Wireless tech should feel like that time in the late 90s when cell phones started to exist but the kitchen phone with the really long cord still got play. You shouldn't feel tethered to your WiFi by a distance that makes cords seem like a thought, let alone an option.
The technology exists to do things like city-wide WiFi but sometimes you feel like your signal isn't getting beyond the couch. And the data? What is this dial-up?
If you want to know how to get faster WiFi that stretches further, this is the guide for you. Don't settle for some 1/10th of what you pay for because of a bottleneck.
These practical steps won't cost you more than some time (except for the last two, but we'll get to that).
A lot of the problem with WiFi speed boils down to using the defaults on equipment that benefits from tweaking. We'll get to the router, but you also want to know your modem is doing its job.
There's also a direct link between signal strength and signal speed that needs to be considered. Even if you get the best speeds out of a router, if the signal is spotty, the loss of packets and need for data to resend will cost you time.
The first step in how to boost a WiFi signal involves the tried and true try unplugging it and plugging it back in. Your router and modem are both simple computers. They process data and use a series of buffers and memory to do so.
Just like your computer, or you after three weeks of cramming for a test, they need a nap to dump caches and clear up. Here is the official answer on how to reset your router from Quora...
Important Note: Simply unplugging your router to reset it is the best method. We often see customers get confused with all the buttons on the back of the router and they all do different things.
Most routers will have a WPS (WiFi Protection Setup) Button, some will have a Wifi On/Off Button, A Factory Default Reset Button (usually indented into the case!) and the main power button.
Sometimes people read the "reset" button thinking that it will reset the Wifi but it restores all the settings on your router to the factory defaults. This can cause the whole network to go down and you would need to do a completely new set-up.
Always just unplug the router for the sake of clearing the cache.
Resetting the devices that connect to the router also help. Phones get reset often enough, but your other devices need an adapter reset every now and then too.
Now that you've got the router dealt with, time to optimize your WiFi range by placing it in the right area of your home. If you have a problem area that you can't seem to get a WiFi signal too, you can always consider getting a WiFi extender.
Routers broadcast in a bubble or sphere, broadcasting in all directions. The best placement for a router is an elevated, central location. This takes advantage of the whole system and leaves you broadcasting data into the street less.
Obstructions between devices and the router also matter. Thicker materials, and particularly electronics, interrupt the signal. Keep sightlines clear for maximum signal range and quality.
Speaking of broadcasting into the street, be sure that your WiFi router has been configured with a password. Any new device on your network sucks away your bandwidth, so control access by ensuring that it is secure.
If you can access your WiFi at your home without using a password, it is "Open" or unsecured. You can easily check by accessing your wireless internet setting on any laptop or computer. Again, anything labeled as "Open" is avaible internet for others to use.
Your neighbors might try and grab some free internet from your home if your router is not secure, make sure to lock them out! In this day and age, any open network is generally assumed to be fair game for WiFi usage as so many restaurants and cafe's offer free WiFi. Here is a good guide on how to check if people are stealing your internet Wi-Fi signal.
Just ensure inside your router settings, you have enabled a password to get wireless internet access (WiFi). Every router is going to be different but here is a general guide to setting up a password on your router.
While you're locking down your router with one or more passwords, it's a good time to change up some settings. Routers come ready to run out of the box, which is great. Plug and play is the name of the game in modern computing.
Like any other ready-to-use item, with some personalization, the router only performs better. Every router is different, as are your needs. But the most common thing we hear about is that gamers want to get Open Nat set up on their router for online gaming.
This image is from windowscentral.com and they have a good walk-through on how to check the Open Nat Settings for Xbox gaming system. If you prefer a video here is a quick YouTube guide on Open Nat Types and how to accomplish that.
Routers have channels, not unlike televisions, radios, and walkie-talkies. The channels keep the signal from getting overly crowded.
What you might not know, your microwave, electric range, and even dryer put off a certain amount of electromagnetic interference. anything that has power running through it can interfere.
Unlike those other devices, your router lets you swap channels. Typically a router is set to 1 or 6, swap it up to get a clearer, uncontested signal. Channels run from 1 to 11, so you have some options.
As has been said, every device on your network takes some of your bandwidth. More importantly, every task and program run by a device takes a different amount of bandwidth.
Your router provides options to limit or prioritize tasks. Make sure your streaming always works or your gaming ping stays low. You can even set peak usage times and low usage times.
Also like any other computer, the router sometimes needs updates. These firmware updates enable the router to stay working in peak condition no matter the changing ISP or tech.
Router technology updates like any other. As a workhorse device, it doesn't get as much advertising as the latest smartphone. None the less, current technology is how to improve WiFi signal through brute force.
Older routers used 802.11g or 802.11n tech. The latest routers are 802.11AC.
Each offers a different bit rate and GHz they broadcast at. Your speeds will vary based on the factors above and your general Internet speed. Here is an ultimate guide on buying the best WiFi routers.
The upper range is what changes with the tech. Routers with the AC designation are 3x the speed of G or N and also backward compatible.
The frequency your router broadcasts will affect its range and speed. Older routers were at 2.4GHz, N and AC routers have a 5GHz option. Read this full guide to know which one is best, 2.4Ghz or 5Ghz.
Back to the settings, you can utilize both and use that as a way to meter out the connection. Remember, even though 5Ghz is faster, the frequency is higher, meaning it is easier to interrupt than 2.4GHz.
Finally, the standard-issue antennas are adequate but not exceptional. If you want to extend the WiFi range, you need to purchase bigger antennas.
Attaching a new antenna involves unscrewing the old one and then screwing the new one on. A good antenna gets long, in the 10-15 inches range, so plan accordingly on your router placement.
If your home is big enough, WiFi boosters or repeaters are an option. These cost as much as a good router by themselves but work to carry a signal farther.
As these systems accept, amplify, and then transmit a WiFi signal, they don't require additional settings. They simply repeat what the router sends with all its settings intact.
Before you get too far into a total retrofit of your home WiFi setup, consider a quick call. The best... "how to get faster WiFi" answer can come down to checking that your ISP has your service configured properly.
Reach out and contact us about outages and package speeds. We're more than happy to make certain your service works right and fast.