Is Your Wi-Fi Too Slow? Here’s How You Go About Fixing The Problem
While 801.11ac is the newest high-speed Wi-Fi standard, the older 802.11n standard is what most homes still have. The 300Mbps that the n standard promises would be very good if it actually delivered in practice. Unfortunately, Wi-Fi routers can effectively slow down so much that tasks like high-definition movie streaming become impossible.
Sometimes, n standard Wi-Fi can get so slow that even simple jobs like remote desktop operation can suffer (2Mbps isn’t uncommon even when you have nothing but 10 feet and a wall separating your computer from the Wi-Fi router). 2Mbps is too slow even for average definition YouTube videos.
If you can’t take how slow your Wi-Fi speed is anymore, you need to find a way to boost that signal. Here are a few tips that should get you started.
Improve that signal
Distance can dramatically affect the strength of the signal that your computer gets from the router. A $50 wireless booster repeater can easily catch the signal from your router and amplify it for your computer or mobile device. Before you get on Amazon, though, you need to make sure that you aren’t putting anything that’s bad for radio waves between your computer and the router.
Look for objects in the path that could stop the Wi-Fi signal from getting through – metal tables and chairs, metal cupboards and so on. If the metal objects you see are not movable, you should consider moving the router to a place that makes it more accessible.
Before you actually spend cash on a repeater, you should also try upgrading the antenna on your router. Stores like RadioShack sell larger antennas.
Does your router have a “green” mode?
Many routers have an “eco” or “green” mode to help save power. While these do save a little bit of power, they do so by weakening your Wi-Fi signal. Many routers that don’t have a green mode, still offer a setting by which the transmission power is turned down automatically. You need to look for any such power saving settings and turn them off.
Position your router correctly
It would be cool if you could put on something like night vision goggles to look at where exactly your Wi-Fi signal went, it could help you know where exactly to place the router for the best signal. While such glasses don’t exist, you can do the next best thing – you can download free Wi-Fi strength mapping software and create a strength map for your home. Look up HeatMapper and try it out. It should help you find out how best to position your router for better signal coverage.
Consider another broadcast frequency band
Most routers broadcast on the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz. The 2.4 GHz band is a crowded one, though. Wireless keyboards, baby monitors, cordless phones, microwave ovens and lots of other equipment tend to use this band. You could get into the settings of your router and choose to broadcast on both bands. If your computer or phone is able to receive on the 5 GHz band, your reception will improve dramatically.
There are multiple channels within each gigahertz band that your router can broadcast on. Routers automatically scan for the least crowded channel. Unfortunately, if a neighbor moves with his own router, your router usually won’t rearrange its channel selection. You should use software like InSSIDer to check what channel is freest and manually switch your router to that one in your router’s settings.