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If you’re suffering from WiFi woes, you’re not alone. In recent years, our reliance on at-home internet connectivity has skyrocketed.

Whether it’s for home working, home schooling, gaming or on-demand streaming, many of us have come to the realisation that our home WiFi and internet connectivity might not be quite up to the ever-increasing demands placed upon it.

So, the age-old question: how do I improve my WiFi speed?

Naturally, you could get in touch with your service provider and look to switch or upgrade your package. But, before you do, there’s a few things you might want to try — from quick checks to technical tweaks, you’d be surprised how many small changes can result in connectivity speed, strength and range improvements! 

Top tips for better WiFi speed, strength & range

1. Move your router to a more central location

As simple as it sounds, the position of your router in your home can have a significant impact on the performance of your WiFi. Physical distance is the number one factor in WiFi speed — signal degrades (and speeds can fall) the further away from the router you are.

Understandably, lots of us tend to hide them away in a corner — aesthetically speaking, these typically black boxes are hardly renowned for their design features or good looks.

However, if you can, it would benefit your connectivity to move it to a more central location. Even if it’s just on the other side of the TV stand, for example, the improvement can be instantaneous. 

Remember the days of standing on a chair to try and send an SMS? The youngest among us perhaps won’t, but the same principle applies — if you’re searching for a new location for your router, also consider raising it up to get more centralised in your house.

Many routers also have adjustable antennae. Clearly, having these upright is going to give your WiFi the best possible chance of optimal speed, strength and range.

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2. Remove any obstructions or interference

Household objects can absorb (or even completely block) your WiFi signal. Part of moving the router also means removing as many obstructions to the signal as possible; things like walls, doors, home appliances, furniture (and even people!) can all hamper signals.

Interference can be an issue, too. WiFi signals occupy the same electromagnetic spectrum radio frequency band as many other household devices like baby monitors, radios, microwave ovens, walkie talkies and cell phones.

Washing machines, tumble dryers, TVs and cordless phones can also be to blame. Other WiFi networks can also interfere with each other, something common to blocks of flats.

Again, as obvious as it stands, try to minimise things between you and your router as much as you can. Part of this is seeking out a centralised location.

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3. Watch out for interference (and what to do)

If you live in a block of flats or in close proximity (20m) to your neighbours, it is likely that you are receiving interference from your neighbour’s router. You may notice a jittery connection on your device — it may drop out even if you’re right next to the router!

Fear not — you can tweak your router’s settings to help remove that. All WiFi routers broadcast on 2.4Ghz or 5Ghz. Within each broadcast frequency, you can fine tune that frequency through pre-set Channels. 2.4Ghz has 13 channels; 5Ghz has 25 channels.  

On your mobile phone, download and install a WiFi analyzer app and install — we think ‘WiFi Monitor’ is great. Open the app and connect to your network. Stand next to your router — this will allow you to see the results from your router’s perspective.

On the app will be a graph showing all the channels. It will show your connection channel in relation to all the interfering channels from other routers nearby. Locate a channel that has the least congestion — ideally a channel on its own, and note the channel number.

If you have a dual band router, do this for both 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz. Now, navigate to your router’s settings. Under WiFi settings, change the router’s channel to the one you would like it to broadcast on. It’s likely this will be set to auto as default.

Restart the router and voila – your connectivity will be more stable.

Top tip technical difficulty rating: ⭐⭐⭐

(P.S., if you need a helping hand, get in touch with the IT4Home team of experts!)

4. Check it’s not your internet service provider to blame

It’s completely possible that the cause of a weak WiFi signal isn’t at your end, but it lies with your internet service provider (ISP). To rule this out, measure your wired internet performance.

Hook your laptop up to the internet with a wired connection and run a simple speed test — these can be found easily by searching online.

If the download and upload speeds don’t match what you’ve been advertised by your provider, it’s time to get in touch with them to double check what you’re signed up to and what is currently being provided. After all, you want to get the speed you’re paying for!

Your provider will also be able to perform a check on the cable running to your house; over time, this might have degraded. Your provider will also be able to reveal if there’s a problem in your area — they might have had to reduce speeds temporarily locally, for example.

If your connection is running as it should, then it might just be the case that your family has  outgrown or out-deviced your current service plan — so consider an upgraded package.

Top tip technical difficulty rating: ⭐⭐

5. Reboot your router and equipment

Any fans of The IT Crowd will be familiar with this age-old advice — ‘have you tried turning it off and on again?’

Well, it sounds obvious, but this quick fix can often restore your WiFi signal to its previous high-performing peak. A reboot allows your router to clear its memory out and install any key upgrades. Consider giving the same restart treatment to your laptop, computer, phone for good measure, too.

Look for a reboot button on your router — many are located on the back and may need a long, pointy object in order to reach. Otherwise, simply disconnect and reconnect. Be patient as your router restarts; it may need to install quite a few updates.

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6. Check it’s not a problem with the device

If you’ve got multiple devices, connect them and compare the speed in the same room. If one is markedly faster than the other, then it’s most likely that the problem is to do with the device itself, rather than any speed or signal issue relating to the ISP or router.

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7. Use the 5GHz frequency (and what to do if you can’t) 

If you have a dual band router (meaning you can choose between 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequencies), and you’re currently using the 2.4GHz option, switch to 5GHz.

Typically, 5GHz is much less busy than the more commonly-used and busier 2.4GHz frequency. This quick change easily provides more signal clarity, speed and reliability.

To perform this tweak, log into your router as an admin and navigate to ‘settings’ and ‘wireless settings’. Make sure the 802.11 band is set to dual to include 5GHz, rather than just 2.4 GHz, then confirm and restart your router.

One disadvantage is that 5GHz is less capable of penetrating solid objects, so consider using both bands if that’s an option and allow your device to pick the best one.

If your router isn’t a dual one, and 2.4GHz is what you’re working with, you can boost this by removing some of the interference from other devices and appliances. Again, try to choose a more central location in your home if possible — away from any potentially pesky interfering objects or devices.

Top tip technical difficulty rating: ⭐⭐⭐

(If you’re a bit perplexed, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team!)

8. Check for bandwidth hoggers — and make use of ‘Quality of Service’ if you can

Sometimes, the issue isn’t with your WiFi signal strength, but the amount it’s being asked to do. Video calls, 4K streaming, gaming and downloading large files can easily max out your internet capacity. Make sure you manage what’s using your bandwidth.

If you have a modern router, it’s possible to prioritise certain applications through managing your router’s QoS (quality of service) settings. Log into your router’s admin area, navigate to ‘wireless settings’ (or similar), then look for quality of service settings.

These can be configured easily to ensure that your Netflix stream gets priority over the gaming session happening upstairs — but don’t tell the kids!

Top tip technical difficulty rating: ⭐⭐⭐

(As always, if you get stuck, message the IT4Home team of experts.)

9. Step up your network security

Part of ‘de-hogging’ comes down to security, too. Are there any potential leeches on your connection?

We hope your WiFi is password protected already, but if it isn’t — do so immediately. It’s the quickest way to kick off any lurkers and if anyone else has been using your connection, their removal will free up some bandwidth for you!

Remember to only give your password to people you know and trust as most devices will auto connect if they come within range — understandably, this may slow your connection down. 

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10. Make sure your router’s firmware is completed up to date

Routers that have outdated firmware are more likely to perform poorly than those with the latest updates installed.

Check the information sticker on your router — there should be an IP address. Put this into a browser, then log in with your details (these can also sometimes be found on the router sticker).

Take a look around the interface for a ‘firmware upgrade’ or ‘router upgrade’ option to make sure you’re completely up to date! If you’re not, your router will find and install this upgrade — just make sure to not interrupt it at any point.

Top tip technical difficulty rating: ⭐⭐⭐

(If you need a helping hand, get in touch with the IT4Home team of experts!)

11. Consider a ‘mesh’ WiFi system

If you have a big property which isn’t completely covered by your router, a ‘mesh’-style system will help you to patch up those black spots.

This consists of a main router working in tandem with satellite units, helping to optimise the coverage and signal strength right across your house. These can be usefully scaled up or down based on your needs.

If you’d like some more information on whether a system like this could work for your home, feel free to get in touch with our team.

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12. Get a new, upgraded router

Like much of the tech we use today, the router you’re using has a service life limit — many only perform at their peak for around three years. If you have a low-end router, too, it’s obviously not going to provide consistent, reliable WiFi as often as a more expensive, high-end alternative.

So, if your router’s old, cheap (or both!), it may be time to consider an upgrade. We’d recommend getting a new router every 2–3 years. Many providers will offer upgrades to routers with their packages, or will be able to sell you a new one. Some people even buy their own routers.

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13. Get a better router antenna

Most routers come with the standard short, 4-dB antenna — a few inches tall at most. If you don’t mind a bit more height, you can look online for a 10-dB ‘rubber duck’ antenna. These are usually around 10 inches tall, so might not be for every household aesthetically-speaking — but they can certainly take your signal to the next level.

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14. Alter your Domain Name System (DNS)

A DNS is what converts domain names (like www.weareyourit.co.uk) into an IP address. Your modem is probably configured to your provider’s DNS server, which might not be the best.  A quick change may bring about some tangible speed benefits.

Running a domain name speed check will help you to find the fastest DNS in your area — applications that do this can be found by searching online (although be careful which one you choose — we’d recommend DNS Nameserver Performance Benchmark by GRC's).

Once downloaded, under Nameservers, select Run Benchmark. Upon completion, navigate to the Conclusions tab. Once you’ve found the best DNS address, log in to your router settings and replace the default address with this new one.

Top tip technical difficulty rating: ⭐⭐⭐

(If you need a helping hand, get in touch with the IT4Home team of experts!)

15. Upgrade your plan

As simple as it sounds, your internet plan might be the cause of your speed and signal woes. Smart home appliances, TVs, phones, laptops, printers — we can easily lose track of just how many devices are connected to our WiFi!

Have a chat with your ISP and see what deals there might be to upgrade your plan — and don’t be afraid to shop around in search of the best offer.

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16. Utilise a WiFi extender or booster 

If you cannot limit or remove barriers to your WiFi signal, it can be worth trying to circumnavigate the issue with extenders (or ‘boosters’).

Although they’re by no means a panacea, these little devices are easy to purchase and can be placed around the home with the aim of maximising signal range and strength. They are usually simple to use and can plug into mains power.

For the full lowdown, explore our learning hub post on WiFi boosters.

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So, did that help?

Or are you still struggling with your wireless speed?

Whether it’s a computer crash, WiFi wobbles, a super-slow smart TV or a printer that won’t play ball or, there’s nothing relating to home technology that our IT superheroes can’t fix.

Oh, and for more top tips on getting the best connectivity possible in your home, make sure to head over to our WiFi Learning Hub.

Contact our tech team today