Seven tips to make your home WiFi work better

Seven tips to make your home WiFi work better

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It is useless to have the most advanced fiber optics at home if the WiFi network then gives us problems and the theoretical maximum speed that a connection is capable of giving us will always be limited by the configuration of the WiFi network.

Yes, a modern WiFi network is capable of reaching a theoretical download speed of up to 1 Gbps (with the 802.11ac standard) but in reality there are many factors that reduce that figure.

But with a few small changes, and understanding how these networks work, it is possible to better squeeze the available transfer capacity. If your home WiFi is slow, these seven tips will help you improve it.

WiFi routers are rarely attractive but if we try to hide them behind a shelf or in the drawer, the signal is going to have a hard time reaching the devices. The ideal location for a router is in the center of the room and up high, away from walls and other metal objects and devices.

It is understandable that we do not want to put it right in the center of the room, but the ideal is to find a place on a table or a shelf at half height, near the center of the house, and make sure it does not have many obstructions around it.

Today everyone uses WiFi networks and if we live in a city, that means that our network competes with that of our neighbors in the use of available radio space. Modern WiFi standards include protections against interference but it is inevitable if there are many around.

If you have access to the router settings, it is possible to change the broadcast channel to one with less traffic. There are mobile apps (like Wifi Analyzer ) that scan nearby networks and let you know which channels are the least loaded.

Not all routers allow this and in some of the more recent ones the design is precisely optimized so that they cannot be seen, but if the antenna or antennas of the WiFi router can be removed, it is possible to buy larger ones with which to achieve greater coverage. It is important that the antenna is extended straight up, perpendicular to the base of the router.

A few tricks, like using a beer or soda can open lengthwise and parabolically on the antenna, can help you gain some coverage, especially if the router is attached to a wall, but they are generally not worth it.

If all the channels are saturated, consider using a wireless network that broadcasts at 5 Ghz instead of 2.4 Ghz (the usual in WiFi connections). From the router configuration utility, if it is relatively modern, it is possible to create these networks.

Networks that broadcast in 5 GHz have slightly less range than those that broadcast in 2.4 GHz but it is also usually a space freer of interference. Make sure, yes, that your devices are compatible with these frequencies. Some older products may only be compatible with 2.4Ghz WiFi networks.

If we have a network not protected by a password or with a WEP password (an old encryption system no longer in use), it is possible that someone is using our WiFi network to connect to the Internet, occupying part of the available bandwidth. If the router allows us to see which devices are connected, it is convenient to do an audit and make sure that only our phones, computers and devices are using the network.

Changing the WiFi password periodically or at least avoiding using the default one is also usually a good idea.

If we live in a large apartment or house or with several floors, it is possible that the router signal does not reach every corner well. There are two good solutions to this problem.

The first is to use WiFi network repeaters, small adapters that extend the coverage area. They can give problems when we move between the coverage area of ​​the main router and the repeater but for static devices, such as a PC, they can be a good solution.

Better still is to use “mesh” wifi routers, which are routers specifically designed to coordinate with various access points throughout the house. They are a solution that has become popular in recent years and that works very well. Netgear Orbi, Google WiFi, Eero or TP-Link Deco are some of the “mesh” wifi router systems that are available on the market today. Many are sold in packs of two and three routers to cover large areas.

A fairly common reason why WiFi networks are slower than expected is that the software and hardware of the connected equipment is not up to date.

It is important to update the WiFi router to the latest available version of its software (usually it can be done from the configuration tool). The same with the devices that we connect to the network. The ideal, and not only to ensure great speed, is that they are always updated.

It is rare that we are in a home where all devices are compatible with the latest versions of WiFi (802.11ac or 802.11ax). Many older phones and PCs or game consoles, for example, use 802.11g or 802.11n, slower transfer speed standards. This can drag on the speed of the entire network, simply due to the fact that these devices take longer to communicate and download large files, taking up part of the bandwidth that more efficient devices could be using.

If possible – for example in the case of an old PC – it is advisable to buy a modern WiFi adapter that connects via USB and use it instead of the one that comes by default

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