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Wednesday, 02 March 2016 11:19

How to Improve Your Wi-Fi

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Question: I'm not getting the Internet speeds I thought I would from my home's Wi-Fi network. Are there things I can do to speed things up?

Answer: If your Wi-Fi router is out of date or not set up correctly, it could be slowing you down. Here are some tips to help you maximize router performance and enjoy the Internet speed you ordered:

1. Choose the right channel. Slow Wi-Fi speeds may be the result of interference from your neighbors' Wi-Fi networks as all the devices compete to use the same channel. For example, if neighbors are downloading a Netflix movie using the same Wi-Fi channel as your home's WiFi router, you'll need to wait for their data to be downloaded before your router can "talk."

Routers have many channels, and you can switch to a different one to reduce the risk of congestion. Channel 6 is the default setting for most routers, and it has a higher risk of being congested, especially in apartment and condo buildings. We suggest you select one of the other non-overlapping channels – 1 or 11. Your router may automatically take care of this for you; many models have an auto setting and simply rebooting the router causes it to find a cleaner channel.

2. Move your router to its ideal position. For the best signal and coverage, put your router in an open space near the center of your home. Keep it away from thick walls made of brick or concrete, and make sure it's not around metal items which can interfere with Wi-Fi signals. It may also help to position the router's antenna vertically rather than horizontally.

3. Check for interference from a nearby cordless device. Baby monitors, older cordless phones, microwave ovens, wireless speakers, and some security cameras are among the common household gadgets that also use the 2.4Ghz frequency. These can interfere with the wireless signal from your router. Deal with the conflict by moving the router away from these devices.

4. Make sure your router is secure. Putting a password on your router or limiting which devices can access your network will keep other people in the neighborhood from using your network and slowing it down.

5. Buy a new router. One of the best ways to make sure your network is as fast and reliable as possible is to use up-to-date hardware. With the proliferation of connected home products, smartphones, smart TVs, and other mobile computing devices, it's more important than ever to equip your home with a wireless router that can handle the increased demand for Wi-Fi connectivity. When choosing a new router, you should consider the size of your coverage area, number of users, and types of devices. All of the new 801.11ac routers are dual-band, enabling faster connections. We suggest you get one of these routers to improve your Wi-Fi performance.

6. Get a wireless signal extender. If your home is larger than about 3,000 square feet, getting good Wi-Fi signal from one corner to another can be a challenge. Multistory homes can also be difficult if the router isn't plugged into the broadband line somewhere on the middle level. In these cases, you may want to consider using a wireless extender which boosts your Wi-Fi signal to hard-to-reach places. A typical extender uses the A/C power line to connect a second wireless router to the main router. There are also wireless repeaters available, which regenerate the Wi-Fi signal. You might put a repeater halfway between your router and your device. You can expect, however, to get about half the speed off the repeater than what you get off the original router.

- Cornerstone Group