In-home WiFi is one of the unsung heroes of the modern household. Not too long ago, connecting to the internet required a clunky old desktop attached to a home’s phone line. Cable broadband internet connections came along to dramatically increase internet speeds, but it wasn’t until high-quality WiFi routers hit the market that internet-powered devices were really able to take off.
Today’s users rely on fast WiFi for their computers and phones, but they also rely on WiFi for streaming video, playing online games, controlling their smart homes, and even arming their security systems when they’re away. WiFi is more important than ever in today’s homes, which is why WiFi problems can be so frustrating.
As you evaluate the health of the WiFi setup in your own home, here are a few fixes for common problems that you might encounter.
Check Your Service and Hardware
Let’s start things off by discussing the most common WiFi complaint: a slow connection. Almost every home will run into this issue from time-to-time, but thankfully, it’s fairly easy to troubleshoot.
First, make sure that your home’s core internet connection is up to par. If you’re subscribed to a dial-up or DSL internet service, not even the best WiFi router can do anything to make that connection feel fast. For the best results, make sure you’re subscribing to a solid cable or fiber internet company that offers the fastest speeds in your area.
Once you’ve ruled out your internet connection as the culprit, it’s time to take a look at your router’s core settings and features. Make sure you’re using the latest wireless technologies like 802.11ac or 802.11n (older routers that use 802.11g just can’t keep up with modern internet connections). Head to the manufacturer’s website and ensure that your router is using the latest firmware. Finally, if a connection seems unusually slow, sometimes a simple reboot is all it takes to fix things up.
Minimize Network Interference
If you’ve tried the steps above and are still encountering frequent slow or dropped connections, you might want to check your house for network interference. As WiFi routers use radio signals to communicate, they work the best in open areas where there are few obstructions to block the signal.
For the best results, make sure your router is a good distance from devices like microwaves and cordless phones, and take advantage of your router’s built-in tools to scan for the best channel to operate on; the latter is especially helpful if you’re using your router in an apartment building where there might be dozens of competing signals.
Boost the Connection in Weak Areas
Even if your router is configured to minimize interference, you might find your connection dropping when you’re trying to connect from the other side of your house or apartment.
If possible, try to locate your router in a centralized area of your home where its signal has the best chance of reaching every room. If your home is large or has thick walls, make sure your router’s 2.4GHz network is enabled (as signals on this frequency can travel longer distances). For larger homes, you may need a WiFi range extender to achieve optimal performance in every room.
Avoid Unsecured Connections
Once you get everything up and running, the final precaution you’ll want to take is to make your WiFi network’s connection as secure as possible. Make sure you’re using the latest encryption standards like WPA2, and choose a password that isn’t easy for others to guess. Not only will this help protect your personal information, but it will also prevent others from piggybacking on your network, which can also affect performance.
Follow the guidelines above, and you’ll have a wireless home network that’s fast, stable, and secure. Every home runs more efficiently with a rock-solid internet connection.