NetworkTips on improving wireless infrastructure and banishing “the WiFi is down” from your vocabulary.
How often have you heard the dreaded complaint, “the WiFi is down”? Fast and reliable wifi is one of the most important elements of a home office and increasingly, a comfortable living space. WiFi connects us not only to the world outside but also to all of the smart devices, computers, consoles, entertainment units, and more that we rely on every day.
If you’re struggling with WiFi connectivity issues, there are many steps that you can take to check to make sure you’re optimizing your current network setup, as well as certain upgrades you might want to consider to your gear. Whatever the issue, investing in reliable, fast WiFi is one of the most important steps you can take to ensure you can work, relax, stream, and download in comfort.
Quick fixes for faster internet
Before you consider changing your existing network gear, there are some tried and true fixes you can take first with what you already have in place. The following steps can help optimize your network setup and ensure that your router is working at its fullest capacity.
- Move your router: We don’t always think of it because WiFi is invisible, but putting your router in certain locations can cause issues with your connection. The most common blockage to your WiFi connection may be your neighbor’s setup. Apartment buildings often share crowded 2.4 GHz band networks, causing slower download times as networks jostle for access. If you share a wall with your neighbor, move the router to another area.
Other common blockages include microwaves, TVs, and other appliances. Although it may be tempting to hide the tangled wires, never set up a router behind a television set, as this can lead to weakened signals and interference. When in doubt, avoid setting up the router by any appliances, especially older microwaves and anything that uses radio frequency, such as baby monitors.
Finally, if you’ve moved the router away from all of your other appliances, you may still want to check on the layout of your space. Older homes and buildings with concrete or masonry walls, or thick timber can cause disrupted signals. So too can areas of water, such as large aquarium tanks. While you likely won’t be able to redesign the walls of your home, you might want to consider setting up your home office in the room with the router setup to reduce blockages. And definitely avoid setting up the aquarium in the same room if you have one.
- Change bands: Most current routers operate off of two frequencies, 2.4 GHz and 5GHz. Both have their own strengths and weaknesses. For instance, 5GHz offers faster connections but less signal strength. 2.4 GHz is a better choice for connections further away from the router but is slower and more susceptible to radio interference. If one band isn’t working for you, try changing to the other.
- Change your WiFi password: Prioritizing your network security can save you not only time and worries but also money. Cybercrime will cost the world $8 trillion in hacks, data breaches, stolen assets, ransoms and more in 2023. The number is only predicted to grow up to $10.5 trillion annually by 2025. One of the fastest ways you can keep your network secure and prevent WiFi leeches from draining off your signal is to ensure you’re operating on a private network with a secure password.
Useful upgrades for a better wireless network
If you’ve tried everything above already, there are several steps you can take in addition to optimize your network connections:
- Check your plan: Some carriers offer higher-speed access with an upgrade. It can’t hurt to check to see if your carrier has a better offer that will make your WiFi network complaint free. In today’s economy, investing in high-speed internet is investing in your own connection to the world.
- Consider a WiFi booster: For larger area layouts, a WiFi booster may do the trick to strengthen the signal throughout every room. A booster works by picking up the signal from your current router and amplifying it. It then rebroadcasts the stronger signal to devices. While they come in wireless and wired varieties, Network Tigers recommends choosing a wired or powerline booster for stronger, faster connections. Wireless boosters, while convenient, are subject to the same issues that might already be affecting your existing router, such as thick walls and radio interference. A wired booster on the other hand plugs directly into coaxial cable and so is a more fool-proof choice. Additionally, powerline boosters can be plugged directly into an electrical outlet in whatever area is having trouble being reached by your current signal.
- Try a mesh network: If more than one area is a problem, if you’re trying to cover over 3,000 square feet with signal, or if you have a non-traditional layout with brick or concrete walls, then a mesh network might be the fix you need. A mesh network conjoins two or more routers into one stronger, flexible WiFi network. Mesh WiFi is designed to fill in dead zones while auto-selecting the strongest network to join to deliver the signal. Once installed, it works seamlessly, so unlike with an extender, you won’t have to switch to another network in certain areas.
Ready for the final step? You may want to consider switching to the newest generation of WiFi available, WiFi 6. WiFi 6 is engineered to reach up to 9.6 Gbps. That’s compared to the 3.5 Gbps averaged by WiFi 5. This lightning-fast connectivity is more than you would ever need for just one device. However, the benefits are designed to be shareable across multiple devices simultaneously, so you can stream, download, and access the internet across one existing network faster, better, and more securely. When it comes to making your network complaint-free, WiFi 6 is the latest option on the market to ensure you have the best possible system setup.