A sluggish Wi-Fi connection sucks the fun out of an exciting movie, undermines your effort to beat deadlines, and derails your entire schedule.
A study shows that a two-second Wi-Fi delay can double your stress levels, and a six-second buffering period can make you give up. When we are online, we expect an immediate, positive response. We understand how prolonged buffering can frustrate and demoralize you.
Luckily, there are numerous ways to fix your home Wi-Fi problems. You may end up paying nothing or buying a new wireless router for lots of devices. However, the important thing is getting your wireless connection up and running.
8 Ways to Fix A Home Wi-Fi
Several fixes can restore your Wi-Fi’s fast connectivity. They include:
Your Wi-Fi woes may be rooted in an old router. The major problem with an outdated router is using the old 802.11g or 802.11n standards. The former can support theoretical speeds of up to 54Mbps while the latter has a maximum of 300Mbps.
Upgrade Your Wireless Router
It would be a good idea to buy a new router with the modern 802.11ac standard. The standard’s bandwidth limit is 1Gbps and above, meaning your Wi-Fi should be faster. Also, modern routers may have a feature like Multi-User Multiple-In-Multiple-Out (MU-MIMO) that raises Wi-Fi speeds, and allows multiple simultaneous wireless connections.
Newer routers have the 802.11ax standard, which are even faster. Many devices may not support this new standard currently, but that will soon change!
Install the Latest Drivers (On Your Router and Wireless Devices)
The software run by your router is known as the firmware. It plays a critical part in the security and speed of your home Wi-Fi network. Also, firmware updates may include new features set to boost the Wi-Fi. Therefore, you want to keep them updated even when the Wi-Fi network if fully functional.
Most routers have the option of configuring its firmware to update automatically. If you haven’t activated this feature, you can do so manually. All you have to do is visit the admin dashboard and find the firmware update button.
Some firmware update procedures can be complicated for the less technically able among us. They require a router administrator to download an update and overwrite installed drivers. There are plenty of guides online to help you through the process.
Make sure your wireless devices (laptops, phones etc) have their drivers up to date too.
Check with Your ISP For Issues
Most people consider calling their ISP with a slow Wi-Fi problem a last resort. On the contrary, checking with your ISP may quickly solve issues with your network’s speed.
Time after time, ISPs roll out upgrades that may warrant new hardware.
If your router is incompatible with updated specifications, your Wi-Fi may slow or even shut down. Calling your ISP can help you quickly get information on what hardware to acquire.
Moreover, your ISP may offer to diagnose your Wi-Fi network. They can then fix the problems remotely if possible or advise you on how to proceed. If your internet package allows it, they may send a technician to get your Wi-Fi’s speed back up.
Oftentimes, your ISP (Charter Spectrum, for example) may provide you with the required hardware for a rental fee. You can save money in the long run by buying your own router, instead of using the ISP one provided. Check with them that they will support the router you are thinking of using.
Centrally Locate Your Router
The position of a router in your house can mean the difference between fast and slow Wi-Fi. It would be best if you placed your router in a central place in your home. Try to keep it away from obstructions such as furniture or other electronics that may interfere with the Wi-Fi signal.
It will also help if the number of walls between you and the router remains minimal. To increase the network’s reach, you can mount the router in a higher place, such as a top-shelf on a cabinet. Remember to keep reflective surfaces off the router’s proximity. Its signals may bounce away, slowing the network’s speed.
If your house is big, placing the router in a central place may not help. You can try repositioning the router’s antennas. If it doesn’t work, the only other solution to the slow network may be to install a Wi-Fi extender. Or a mesh….
Use A Wi-Fi Mesh
If the reason behind a slow Wi-Fi is because your house is large, consider investing in mesh network. A mesh Wi-Fi doesn’t repeat a router’s signals as extenders do. They route traffic from a modem and spread Wi-Fi over the entire house via multiple access points.
One of the great draws of using a Mesh, is that they are plug and play and a cinch to set up and move around!
Secure Your Wi-Fi
Sometimes, slow Wi-Fi has nothing to do with the router. A poorly secured network may allow intruders to use your home Wi-Fi without your knowledge. In such a case, the person stealing your Wi-Fi uses up all your bandwidth.
If you experience slow Wi-Fi, start by securing it. You can use the admin dashboard to view the devices accessing the network and how much bandwidth they are taking. Be sure to treat any device you don’t recognize as that of an intruder. You may also use third-party software to scan a list device using your Wi-Fi.
Regardless of whether the Wi-Fi is slow or not, secure your network with Wi-Fi Protected Access 2 (WPA2). Also, implement standard security practices such as strong Wi-Fi passwords.
Check for Interference
Networks from neighboring households may interfere with your Wi-Fi, and they slow it down in the process. Interference can be from cordless phones, microwave ovens, or Bluetooth devices. Even a baby monitor can cause interference.
Before solving interference problems, it is wise to ascertain that they exist. You can use third-party heat mapping software to analyze Wi-Fi signals in every corner of your house. Most heat mapping software is free for popular operating systems.
You may solve the interference problem by changing the position of your router or its antennae. If it doesn’t work, you may have to change the channel.
Change Your Channel
The problem with your slow Wi-Fi may be that you are using a channel similar to your neighbors’. In a nutshell, Wi-Fi networks transmit signals in 2.4GHz or 5GHz frequencies on a variety of channels. Just as many vehicles on the road cause traffic, numerous users on a channel bring about congestion. Afterward, Wi-Fi becomes slow.
Modern routers should scan for channels and automatically use the minimally congested one. However, older routers may lack this functionality. An administrator must, therefore, use third party software to scan for available channels. Then, they select those without congestion.
If your routers admin dashboard indicates you are on a 2.4GHz channel, you should probably try shifting to 5GHz. Many devices broadcast on 2.4GHz and congest it. There’s a lot more available channels on 5GHz too.