Having internet service in your home these days is about as essential as running water and a warm bed. Without it, you’ll find yourself disconnected from the world.
In Canada, internet access costs ~$53—and the average speed is ~60Mbps. You might pay less, but that will likely result in slower service.
However, if you’re not getting the internet speeds you pay for, your wireless router is probably the reason. Although many factors affect internet speeds, your Wi-Fi signal can make or break your home internet experience. Regardless of what you’re paying, there’s always going to be the opportunity to boost your wireless speed. That’s how you’ll obtain the most value per dollar. There are many circumstances that can draw your bandwidth away from you: hardware, software, and location are just a few examples.
Join us and learn how to increase the Wi-Fi speed on your device by optimizing the settings to boost signal and extend range. After all, who’s got time to wait for videos to buffer and slow loading pages? Your Wi-Fi should be running peak speed, relative to the amount you pay.
Read below for suggestions that’ll improve your browsing experience!
Check Your Wired Internet Speed and Wireless Internet Performance
Begin your quest for speedier internet service by assessing your Wi-Fi’s quality. Doing this is relatively straightforward—and can be done in under 30 seconds. The speed test usually transfers less than 40 MB of data, but may transfer more data on fast connections.
While you’re using your chosen Wi-Fi speed measurement tool, test it out in different rooms, and take note in areas where the score drops.
Restart Your Router?
A router is hardware, and like all hardware, it runs on a firmware. And—just like you may have to reboot your computer because it is running slow, the same also applies to a router. Occasionally, the hardware and firmware work inefficiently, and the reboot will reset them so that they are operating correctly. Still, it’s a tactic that’s viewed as unadvisable in specific circumstances. Experts believe that restarting your router is only necessary when encountering connectivity issues or slowdowns caused by radio interference from radio frequencies.
Those with 2.4GHz Wi-Fi might benefit from rebooting their router in the case of speed troubles. This approach forces the router to select the least interfered-with channel during the bootup. Conversely, with 5GHz internet, this is a non-issue because it automatically lands on the fastest performing channel.
Move or Reposition Your Router
Here’s a pro-tip: spaces such as walls, cupboards, and bookshelves often dampen Wi-Fi signals. In some instances, physically moving the router to a different location impacts the wireless signal’s strength—don’t hide it away in tight spaces. Instead, seek out central and prominent areas in your home. This might necessitate some innovative cabling techniques to position your router better. This way, it’ll be close to your laptop or other consoles. Don’t prioritize devices not requiring as much bandwidth (eg smart thermostats).
Update Your Router’s Firmware
Your router has an interface that’s simple to log into. When you do, you might notice available firmware updates that you can leverage. By updating your router, you’ll enhance its security levels and benefit from the most recent software fixes to offset lingering issues. Provided you have an older router, it won’t update automatically. So, periodically check to see if something is available.
Change the channel
A few different channels exist within each of your Wi-Fi’s frequency bands, of which you can select your preferred one. While this task is usually done automagically through your router, it doesn’t always make the most efficient choice for your circumstances.
If you want maximum throughput and minimal interference, channels 1, 6, and 11 are your best choices. But depending on other wireless networks in your vicinity, one of those channels might be a better option than the others.
That’s because wireless LAN users can’t just remain solely in the 5GHz realm (which is generally faster and less busy). After all, the older 2.4GHz frequency bands are a necessary part of most wireless implementations. Even in 2020, the majority of Wi-Fi installations still use the 2.4GHz band in some way but they’re rarely a favorite of the people who have to build and operate Wi-Fi networks.
Searching for the ideal Wi-Fi channel starts with using the Wireless Diagnostic feature on a Mac. For Windows, an app such as NetSpot will be needed. Either way, you’ll receive a recommendation for the best option.
On top of the above steps, visiting your router’s online interface is necessary when switching your Wi-Fi channel. Type in the router’s IP address into a web browser, log in, then look for your Wi-Fi settings. Here, you’ll find your preferred band channel.
Buy a WiFi Repeater/Booster/Extender
Wi-Fi boosters, repeaters, and extenders are almost one and the same. Repeaters take an existing signal from your router and rebroadcast it as a new network—this is merely an extension of your primary network. With boosters and extenders, the only difference is that they amplify the existing signal before rebroadcasting it.
The main disadvantage to using a wireless repeater is that the bandwidth of any devices connected to it (instead of the main router) is halved. This is due to the repeater receiving the signal, processing it, and then rebroadcasting it in both directions, from the router to the computer (and vice versa).
Generally, a booster’s range is superior to that of a repeater. As such, these are the suggested solution when the original signal isn’t strong enough. These devices, at their most expensive and high functioning, cost less than $100. And they only take a few minutes to install —something you can do with the simple press of the WPS button.
Consider a mesh Wi-Fi Mesh system
We understand that moving onto a different Wi-Fi network sounds like a pain in the you-know-what. But making this decision would be a short-term headache resulting in long-term satisfaction, especially when your current system is 10-plus years old. The next time you upgrade your Wi-Fi equipment, take a bold step: Throw out your stand-alone router and instead consider investing in a mesh system.
A mesh network could solve most, if not all, of your Wi-Fi problems. It’s basically a system of multiple Wi-Fi stations that work together to blanket every corner of your home with a strong wireless data connection.
Here’s a list of some of the more common Mesh Networks:
Note that these options only scratch the surface of what’s available. Regardless of which choice you make, it’s a tremendous speed and performance improvement from more primitive point-to-point systems. A mesh system leverages ‘satellites’ that are positioned in your home (Google Nest Wi-Fi Router calls them points). Thus, you receive more reliable, balanced internet speed, no matter where you’re using your given device. It’s even possible to equip every single room in your house with a satellite.
Purchase a Better Internet Plan
We forget just how ubiquitous and all-consuming the internet and Wi-Fi services are in today’s landscape. Headphones, laptops, desktops, thermostats, mobile devices, tablets, home security systems, and many more items connect to the internet.
When all these Wi-Fi sapping entities combine, your bandwidth feels the brunt. Many internet plans aren’t equipped to handle this abundance of connectivity.
Older internet plans likely don’t have the extra “oomph” to satisfy a 2020 household’s Wi-Fi and bandwidth demands. Anything exceeding 10 years in age should be upgraded. You might be surprised to find out that you save money on a better performing plan. Prices for fast service have dropped relative to the high fees charged during the broadband era.