Are you experiencing slow internet speed when using your Wi-Fi? Does it feel like your signal has gotten worse and more sluggish than it was before? Are you finding it difficult to make important Skype calls or stream Ultra HD movies without any buffering? You may be experiencing network issues. But don’t fret. There are several ways you can troubleshoot your network and boost your Wi-Fi speed or signal. Let’s take a look.
1. Do a Wi-Fi Speed Test
A Wi-Fi speed test should be the first thing you attempt before you start adjusting your router or upgrading anything. This test will show you if the Wi-Fi is the problem. You can check the Wi-Fi speed on your smartphone or computer by signing in on your computer or smartphone. When you see the speed test results, compare with the subscription plan you paid for, to see if you’re getting a good signal. You may discover that your Wi-Fi is as fast as it should be. If the signal is not good enough, then you can start making changes. You can either call your ISP, replace your modem, or perform one or more tasks below.
2. Reboot Modem and Router
When you discover that your Wi-Fi is not fast enough, one of the first things you want to do is reboot your router and modem. This will help you reset your connection and boost the signal. To do this, unplug both the router and modem for 60 seconds. This may change the IP addresses, but you can easily reconnect your devices back when you’re done. After 60 seconds, plug them back in and turn them on. You’ll see an improvement.
3. Update Router Firmware
Before you start fixing things that are not broken in your router, first check if you’re using the latest version of your firmware. Many people forget to update their router firmware, so malware easily seeps in and takes all the data or even affect the connected devices. Router manufacturers always improve the software, and you always have to be up-to-date. Some routers are easy to upgrade, while some are pretty difficult. It all depends on the manufacturer and model. To update your router firmware, go to the administration interface, and check for the upgrade process.
In most recent routers, you only have to click a button to upgrade. But if you’re using older routers, you may still have to head over to the manufacturer’s website and download the latest firmware file before uploading it to your administrator’s interface.
4. Place The Router in the Right Location
You can’t just set your router down anywhere and expect to get the fastest connection. Where you place your router determines how strong the Wi-Fi signal will be. Firstly, many people think they should place the router by the window where the cable comes from or inside a cabinet where no one can reach it. But, this isn’t right. Your router should be in the center of the house or room so that the signal will be evenly distributed. It should be in open spaces, and not close to walls or other obstructions. Also, keep it away from electronics that will disrupt the signal and affect its performance.
5. Change to 5GHz Frequency Band
Many people don’t know the frequency band of their routers. Head over to your network’s administrator interface and check for the band. If it is set to 2.4GHz, change it to 5GHz. This is for those that have a dual-band router. 5GHz will provide faster speed and stronger signals. Most people are still using other frequency bands. So, when you switch to 5GHz, you will not encounter any interference and can enjoy a smooth browsing experience.
The following table shows the difference between 2.4GHz and 5GHz Wi-Fi connections –
|Longer range||Shorter range|
|Slower speed||Faster speed|
|Higher radio interference||Lower radio interference|
|Suitable for mailing, messaging, and smaller bandwidth tasks||Suitable for gaming, streaming, etc.|
6. Kick away Wi-Fi Leeches
Do you know that although your neighbor has a router, they might be using yours too? Your bad Wi-Fi signal may not be because you didn’t set it up properly or make some updates. If your password is weak, or you leave your network open, people around can piggyback on your network. So, you’re unable to browse and stream your videos well, while your neighbor is downloading videos with your Wi-Fi. If you don’t have a password, or you’re using a weak Wi-Fi password, change it. Make sure your Wi-Fi passwords contains more than 8 characters and has upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. It must not be something anyone can easily guess.
7. Change Your Channel
If you live in a densely populated area, chances are that your Wi-Fi signal is bad because everyone is using the same channel. When this happens, you encounter signal congestion. Most modern routers can automatically switch to other channels when one is getting congested, but you may have to set it up first. The Auto setting doesn’t favor users every time. Sometimes, you still end up on a congested channel. If you’re using Windows PC, you can easily see what channel other people around are using.
Then, you can manually set yours to another channel. But this doesn’t mean you should leave it there. Other people are trying to leave congested networks too. Check the channel regularly if yours is not set to Automatic.
8. Get Another Antenna
Many people stick with the antennas that come with their routers. But these antennas do not give the best signals. Adding an external antenna to your router will boost your Wi-Fi signal. If your router didn’t come with an antenna you can add on it yourself, get a separate antenna. Many router manufacturers sell them. You can either get directional (sends the signal in one direction) or omnidirectional (sends the signal in all directions) antennas. You may want to get a directional antenna, as it ensures that the signal is boosted in a particular direction. This doesn’t mean other areas will lack a strong connection. It only means that area will have the strongest signal.
9. Get a Range Extender or Mesh Wi-Fi System
Sometimes, you’re not getting the best Wi-Fi signal because your house is too big for the network to cover. This happens mostly for people using older routers. If your house is huge or there are too many corners and walls, you will need a range extender to penetrate those barriers. Wi-Fi range extenders receive the signal from your router and then send this signal to your device.
Range extenders are very affordable, but a better option for you will be the mesh Wi-Fi system. It replaces the Wi-Fi router entirely. It doesn’t just receive the Wi-Fi signal and send it to your device. A mesh system involves several units working together to send network coverage to every corner of your house. With this, you can get the best network in every room, using a single router.
10. Get a New Router
This should be the last option if you’ve tried other methods and nothing has worked. It means you’re using an old router. New signal boosting methods do not work on it. When getting a new router, ensure that you buy one that has Wi-Fi 5 on the box, uses wireless AC, or says 802.11ac, so you can have the fastest connection. Our best Wi-Fi routers articles will help you to pick the best one.