If you’re like us, your household depends on Wi-Fi. Maybe you’ve got a home full of kids, teens, and/or adults (or adult children) who all want their Wi-Fi, and they want it NOW. Or maybe you’re working from home and you need a fast, stable connection to get your work done. Or maybe you’re a hardcore gamer who needs to reduce that dreaded lag to assert your in-game dominance over your friends.
If your Wi-Fi connection isn’t up to snuff, it can be super frustrating just to get simple things done.
Rest easy friends, we’re internet experts and we’re here to help! Check out these few simple things you can do RIGHT NOW to try and improve your home Wi-Fi connection without spending any money.
Is your Wi-Fi router in the basement?
What about behind your TV, or in a cabinet or utility closet?
Considering how ugly some Wi-Fi routers may be, it’s tempting to want to keep them out of sight. This is understandable, but it’s also important to remember that a lot of household materials and appliances can have a negative impact on your Wi-Fi signal.
Your router sends out a signal in all directions, like ripples moving across the surface of a pond after you’ve tossed a stone in. That signal bounces around your home and gets weaker as is passes through your walls, floors, etc. Cement, concrete, metal, drywall, mirrors, even fish tanks, all affect your Wi-Fi signal to some extent.
Putting that router in the basement may be convenient, but it may also prevent you from getting full coverage to the far reaches of your home, like your bedroom or office upstairs. Hiding it in a cabinet or a closet can have the same effect.
And that brings us to our next tip…
When choosing a new home for your router, consider what’s around it.
Many major appliances like washers & dryers, microwaves, refrigerators, or electronics like TVs and stereo systems (especially those big speakers!) are all sources of interference for Wi-Fi. These devices use powerful magnets, electric motors, or in the case of microwaves operate on frequencies similar to the ones used by your router, and this can easily overwhelm it or drown it out.
Many people choose to hide their router behind their TV, but soon find that this is a double-whammy. Not only does that big TV have a metal shell under all that plastic, but most TVs also have built-in speakers, which can create interference as well.
Router manufacturers periodically release software updates for their devices. This software is called “Firmware”, and it gives the router instructions on how to run the hardware inside the box. Firmware has more to do with the inner workings of the router rather than the settings or preferences you might configure when setting it up.
Firmware updates include fixes for reported bugs, performance improvements, security patches, or in some extreme cases a complete overhaul of the router’s inner workings.
Most modern routers provide a way to check for firmware updates through their user interface. This interface can be accessed through a web browser or an app, depending on the router. Check your router’s documentation to find out how to access this interface, and how to check for and install Firmware updates as well.