How To Improve Your Wifi Router Performance pt2
This is the second of three parts about WiFi performance in routers. You want your internet fast and don't want to wait! Fair enough. It's a fairly complex topic so that is why I'm splitting it into three parts. Of course if it's too much, feel free to get one of our techs to help - 0800349669
Now that you understand the top 5 factors that affect WiFi performance, it’s time to take a closer thing at some of the things you can do to improve it.
ONE - Select a Good Place for Your Router
Not all places are equally suitable for your router. To start with, you want to avoid placing your wifi router close to metal objects and appliances that emit electromagnetic waves. Metal is the biggest disrupter of a WiFi signal, and its presence close to a WiFi router can easily create a large dead zone.
Other materials, including glass, wood, plastics, foam, and cardboard, can also disrupt a WiFi signal, but they are not as bad.
Strictly speaking, all household appliances emit electromagnetic waves to some degree, even fluorescent lightbulbs, circuit breakers, and electric razors. The biggest emitters of electromagnetic waves tend to be found in the kitchen, and they include stoves, microwave ovens, and dishwashers. Any electrical wiring is an internet blocker too.
To cover an area with an even WiFi signal, you should place your WiFi router roughly in the centre of the area you want to cover. Obviously this needs to be approached practically but certainly avoid putting the router at one end of the house if you want Wi-Fi to reach the other end. You can slightly boost your wireless signal by elevating the internet router above the floor level e.g. mounted on the wall.
TWO - Keep Your Router Updated
If you follow the news, you’ve heard about the growing number of large-scale malware attacks that are costing businesses and individuals alike billions every year. Many of these attacks wouldn’t be possible if all routers were kept updated. Once a malware infects a router, it can steal bandwidth and spread itself across the network to other devices.
But even without a presence of a dangerous malware, routers with old firmware perform worse than routers that are properly updated.
This isn't an easy thing to fix but can be very effective.
To check if your router is running the newest firmware available:
1. Launch a web browser on your computer or laptop while you are connected to your network.
2. Enter the IP address of the router into the web browser. If you don’t know what the IP address is, check if there is an information sticker somewhere on the router.
3. Log in with admin username and password. Again, if you don’t know what the right admin password is, look at the information sticker on the bottom or back of your router.
4. Look for an option called Firmware Update or Router Update. There are many different routers, you may need to do some digging to find the right option. Some make it easy and download it automatically for you and some require you to go to their website and download it first. This can be complicated (sorry!).
5. Wait until your router installs the latest firmware. You will lose internet while this happens. NEVER interrupt the update. If it takes a long time and your router appears to be unresponsive, give it a few more minutes before you disconnect the router from power and turn it on again. If you do interrupt the router updating it could make it inoperable.
THREE - Get a Stronger Antenna
Most WiFi routers come with small, weak antennas. It’s not that manufacturers want to save every cent they can, but powerful WiFi antennas tend to be hideously large. Compared to the antenna that came with your router, which probably is just a few inches tall and has around 4 dB gain, a 10 dB antenna can be anywhere between 10 and 15 inches tall.
But if you don’t mind the size, a new, powerful WiFi antenna is a great way how you can boost Wi-Fi at home or office without buying a new router. BUT, not all routers will have the option of a bigger antenna. The best idea is to get a router with bigger antennae in the first place, but of course that is not always an option.
FOUR - Cut Off WiFi Leeches
An encrypted, password protected wireless internet is a must these days. With more people than ever relying on WiFi, the desire for open, fast WiFi networks is real. Don’t think that your neighbours won’t use your WiFi network just because they have their own — they will. Not to mention criminal elements who would gladly use your wifi for their illegal activity.
You should encrypt your WiFi and protect it with a strong password that can’t be easily guessed. A strong password should:
* I'm not a fan of the excess requirements of passwords tht some website etc make. They insist it must include a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, symbols, and numbers. INSTEAD just make it LONG. Use a short phrase without spaces e.g.myfavoritedogisspot
* Don’t use common passwords, such as 123456, qwerty, and so on. You can find a list of the most common passwords here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_the_most_common_passwords .
* Don’t include any personal information in the password, such as your name, birthday or your telephone number.
* Don’t write it on a piece of paper - a notebook on the bookcase is safer than a piece of paper on the computer desk.
If you have lots of guests, many routers allow you to create a separate guest network and protect it with a different password. It's worth changing the password on that guest account regularly.
FIVE - Buy a WiFi Repeater/ Booster/ Extender
Even though they are referred to by many names, WiFi boosters, repeaters, and extenders are basically the same thing.
WiFi repeaters are relatively simple devices that take an existing signal from your WiFi router and rebroadcast it as a new network. The repeater takes whatever signal it is getting and repeats it. They need to be placed quite carefully as you put them too far away from the router they will only repeat the low signal they are getting further.
WiFi boosters and extenders are very similar, but they also amplify the existing signal before rebroadcasting it to create a second network. Because WiFi boosters typically have greater range than WiFi repeaters, they make sense in situations where the original signal is very weak. The best way to use them is a network cable that goes through the house and then connects to the Wi-Fi extender. This guarantees the signal it is boosting is 100%.
Next week - 5 more things you can do to improve your Wi-Fi