Everybody wants fast and reliable WiFi service whether it’s so you can be more productive at work or stream your favorite movie at home on your iPad. Slow and unreliable WiFi is a drag. All those dropped connections and buffering can make you question if you should go back to a wired network.
The problem is not with the concept of WiFi itself, but in the way, you have implemented or configured the network. A wireless network is more complex than a wired one and there are a number of reasons that the way you have set up your network may be leading to unsatisfactory levels of performance.
Degraded WiFi connectivity and reduce speed can occur for a number of reasons including:
- Poor router location;
- Physical obstructions;
- Overcrowded WiFi channels;
- Signals from competing networks;
- Using the incorrect frequency band;
- Unrealistic coverage area expectations.
How to Boost Internet speed
Here are some tips on how to boost WiFi speed and performance without breaking the bank. Perhaps one of them is just what you need to streamline the wireless network in your home or office.
Get Some Tools
Hardware and software tools such as WiFi sniffers and analyzers can alert you to issues with your network that may be easily addressed. The use of these tools will become evident as we go through some of our recommendations. Free WiFi analysis tools are available for any operating system. You should download an application that can run on a mobile device or laptop to get the most effective use out of the utility.
Some of the tools we like include KisMac2 which is a free open-source application that runs on macOS machines. NetSpot is a very versatile and powerful tool that can run on Windows, macOS, and Android. It’s a great tool for tuning and implementing a WiFi network. You can use your iPhone to analyze a WiFi network with apps like Network Analyzer Pro which you can find at the Apple app store. A WiFi analyzer tool is an essential element in boosting WiFi signals. Get one for your preferred platform and find the leaks in your network.
The location at which you keep your router can have a significant impact on the speed and reliability of your WiFi network. You want your router to be located in as central a position as possible since its signal emanates in all directions. Routers are often located near the end of a home if that is where the cable connection for the modem is found. Your router will also provide better coverage if it is located in a high position rather than being down near the floor.
Try to minimize the presence of solid objects that come between the router and your network’s users. Don’t put it in a closet or a desk drawer. It might not be the most attractive electronic device in your home, but it needs to be out where everyone can see it. Conducting a site survey with a WiFi analyzer can help you find the best location for the router.
What’s the Frequency Kenneth?
WiFi operates using two frequency bands. It can broadcast at 2.4GHz or 5GHz. Using the WiFi analysis tool of your choice should allow you to see if there are any competing networks and which frequency they are using. Perhaps just switching frequencies will boost your WiFi speed.
The two WiFi frequency bands have different characteristics which may impact how and when you choose to employ them. The 5GHz band can achieve a greater top speed but is more limited in range and impacted by physical obstructions than the 2.4GHz alternative. In order to better penetrate solid objects and provide a wider coverage area, the 2.4GHz often is the best choice.
Change the Channel
Each WiFi frequency band is broken into a number of channels that are used to broadcast the radio waves that power the network. You can choose which channel to use by accessing your router’s administrative interface. Using a WiFi analysis app allows you to see what channels are in use by other networks whose coverage area may overlap with yours. Moving to another channel may be all that’s needed to make all of your WiFi users happy. It’s certainly worth a shot.
Reduce Noise and Interference
Other devices in your home may emit radio waves that cause noise and interference with your WiFi router leading to a poorly performing network. Keep the router away from your microwave oven or cordless phone. A WiFi analyzer can help you identify problems caused by signal noise throughout the coverage area. Keep your router away from areas that report high levels of noise on your analyzer app.
Eliminate Physical Obstructions
The best wireless performance will come from devices that can achieve a direct line-of-sight to the router. This is often impossible to provide for more than a few users located very close to the router. Adding WiFi hotspots to your network will allow more devices to get a clear look at their signal source. So will knocking down a couple of walls.
There may be a tradeoff involved here between personal, physical privacy and WiFi speed. Certainly, limits must be observed when opting for this type of solution. We strongly recommend that you try moving your router before taking out the living room wall. We leave the specifics of instituting this tip to the individual router owner.
Use a WiFi Booster
In certain situations, your only recourse when attempting to provide better wireless speed and coverage will be to make use of equipment designed to boost your WiFi signal. It may simply involve the addition of a WiFI hotspot or demand that you implement a mesh network to deliver the performance that your users require. This will cost some money and is best done after using a WiFi analyzer to survey the coverage area to help determine the most efficient solution.
Move Closer to the Router
As the distance from your router increases, its signal weakens. Moving the equipment or users that need to be connected closer to your router can increase the connection speed. It’s a simple matter of staying close to the router to get the best performance it can offer.
This can prove beneficial to team building as you get your whole department to work from a single cubicle. And remember, nothing builds family togetherness more than sitting around the router looking over each others’ shoulders to see what they are watching.
Schedule Network Usage
This one might get some pushback from your family or employees, but one of the ways to boost WiFi performance is to limit the number of concurrent connections to the network. Developing a schedule that ensures that only one user is on the network at any time will go a long way toward boosting your WiFi. We do caution that this remedy may have unintended consequences whose resolution falls outside the scope of this article. Be prepared to hire an attorney or be in contact with your company’s human resources representatives.
Eliminate Network Competition
One of the WiFi problems beyond the scope of your influence is the existence of neighboring wireless networks. These networks are competing for frequencies and channels that you need for your own. Eliminating this competition would allow you to own the airwaves with no further disturbances from these pests. But how to do it?
The defensive maneuver is to wrap your house in tinfoil which will prevent the radio waves from passing into your space. A non-confrontational response to competing networks may involve moving to a secluded area where you are out of their range. Politely asking your neighbors to cease and desist their WiFi activity has not proven to be an effective solution to this problem. We continue to search for the optimal resolution to this issue and will keep you apprised of our findings.
If you really try all of the tips above and still cannot improve the speed and reliability of your WiFi network, it must be for one of two reasons. Either your network was perfectly configured before your investigation began and its performance cannot be improved or you didn’t read the section about moving closer to the router. We guarantee if you implement that change the speed of the connected devices will increase. As for group harmony, we leave that for you to decide.