Often times we keep seeing how home router manufacturers and ISPs market their wireless equipment by promising fastest WiFi speeds. But your actual experience with the router will greatly differ and it would practically be far less than the promised “fastest WiFi speed” or “best throughput”!
It’s important for us understand that the manufacturer’s quoted speeds are the maximum level of wireless internet speed the given router can deliver. It is not what you should be expecting in everyday usage.
But, here are some things you can do to maximize your existing equipment’s performance.
Position your router
Positioning is really important! Make sure that you place your home router in the best position as this will ensure that the signal strength is consistent across your house. As a guide, consider placing your router at a high level; like on a high cabinet or on a bookshelf.
Try to give your router clear and clutter free space on all sides in order to maintain a good and consistent signal strength in every direction. It is really important that you do not place any obstructions around the router, if you place a photo frame or a vase next to it, then you are unknowingly weakening the signal in that direction.
Don’t use it unless you have to
It is really easy to connect your Smart TV, gaming consoles, laptops and other devices to your router, but this would result in wastage of precious bandwidth and slow WiFi speeds to your other important devices in time of need.
If possible, try to connect your wired devices with an Ethernet cable. This will reduce the number of devices connected to the router and prevent data loss.
Also make sure to switch off your home router when don’t use it.
Check your WiFi routers channel
The part of the radio spectrum that WiFi uses is split up into different channels. Each WiFi network will operate on a specific channel, with all connected devices automatically switching to the correct channel without your involvement.
Multiple routers can operate at the same channel at the same time, but when they do, they have to share the radio waves which can lead to interference. This will also slow down the network speed.
Some routers will automatically switch to the channel with least number networks on it, but most don’t. The good news is that most routers do allow you to manually select a channel. So you can switch to a quiet part of the spectrum and enjoy better speeds!
You can also find out how busy the radio waves in your area are by using an app on your mobile device. On the app you can see which channels other networks in your area are currently using.
iOS users can check out Network Analyzer Lite app in order to see what’s going on with the network in their neighborhood. For Android users I would recommend checking out WiFi Analyzer app on the Google play store.
In the above example, there are multiple networks using channels 6 and 11, so I’ve positioned my network on channel 1, which has no other signals on it. Doing so would ensure that the other networks don’t interfere with my devices.
For instructions on how to change the channel on your specific router, you can to refer to the information supplied by the router manufacturer.
Tip: It sometimes happens that your broadband connection might be troublemaker. If so then contact your ISP to get it fixed.
If all else fails…
If none of the methods above improved your WiFi speeds then may be it’s time to upgrade your current router, or supplement it with a WiFi range extender.
Modern routers are available featuring technologies such as MiMo (Multi in Multi out) and 802.11 ac (a new standard for 5 GHz WiFi) to get higher throughput of upto 1 Gbps. While you may never see anything as impressive as that in real terms, you should certainly be able get better performance compared to your older router.