How To

How to Get Faster WiFi at Home

By Staff Reporter , Jul 29, 2020 08:25 AM EDT

Do you know that the placement and settings of your router can play a significant role in making your WiFi signal incredibly stronger? If you are not getting and enjoying the internet speeds you pay for, despite using the best WiFi analyzer app, then you need to consider several factors affecting the performance of your router.

Internet usage has surged considerably in the past few weeks as more people work from home. Streaming platforms such as Hulu, Netflix, and the likes have even slowed down their speeds in order to cope effectively with the influx of untold demand. However, barring these, many factors can still affect your WiFi signals which your WiFi analyzer app may or may not reveal.

So, what could be slowing down your WiFi? Let's take a look:

What Slows Down WiFi?

Several factors that you don't even consider can cause slow WiFi. In most cases, slow WiFi is usually attributed to the connection of multiple devices to a single channel or users that do substantial bandwidth-heavy undertakings. The positioning of your router or your outdated drivers and hardware could also be another reason why your wireless network is extremely slow.  

Here are factors that impact WiFi speed:

You are on the Wrong Channel

WiFi networks usually have two distinct frequencies: 2.4GHz and 5GHz. These frequency bands have a significant impact on the distance your data can cover and how fast it transmits. If you are on a 2.4GHz network, you will get a much better range but at slower speeds. On a 5GHz network, however, you will get faster internet speeds but at the cost of signal range. 

A 5GHz connection is not powerful enough to penetrate walls. A 2.4GHz connection, on the other hand, is preferable for those who live in cities. This is because it has less interference or noise when compared to a 5GHz network. You can use a WiFi analyzer app to check the network in order to find the most congested channels.  

These frequency bands are also available on different channels. Devices in North America that use 2.4GHz, for instance, generally have 11 channels, three of which tend to be used the most, i.e. Channels 1,6, and 11. This is because these channels do not overlap each other.

But there is a problem or problems as the case may be: microwaves, cordless phones as well as other devices transmit signals at that frequency, i.e. 2.4GHz. So, if any of these devices sit near your router, your WiFi signal may slow down. You will also have the same experience if you have neighbors with several devices running on the same frequency.

Building Materials

Building materials like metals, brick, wood, drywall, and concrete are usually some of the biggest impediments of WiFi signals. These materials easily disrupt WiFi, AM/FM, cellulars signals.

Open layout-styled homes should help with WiFi coverage, but this is not a guarantee if you have large furniture, thick walls, and cabinets along with energy-efficient glass or metal all around. These could significantly impede WiFi signals from reaching your smartphone or devices.

Distance from the Router

The farther you are from your router/modem, the weaker the WiFi signal that originates there and the speed as well. This will negatively impact the performance of your devices.

Baby Monitors, Cordless Phones, Microwaves, etc.

Baby monitors, cordless phones, wireless speakers, microwaves, wireless security cameras, and the likes usually operate on the same frequency - i.e. 2.4GHz - thereby significantly lowering your WiFi speeds. Plasma TVs, older Bluetooth devices as well as fluorescent lights and wireless controllers also interfere with WiFi signals. 

When several appliances run on the same frequency, a signal jam of frequencies occur. This ultimately results in snail-speed WiFi signals.

Your Devices

Devices are not created equal because newer computers, smartphones, and tablets will be faster than older versions. However, they may also not be able to reach full-wired speeds. 

Most modems/routers will typically slow down to the speed of the slowest device in your arsenal. This implies that even if you have new devices capable of transmitting or receiving at incredibly high speeds, they will be severely limited and prevented from reaching their full potential because of a slower machine.

Connecting Too Many Devices

Google Home Minis, IP cameras, smart plugs, smart bulbs, and the likes have filled many homes with IoT (Internet of Things) devices. And each one sits on the WiFi network and runs with its unique IP address.  

If you use an older router, your WiFi will be slow because they are not designed to handle several state-of-the-art devices all at once. You will experience dropouts when you push past specific points. 

Too Many Users

The speed of your internet connection is inversely proportional to the number of devices connected to your router/modem.

Several individuals may be connected to your router via their smartphones, computers, tablets, smart TVs, media streaming sticks, game consoles, smart home hubs, you name it. All these devices and appliances are either sending or receiving information at one point or the other. Each of these activities from several devices or gadgets take up a little of the total bandwidth available, whether silently in the background or actively. 

A Heavily-congested WiFi Channel

If your WiFi channel is heavily congested, the signal will be infuriatingly slow. This is an occurrence that is usually common in urban centers, particularly apartment blocks, where neighbors also use their own WiFi to access the internet.

You may be surrounded with hundreds of WiFi networks which also take a little of the available frequency bandwidth, thereby slowing down your WiFi.

How Do You Analyze A WiFi Signal?

WiFi analysis is a necessity, especially when performed using a durable and trusted WiFi analyzer app. It reveals the channels that are used the least and also provides additional information that will aid comprehensive WiFi optimization. 

This invaluable tool will not only help in diagnosing problems but will also contribute to optimizing your WiFi network. You can make use of the best WiFi analyzer app to boost the reliability and speed of your wireless network. 

WiFi analysis is not rocket science; as long as you have the right tool to use - which is a good WiFi analyzer app - you are good to go.

When using the best WiFi analyzer app like NetSpot, for instance, you have two options: the Discover Mode and the Survey Mode.

The Discover Mode is a quick method of analyzing a WiFi network. You will instantly see the full list of available WiFi networks in your area along with vital information about each of them including network name, WiFi standard, security settings, band and channel, signal strength, noise level, and so on.

The Survey Mode allows you to carry out a more in-depth WiFi site survey. You can create a WiFi heatmap so that you can see where your wireless signal is strong as well as where you need some improvement.

Combining these two methods of WiFi analysis, you will get an excellent idea of the overall performance of your WiFi network and what you need to do to make your WiFi faster. 

How to improve WiFi

Place your router in the sweet spot

The best place to position or place your router should be somewhere in the center of your home, atop a shelf or table instead of the floor. When the router is in the open, it is free from any encumbrances posed by walls or other obstructions. 

It is highly recommended to limit the corners and number of walls WiFi signals has to traverse. So, placing your router right in the middle of your residence will go a long way in avoiding black spots. 

Keep Your Router/Modem Away from Other Electronic Devices

Placing your router near your TV or telephone is not a good idea as these gadgets inhibit WiFi signals. Therefore, ensure that your router is kept far away from other electronic devices such as TVs, fairy lights, AC power cords, and fairy lights.

Update Your Router

Most people overlook this method whenever they have challenges with their WiFi speeds. You need to ensure that your router runs on the latest software and firmware obtained from the manufacturer. 

Updates typically come with security fixes, but they will not make your router start transmitting at lightning speeds. However, whatever incremental gain you obtain can be of incredibly helpful. By updating your router, you will surely experience and enjoy a significant boost.

Switch Your Router to A Different Band

This method is possible only if you make use of a dual- or tri-band router. You will be able to separate them in order to maximize WiFi speed effectively.

Therefore, if your router is of the dual-band variety, you should assign some to the less crowded 5GHz band. 

Change the Channel

If other WiFi networks are near you, causing you to experience radio interference, consider changing the channel to less cluttered frequencies. Some routers can automatically do this courtesy of the way they have been designed. However, some are not too good at automatically finding clearer frequencies as conditions change. 

Therefore, explore your router's settings and methodically try other channels to see if that would help.

Conclusion

Making sure your home WiFi network runs incredibly well is always worth the effort you put into it. By following the tips discussed earlier along with NetSpot, the best WiFi analyzer, you will no longer experience slow wireless network speeds in your home.

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