Although you may not be familiar with the form of internet technology known as IEEE 802.11, you are almost certainly familiar with the term "Wi-Fi." Although the common misconception is that "Wi-Fi" is an abbreviated form of "Wireless Fidelity," it was a rather clever piece of marketing terminology that just happened to catch on with the public. No matter what name you use to refer to this marvel of modern technology, having the ability to connect multiple devices via a wireless router that allows internet access within a proscribed radius is incredibly useful. While having a Wi-Fi network can make accessing the internet possible where ethernet cables cannot provide a solution, several things can prevent you from enjoying the full extent of your wireless network.
Account for physical limitations like walls, floors, and ceilings
Depending on the type of Wi-Fi router and its overall technological capabilities, you could enjoy up to thousands of feet of coverage from your wireless network. However, it is extremely important to note that any advertised maximum range or strength for your Wi-Fi is measured under ideal conditions, which may not be reflected in your home, workspace, or other environment. There are many factors that can reduce your Wi-Fi network's effectiveness, including the physical composition of the floors, walls, and ceilings of a given location. Thickness and frequency of physical barriers can also pose a significant impediment along with the proximity of heavy electrical currents, frequent utilization of metal and cement in construction, and the presence of other electronic devices.
Only use the most current forms of Wi-Fi technology
Given how fast generations of modern technology replace each other in the race for the quickest and best user experience, it is vital that you keep your own infrastructure as current as possible. By investing the time and capital in future-proof technology like Wi-Fi 6 and the in-development Wi-Fi 7, you are making a very wise investment. Such technology is only useful if it is properly maintained and updated, so you should check that your Wi-Fi router's firmware is updated to the latest version. Not only will this help keep your wireless network safer from potential cyber security breaches, but it will also help ensure that your network maintains constant communication with all connected devices.
Many pieces of advice across the internet purport to offer solutions to slow internet speed and lagging Wi-Fi, perhaps none more popular than "have you tried turning it on and off again"? Despite this term becoming something of a running joke, this advice will solve an impressive number of frustrating issues related to Wi-Fi. Here are some valuable tips that should provide actionable solutions in many cases:
- Try power cycling your Wi-Fi by unplugging it or switching it off for at least 30 seconds. If that doesn't work, try performing a power cycle reset on your internet modem and removing and reconnecting all devices connected to your wireless network.
- As previously discussed, physical obstacles can have notable impacts on your Wi-Fi network's range, speed, and connectivity. If you are experiencing issues with your current setup, you should consider relocating your wireless router to a more open location, if possible. Ideal locations include a centralized area with options for placing the unit at greater heights for maximum signal dispersal.
- If your Wi-Fi router is appropriately equipped to do so, you should try switching between the various Wi-Fi frequency band available. Virtually all Wi-Fi routers provide the standard 2.4 GHz, which is the most used frequency for security cameras and smart home devices. The 5 GHz frequency band offers significantly stronger signals at the cost of the overall range, so you should have high-demand devices like PCs and gaming consoles connected to such networks.
- While some people may think they are purely ornamental, the antennae on your Wi-Fi router can have a tangible impact on the overall performance of your wireless internet. Since router antennae are generally organized in an omnidirectional array to maximize signal spread, aiming some of your antennae towards specific rooms or devices can make a lot of difference.
- Purge your Wi-Fi network of all unnecessary connections by either disconnecting each individual device or setting a new Wi-Fi password and reconnecting devices one by one. Some routers come with smartphone apps to easily manage connected devices, so it may be worth purchasing such a device.
- Consider switching from a traditional Wi-Fi router to a mesh network for more even coverage, as well as purchasing technology to extend the range of your existing Wi-Fi, including wired access points, boosters, powerline extenders and repeaters.
- If it has been a while since you purchased your router, it might just be time to invest in a more recent model with advanced capabilities. It may also be worth buying your own modem and router rather than renting them from your ISP to save money and exert greater control of your Wi-Fi network.
- Speaking of ISPs, you should regularly check to see if you are receiving the level of bandwidth that you are paying for monthly. Should it turn out that your ISP cannot live up to its advertised upload and download speeds, you should strongly consider seeing if it is possible to switch to a different provider.
- Check your router to ensure that it is operating using the latest firmware version. Some routers can provide automatic updates but knowing that you are working with the most recent patches for covering security gaps, eliminating annoying bugs, and optimized code can give real peace of mind.