There are few things more frustrating than a slow Internet connection, especially when you are working from home and trying to communicate with colleagues.
Slow Internet connection speeds are often linked to problems at your ISP, infrastructure providers, or even undersea fibre cable breaks.
However, the problem causing slow or unreliable connection speeds may be your home network.
This is especially true if you notice your connection speeds suddenly dropping off before recovering again, or if there are certain locations in your home where it is difficult to get a good connection.
Below are five ways you can improve the speed of your home Internet connection.
Change your Wi-Fi channel
Most users will share the default Wi-Fi channel with their neighbours and other nearby routers.
This can cause congestion and result in connection and speed issues – especially if you live in a densely-populated area where Wi-Fi connections are likely to overlap.
Changing the Wi-Fi channel on your router is relatively straightforward:
- Navigate to your router’s default gateway.
- Log into the router’s web management interface
- Navigate to Wi-Fi settings
- For each Wi-Fi band, select your desired Wi-Fi channel from the options in your router’s WLAN settings
While it may not provide a significant boost to your speed, changing this setting could improve the reliability of your connection.
Kick off users and enable QoS
It is a good idea to check which devices are connected to your Wi-Fi network.
How you access this information depends on your router’s brand and firmware, but it can usually be found within security, traffic management, or LAN settings.
Remove any users you do not recognise or who are using unnecessary amounts of bandwidth, or change your Wi-Fi password to lock out others from your network.
A good idea for keeping your router clean of lingering devices is to create a guest network for devices which do not belong to you. You can then disable this SSID when necessary.
Another feature accessible within many router’s firmware is Quality of Service (QoS) settings, which allow you to prioritise traffic to various degrees.
This is useful if you are sharing a connection with others or have limited bandwidth, as you can prioritise standard Internet operations over streaming and downloading, or vice versa.
Change router position
Wi-Fi connections can degrade when they need to penetrate multiple walls or other objects to reach you.
Additionally, some electronic devices such as microwaves can interfere with your Wi-Fi connection, and it is best to move your Wi-Fi router away from these.
It is also important to note that you may be using the wrong Wi-Fi band, depending on your position relative to your router.
The 5GHz Wi-Fi band is great for lower latency and more bandwidth, but its penetration is poorer than 2.4GHz – which means that if you are a number of rooms away from your router it will actually perform worse than 2.4GHz.
The inverse is also true – if you find that your connection is slow on 2.4GHz and you are right next to your router, switching to the 5GHz band may help significantly, especially if your 2.4GHz band is congested.
DIY speed upgrade
If your Wi-Fi connection is still slower than you would like, or it struggles to reach your device but your router is immovable, you can try to boost the Wi-Fi signal yourself.
The easiest solution is to either buy a Wi-Fi range extender to improve the coverage of your home Wi-Fi network.
You could also build your own extended antenna to improve coverage within your home, although this may have mixed results depending on which guide you follow.
Another more advanced option would be to install new firmware on your router to boost the broadcasting power of your transmitting antenna.
Firmware such as DD-WRT can be used to increase the TX Power setting of your hardware to improve coverage.
It must be noted that flashing your router with new firmware is not recommended for those without networking experience.
Plug into your router
The simplest solution to resolving issues with Wi-Fi speeds is to remove the wireless component of the equation altogether.
For maximum connection speeds, you should always plug your PC into your router with an Ethernet cable.
This is more reliable than Wi-Fi and delivers better speeds with lower latency.
If your device is located far away from your router and you cannot get decent Wi-Fi coverage, it may be worth it to purchase a Powerline adapter.
These use your existing lines as direct LAN connections to your router, meaning you do not need to drill holes in your walls to run Ethernet cables between rooms.