something other than the default so that hackers can’t immediately tell what router you are using. And selecting a strong password never hurts.
Wireless networks are easy and inexpensive to set up, and most routers’ Web interfaces are virtually self-explanatory. For more information on setting up and using a wireless network, check out the links on the next page.
How Fast Is a Wi-Fi Network?
IEEE 802.11 network standards determine theoretical speeds
- Wi-Fi & Wireless
- The Wireless Connection
- Routers & Firewalls
- Network Hubs
- Installing & Upgrading
The maximum theoretical speed of a Wi-Fi network is indicated by its Wi-Fi standard. Like most types of computer networks, Wi-Fi supports varying levels of performance, depending on the technology standard. Currently, the fastest standard is the 802.11ax standard, also called Wi-Fi 6, introduced in 2019. The 802.11ac standard is more common, but that will soon change as more Wi-Fi 6 devices enter the market.
Wi-Fi standards are certified by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. Each Wi-Fi standard is rated according to its maximum theoretical network bandwidth. However, the performance of Wi-Fi networks doesn’t match these theoretical maximums. The actual speed of a Wi-Fi wireless network connection depends on several factors.
Before you buy a router, confirm that it runs the most current version of 802.11 along with several previous iterations. Older routers, on sale cheap because they’re used, may be rated no higher than 802.11n or earlier.
Theoretical vs. Actual Network Speeds
Current Wi-Fi networks support a variety of standards.
An 802.11b network typically operates no faster than about 50 percent of its theoretical peak, around 5.5 Mbps. The 802.11a and 802.11g networks usually run no faster than 20 Mbps. Even though 802.11n rates at 600 Mbps compared to wired Fast Ethernet at 100 Mbps, the Ethernet connection can often outperform 802.11n in real-world usage. However, Wi-Fi performance continues to improve with each new generation of the technology.
You’ll experience wide variation in the actual and theoretical speeds of most current Wi-Fi networks:
|802.11b||11 Mbps||5.5 Mbps|
|802.11a||54 Mbps||20 Mbps|
|802.11g||54 Mbps||20 Mbps|
|802.11n||600 Mbps||100 Mbps|
|802.11ac||1,300 Mbps||200 Mbps|
|802.11ax||10 Gbps||2 Gbps|
The next wireless communications standard will be 802.11be (Wi-Fi 7), likely to be finalized by IEEE in 2024. Practically, however, 802.11ax (Wi-Fi 6) is still gaining ground over 802.11ac (Wi-Fi 5).
Factors Limiting Wi-Fi Connection Speeds
The disparity between theoretical and practical Wi-Fi performance comes from network protocol overhead, radio interference, physical obstructions on the line of sight between devices, and the distance between devices.
In addition, as more devices communicate on the network simultaneously, performance decreases due to how bandwidth works and the limitations of the network hardware.
A Wi-Fi network connection operates at the highest possible speed that both devices, often referred to as endpoints, support. An 802.11g laptop connected to an 802.11n router, for example, networks at the lower speed of the 802.11g laptop. Both devices must support the same standard to operate at the higher speed.
The Role Internet Service Providers Play in Network Speed
On home networks, the performance of an internet connection is often the limiting factor in end-to-end network speed. Even though most residential networks support sharing files within the home at speeds of 20 Mbps or more, Wi-Fi clients still connect to the internet at the usually lower speeds supported by internet service providers.
Most internet service providers offer several tiers of internet service. The faster the connection, the more you pay.
The Increasing Importance of Network Speed
High-speed connections became more important as streaming video gained in popularity. You may have a subscription to Netflix, Hulu, or some other video-streaming service, but if your internet connection and the network can’t meet the minimum speed requirements, you won’t be watching many movies.
The same can be said for video streaming apps. If you watch a TV with a Roku, Apple TV, or another streaming entertainment attachment, you spend much of your television-viewing time in apps for commercial channels and premium services. Without a sufficiently speedy network, expect to experience poor video quality and frequent pauses to buffer.
For example, Netflix recommends a broadband connection speed of only 1.5 Mbps, but it recommends higher speeds for higher quality: 3.0 Mbps for SD quality, 5.0 Mbps for HD quality, and 25 Mbps for Ultra HD quality.
How to Test Your Network Speed
Your internet service provider may provide an online speed testing service. Just log on to your account, go to the connection speed page, and ping the service. Repeat the test at different times of day to arrive at an average benchmark.
If your internet service provider doesn’t provide a speed test, plenty of free internet speed services can test your network speed.
Improve Your Wi-Fi Speed in 10 Simple Steps
In our world of instant connections, no one likes slow Wi-Fi. So if your home network is acting sluggish, try these simple steps to get faster Wi-Fi. We’ll explain how to do each one and why they work along the way.
Before we begin, take an internet speed test. This isn’t part of our official list of ten things, but it’s good for context. You want to know the speeds you have now so you can compare results as you go through each step—that way you know if it’s helping.
After you get your results, compare them to the speeds you’re supposed to be getting from your internet service provider (ISP). You can find this in your online account or on your internet bill. That way you know if your speeds are actually underperforming, or if it’s just time to upgrade to a faster plan.
If your speeds are near where they should be, but you find yourself running into internet speed issues, you’re probably overwhelming your current connection and need a faster internet plan. Find out how many Mbps you need to support your network with our How Much Speed Do You Need? Tool.
If you suspect your internet speeds are slow because of your ISP, it might be because the ISP’s network is simply slow or your speeds could be getting throttled. Our guide to ISP throttling will help you figure out if you’re experiencing throttled internet speeds.
1. Turn things off and on again.
Do it to your router. Do it to your modem. Do it with the devices you have connected to Wi-Fi. Everything needs a break once in a while—but especially your modem and router.
Your modem translates internet signals between your home network and the ISP. If your internet is acting up, resetting your modem is a good place to start troubleshooting. You may be able to fix modem issues with a quick power cycle. Sometimes you have to call your internet provider to reset your modem on its end to make sure your modem is properly calibrated to be compatible with your ISP’s signals.
Your router could also benefit from a quick reset to clear its memory and give it a fresh start on tasks that were bogging it down before.
It might seem simplistic, but turning your home networking equipment off and on again can really give your network a boost. We recommend rebooting your equipment regularly—at least once every few months.
2. Move your router to a better location.
Wi-Fi can travel only so far, and its signals can get interrupted or blocked by walls, floors ceilings, furniture, appliances, and basically any large physical object. They can also get interrupted by radio waves from other devices, including cordless phones, baby monitors, microwaves, and Bluetooth speakers.
So if your router is stuck in a corner of your home, you may have issues with Wi-Fi at the other end of your home. The best place for your router is in a central location, near where you use the internet most often. Don’t relegate your router to a basement or closet—that’s just setting yourself up for connectivity issues.
If your router is already in a great location but you’re still having troubles in specific areas of your home, skip ahead to step nine: extend your network.
3. Adjust your router’s antennas.
Many routers have internal antennas—meaning that they’re built in to the body of the device and you can’t adjust them. If that’s the case for you, skip this step.
But if you do have adjustable antennas on your router, try reconfiguring them. Router antennas are usually omnidirectional, which means they send out signals in all directions perpendicular to the antenna. For example, a vertical antenna sends out Wi-Fi signals horizontally, and vice versa. So if you need to stretch your Wi-Fi signals to multiple floors, adjusting an antenna to sit horizontally to spread Wi-Fi signals up and down could help.
4. Make sure you’re 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 has been used for Wi-Fi since the beginning, but it’s also used for a ton of other wireless communications, so the airwaves in this frequency can be a little crowded. This band also has slower max speeds than 5 GHz, but its range is better.
The two frequency bands often appear as two separate Wi-Fi networks. So to reorganize your connections, you should log off incorrect bands and reconnect to the correct band on each device.
Connections best for 5 GHz band:
- Gaming consoles
- Smart TVs
Connections best for 2.4 GHz band:
- Smart speakers
- Smart home devices
- Security cameras
5. Prune unnecessary connections.
If you’re running low on bandwidth, you should prioritize your connections. Everything connected to your network should be essential.
Going through all your network connections may take a while, but the simplest way of doing it is to change your Wi-Fi passwords. Then you’ll have to log back in to your network with the new password on every device you use. This is a good way to clear unnecessary connections that you may have forgotten about—for example, that emergency cell phone you keep turned on that has been quietly downloading updates.
Your router may come with a home networking app like NETGEAR Genie, TP-Link Tether, or Xfinity xFi that can show you what devices are connected to your network. If you have an app like this, you could easily find errant connections and disconnect them without having to disrupt your whole Wi-Fi network.
6. Change your Wi-Fi frequency channel.
Beyond making sure your connections are on the correct Wi-Fi frequency band, you can also change your router’s frequency band channel. Basically, there are a few different channels within each frequency band, and you can choose which one to use. Most routers automatically choose this for you, but they sometimes choose wrong.
Frequency channels can get crowded, so if you and all your neighbors are using the same channel in the 2.4 GHz frequency band, that could affect your Wi-Fi speeds. To find the best Wi-Fi channel, you can use the Wireless Diagnostics feature on a Mac computer (hold the option key and click the Wi-Fi status bar in the top right corner of your screen to access). For Windows, you’ll need an app like NetSpot. Both of these should recommend the best Wi-Fi channels to use.
To change your Wi-Fi to the best channel, you’ll need to log in to your router’s online interface. You can do this by typing your router’s IP address into a web browser and logging in. Once logged in, look for your Wi-Fi settings. The option to change your band channel should be there.
7. Update your router’s firmware.
Since you’ve already logged in to your router’s interface to check your Wi-Fi channel from step six, you might as well check to see if there are any available firmware updates. Updating your router keeps it as secure as possible and up to date with the latest software fixes for known problems.
Many newer routers have automatic firmware updates, but if your router doesn’t, you should periodically check for them to make sure your router works as fast as possible.
8. Replace your equipment.
Your router and modem process all your internet data—if either one isn’t up to that task, it can slow down your whole network. So if you’re dealing with older, out-of-date equipment, it’s time to get a replacement.
If you rent a gateway from your ISP, you can request new equipment if yours is out of date as well—especially if it’s causing poor network performance.
But buying your own modem and router saves you money over time versus renting. Plus, it gives you more control over the features, speeds, and security of your network. If you’re in the market to purchase a new modem or router, we recommend a DOCSIS 3.1 cable modem like the ARRIS Surfboard SB8200 and a Wi-Fi 5 or Wi-Fi 6 router like the Google Nest Wi-Fi or ASUS RT-AX86U.
If you need some more recommendations for a new modem or router, check out some of our favorites:
9. Extend your Wi-Fi network.
If your router is in a perfect, central location but you’re still having speed or connectivity issues in certain areas of your home, you may need to add a device that can stretch your network’s range.
There are a few different devices you can use to increase the reach of your network:
- sit between your router and the dead zone and either amplify or redistribute existing Wi-Fi signals into the new area.
- Wired access points connect to your router via an Ethernet cable and can distribute Wi-Fi and LAN signals as an extension of your router, similar to a Wi-Fi booster. Many devices can be used as access points, including old routers. kits come with two devices—you connect one to your router via Ethernet and plug it into an outlet. You plug the second one in where you want better Wi-Fi, and the internet signals travel through your electrical wiring. replace your router with one or more devices that work together to create a Wi-Fi network that covers your whole home from multiple points.
While all these work to push your Wi-Fi farther, the best one for your network depends on what your home is like. If you have just one stubborn dead zone, a booster would probably be a good fit. Mesh systems are better for full-house coverage if your home is particularly large or has a complicated layout. And using an access point would be ideal if your house is wired with Ethernet.
10. 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 that’s the case, you’ll need to upgrade to a faster internet plan to get better Wi-Fi speeds.
Unsure what internet speeds you need to support your online habits? Check out our guides to internet speed for online gaming and video streaming requirements.
You can find every internet provider in your area and compare internet speeds and prices by typing your zip in the box below.