There’s always something you can do to improve your connection at home.
WHETHER YOU’RE WORKING from home, binge-watching Netflix, or streaming your gameplay on Twitch, there’s no such thing as too much bandwidth. Even if you have gigabyte fibre mainlined into your router, everyone could use help getting faster internet around the house. It doesn’t matter if you have the best possible wires outside your house—eliminating subpar speeds and Wi-Fi dead zones is largely up to you. To help, we’ve put together some suggestions on ways to troubleshoot and, hopefully, improve the quality of the Wi-Fi inside and outside your place.
1. Move Your Router
That router in the closet? Not a good idea. Walls, cupboards, even bookshelves can potentially dampen your Wi-Fi signal. You might need to apply some creative cabling to get your router in a better place, but it’s going to be worth the effort for the end results. The goal is to get your main devices—consoles, laptops, and so on—as close as possible to your router.
2. Use an Ethernet Cable
We sometimes forget: Wires still exist! You don’t need Wi-Fi. A wired connection to your router is usually preferable to a wireless one. It’s faster and more stable and can’t be affected by other devices or large fish tanks. The downside is that it limits where your devices can be, and it’s less convenient overall.
To do a really tidy job and avoid having wires trailing across your floor, you’ll need to deploy some cable management to keep the Ethernet cable fixed to the walls.
3. Change the Channel or Band
Wi-Fi signals are divided into channels. Your router uses a particular Wi-Fi channel to communicate with the devices around your home, and if you have neighbours living very close who have routers using the same Wi-Fi channel, then everything can get congested quickly. Switching channels can solve this problem.
4. Upgrade Your Router
Routers vary significantly in functionality and price, but in this case, the upgrade to make is generally in terms of how far your Wi-Fi is broadcast. If you have a large house, you’re likely better off with a router that can pair with “repeaters” that broadcast signals into the farthest reaches of your home. Smaller homes and apartments can generally get by with a simpler system.
5. Get a Wi-Fi Extender
If messing around with your router settings seems too daunting, and you have a few dollars to spare, invest in a Wi-Fi extender or repeater. These devices plug into a spare wall socket, connect to the wireless internet getting beamed out by your router, and then extend it.
They’re (usually) simple to set up, easy to use and can instantly get rid of Wi-Fi dead zones in your house. The extended or repeated wireless signals won’t be as strong as the ones coming straight from your router, so again, positioning is important. Try to use these devices to connect gadgets that don’t need a huge amount of bandwidth.
6. Add a Password to Your Wi-Fi
We probably don’t have to tell you this, but you need a password on your Wi-Fi network. It’s good for keeping hackers away and keeping neighbours from Netflixing off of your bandwidth, which will definitely slow you down. Make sure you use AES encryption, which is both the most secure and most speed-friendly security option.
7. Cut Off Unused Devices
Having dozens of things tapping into the Wi-Fi at once can be problematic. Plug anything you can into Ethernet, and unplug anything you have connected but don’t need. Make sure only the things that need internet get internet.
9. Restart Your Router?
We’ve read this tip many times on the web, but we were skeptical. Restarting your router on a regular basis sounds like an extension of the age-old pseudo solution to everything digital: Reboot it. Yes, we know restarting your router can sometimes fix dead internet.