For online natives there’s nothing worse than intermittent movie streaming, slow web surfing and signal drop zones. If your digital world is full of wi-fi woes, here’s a few tips to get you sorted.
Reset your router
If you’ve got a technical difficulty your internet service provider will tell you a simple reboot can work wonders. Consider resetting your router regularly at a non-peak time to refresh the system.
Position your router centrally but don’t hide it in a closet or cabinet. It beams signal in all directions so the closer and less obstructed your devices are, the faster your speeds. Radio waves travel downward so place your router high off the ground, on a shelf or your second story (if applicable).
Wi-Fi signals can be absorbed or reflected by metal objects, concrete walls, furniture, doors, mirrors and common household appliances like microwaves, fridges, fluorescent/halogen lights, baby monitors and cordless phones. Keep your router away from your neighbour’s router where possible.
You don’t want any freeloaders tapping into your network signal and slowing it down. Maximise your security with an alphanumeric password – use your router’s built-in one or create your own. Older routers will have WEP encryption which is weaker and easier to crack. Opt for the more secure WPA2-PSK (the default on most modern routers).
Adjust your antenna
Shift the two external antennas on your router (if applicable) from parallel to perpendicular. The idea is to make your signal parallel to the internal antenna of your devices.
Watch your bandwidth
You wouldn’t want to stream videos, download media, Skype a friend and play online games simultaneously – this would hog your bandwidth! Stagger these activities for better network performance and turn off wi-fi devices you aren’t using.
Switch your frequency
For dual band routers, the commonly used 2.4Ghz has the strongest signal. The newer 5Ghz has a shorter signal range but more channels, with less chance of interference. Consider changing your router’s default channel to avoid network congestion in densely populated areas.
Update your firmware
It’s worth putting in the time for a firmware update. This can add speed, performance and even fix security defects, especially if you have an older router.
Extend your range
Most routers have a 50 metre range – not ideal for a large house. Increase your signal reach by plugging a Wi-Fi repeater into a wall outlet or replace removable aerials with a higher gain antenna.
If all else fails… replace it!
Electric components wear out over time. Consider upgrading your router every seven years or so. Check with your internet service provider about the latest tech and plans available.