Wi-Fi is an incredible convenience. With it, we can not only make full use of phones and tablets. It liberated home design and expanded its possibilities. These include smart TVs that don’t require Ethernet cables snaking through walls, home security devices we can install ourselves, and lighting options that just weren’t possible before. Given how many devices depend on the same connection, everyone should know how to increase internet speed on their Wi-Fi router.
We tend to demand a lot from our routers, and they’re always being built better and more powerful. But sometimes we wonder if our router will bring us the internet as fast as possible.
Sometimes the router slows down so much that it’s obvious something is wrong. Anyone who pays a surcharge for “high-speed Internet” also wants to get their money’s worth. Luckily, most of the things you can do to maximize your router’s Internet speed are low-tech and easy to do. We review them below.
Continue reading: How to update your router’s firmware
To increase the internet speed of your WiFi router, you should first try moving your router closer to the device you are using. Alternatively, move the device closer to the router.
SKIP TO KEY SECTIONS
Move your router
There are a few things related to the positioning of your router that can affect your internet speed. It should be centrally located between the devices that use it the most. Typically, this is a television, desktop computer, alarm system hub, or other device that uses Wi-Fi as part of its basic function. Keep in mind that every wall and other obstacle that a Wi-Fi signal has to pass through reduces its signal strength. If you need your router in a tech closet for aesthetic reasons, consider connecting these stationary devices with an Ethernet cable.
Slow internet is possible at the outer limit of your router’s range. With large devices staying in one place, you’ll find it easier to move the small, lightweight router. If you’re experiencing slow internet speeds on a phone, tablet, or laptop, it’s more practical to move closer to the router.
The antennas of your router, if available, should be optimally positioned for the location of the router in your home. If the router is on the ground floor, tilt the antennas up to ensure the top floor is covered. If the router is upstairs, tilt the antennas to the side. Be prepared to experiment with different positions for optimal coverage, especially with a new router.
things to avoid
Certain positions for your router can cause service degradation even if you are standing right next to it. You should keep your router away from large appliances, especially microwave ovens, and anything made mostly of metal, like an oven or filing cabinet. And if you put your router next to a window, you’re sending part of your Wi-Fi signal out of your house, where it’s of no use to you and an intrusion for those who want to get into your network for illegal purposes.
Continue reading: How to kick someone off your wifi
Avoid putting a router on the floor; The ground absorbs a good portion of your signal. Finally, keep your router out of direct sunlight, as heat is bad for your router’s electronics and will quickly degrade its performance.
Increase internet speeds with a Wi-Fi range extender
Even with an optimal router position, there can be dead spots in your WLAN coverage. A Wi-Fi extender can fix this problem. Usually just a small device that plugs into the mains, the extender takes the Wi-Fi signal from your router and rebroadcasts it at full strength. The optimal place to install an extender is about halfway between the router and the device or area that receives weak WiFi (or no WiFi at all).
Many of the precautions for positioning your router also apply to an extender: avoid other electronic devices, large metal objects, reflective surfaces, and windows. You can use multiple extenders with the same router, but each extender should connect directly to your router. You should not extend from another extender.
Restart your router
Most routers don’t have an on/off switch, so to restart them, unplug them, wait about a minute, and then plug them back in. A router contains a small computer, so giving it time to fully shut down before restarting is important. Restarting it gives your router a chance to run its startup routine again. This can be helpful with slow internet speeds because sometimes a router, just like a laptop or desktop computer, doesn’t execute its startup routine perfectly.
This can result in a situation where the router’s operating system is working sufficiently to allow Internet access, but not enough to provide Wi-Fi at the router’s full capacity. Sometimes a restart is enough.
Change Wi-Fi bands
Many routers sold today are actually two routers in one, each operating at a different frequency. If you have a so-called dual-band router, you probably have 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz frequencies available to you. The trade-off between the two, and the reason you’ll want both in your home at the same time, is range vs. power. The 5GHz Wi-Fi band is designed to deliver a strong signal that cuts through the electronic chatter you’ll find in a home with multiple Wi-Fi devices, or in an apartment building where your signal is shared with many competes with others. This signal strength is compensated by reducing the range of the router.
Also read: Your smart home should stay on a separate Wi-Fi network
A 2.4 GHz signal is slower in comparison, but has less of a drop in signal strength from one room to the next. This can result in people who are relatively far from the router switching to the slower 2.4GHz band and actually getting a better and faster internet connection. Meanwhile, the person using the PlayStation sitting right next to the router will get smooth gaming from the 5GHz band. If you have a dual-band router, try both bands to see which has the better signal in your location. It’s worth noting that many home automation systems and security devices only work on a 2.4 GHz network.
Switch to LAN
The most reliable way to avoid the hassle of using Wi-Fi is… not to use Wi-Fi. Not only can a wired Ethernet connection travel over 300 feet without signal loss, but it is also far more secure than a Wi-Fi connection as it cannot be intercepted by neighbors or passers-by. Wi-Fi is for convenience, not security; Once the signal is broadcast outdoors, it becomes far more vulnerable to hacking and environmental factors.
Especially if you need to store your router in a tech closet or in the basement, consider running an Ethernet cable from the router to static devices like your TV, desktop computer, or game console. These devices are immune to signal strength degradation due to distance from the router. In addition, your devices that stay on Wi-Fi may even see a small increase in speed. This is because there is now one less device using the WiFi.
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority
Update your router
Have you tried all the above ways to increase your internet speed? Are you still unsatisfied? There’s only one thing for that. You need a new, more powerful router.
Here are some questions to ask yourself when deciding to upgrade your router:
- How many square meters does the router need to cover?
- How many devices must be connected to the router in total? How many at a time?
- Do I need the fastest internet available?
- Will I benefit from a dual-band router or even a tri-band?
- Do I need strong control over what comes into my home through the router?
The larger your home, the more powerful a router you need. Each router lists the maximum number of devices you can connect. Make sure you choose a model with enough slots. If you have more than one high-bandwidth user at a time (think 4K streaming or online gaming), look for a feature called MU-MIMO (Multi-User, Multiple-Input, Multiple-Output). It ensures that the signal flows smoothly to all devices.
As Wi-Fi technology continues to improve, you should future-proof your network by purchasing the most advanced technology available. So watch out for the current 802.11ax standard, also known as Wi-Fi 6 or Wi-Fi 6E.
If you don’t have a tiny living space, consider getting a dual-band router to accommodate the whole house. If you have a multi-level home, consider getting a model with multiple antennas that you can point to different areas for more even coverage.
A good alternative to buying a traditional router is opting for a mesh network. Rather than relying on a single router, mesh routers are made up of multiple units that work together to hide your home with Wi-Fi. The units all work on the same Wi-Fi network, so you don’t have to switch networks as you move around your house. The beauty of mesh networking is that you can reposition units to better serve the areas important to you.
frequently asked Questions
A better idea would be a dual-band router that offers both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequency bands (see above).
Yes, often it will do that by resetting the router’s operating system.
A modem connects directly to your internet service provider to give you access to the internet. A router connects to a modem to distribute the incoming signal to as many devices as needed, either over an Ethernet connection or over Wi-Fi. If you get your internet from your cable provider, your modem and router might be the same box.