A reliable connection to the internet makes everyone happy, especially when you’re paying for a premium Wi-Fi package. Keeping things stable is simple enough if you have a general idea of what the problem is. Home internet connects multiple devices together simultaneously, so a stable connection is required. To get the most out of your internet, use the eight household hacks below to check for problems.
1. Move It Closer
Signal degradation can sometimes be caused by the wireless signal being strained from the distance. This happens when there is a lot of interference from point to point, like walls or doors.
Any type of obstruction will lower the signal strength, so placement of your wireless hardware is important on both ends. In homes with multiple floors, try to position your wireless hardware where there is the least resistance.
That means finding a middle ground between the two floors where all connecting equipment can get equal distance. Depending on how your home is setup, the location may not be ideal, but it will be the strongest.
There is also a good chance that placing the wireless equipment upstairs will provide a much better signal for all connecting devices. Wireless strength tests are built into most mainstream home equipment, so you can use that to get a general idea of placement.
Once you’ve found the correct position, it never has to be moved again within the home. The only thing that would lessen the reliability of the new position is if a new obstruction was introduced within the home. And that’s the first of the household hacks here!
2. Switch To 5 GHZ
Wireless equipment can be single band or dual band. Single band is usually 2.4 GHZ, while dual band incorporates the massive strength of 5 GHZ. Tri band setups are available, but they are less common in consumer homes.
With 2.4 GHZ, you are getting a wireless connection that is considered one of the most reliable in the world. It has greatest reach of the two bands, and is the most compatible with hardware.
More hardware supports 2.4 GHZ than 5 GHZ bands. The downside to 2.4 GHZ is that everyone has it, which means it is more likely that you’ll get interference with the line. Everything uses 2.4 GHZ, so even a running microwave can degrade the signal.
With 5GHZ, you get a massive signal boost that increases speed, but you sacrifice distance and compatibility. Less people will be on 5 GHZ, and even if it is crowded, the signal won’t be nearly as degraded as the alternative.
The best way to get the benefits of both connections is by using a dual band router since it simultaneously transmits both signals. Profiles can be set up so that if one connection is weak, the hardware will automatically switch you to the stronger band.
3. Change Equipment
Using old and outdated equipment will cause your connection to be low quality. For most consumers who are paying top dollar for fast internet, this makes no sense. You are using equipment that caps your maximum speed, yet you are paying for the fastest speed possible.
In short, using outdated wireless equipment is a waste of money. Older equipment also opens you up to security flaws and holes, two things that can seriously slow down your connection. Besides the chance of wreaking havoc on all connected devices, older equipment can actually slow you down even if it stops wireless threats.
Older hardware and software firewall protocols are known to slow down even the fastest connection. If your Wi-Fi suffers from random drops, disconnects or buffering issues, chances are the outdated hardware is choking the connection. By trying to do a good job protecting your network, it is actually degrading it to a slower speed.
4. Household Hacks: Use Separate Equipment
The two most common types of setups for a home connection is a modem/router all in one, or a modem and router combination. The two accomplish the same thing, but the difference is minor based on the location it is used in. These minor differences can decide whether you have a strong connection or a weak one.
A modem/router all in one is a space saver, but usually lacks an internal antenna. For most homes, this won’t matter and the connection will be strong on both bands. In a situation where you have this type of equipment and the connection is weak, switching to a modem and router combination may prove useful. You get a boosted signal from the antenna on the router but sacrifice space as a result.
There is also the issue of having to navigate two difference software interfaces to make changes. As a last fault, different brands of router and modem combos may not play nice together. This is a lot to take in for someone that just wants a simple connection, yet it is something to consider if you’ve been having consistent problems.
5. Encryption Can Sometimes Be A Problem
The type of encryption you use will directly affect how fast your network is. It’s no secret that WPA2 usage will sap some speed from your overall connection. You’ll have a better protected network, but the tradeoff is high. Other types of encryption don’t have the same impact on your connection and offer superior protection.
WPA3 is one example. And it’s a massive upgrade from the previous generation. The only issue with encryption is that the hardware needs to support it from both ends.
That means even if you have the latest and greatest wireless equipment, there is still a chance the client devices will be outdated. Encryption support relies on both the wireless equipment and client devices to support the security features.
Homes that have older client devices are forced to give in to the lowest common denominator. If every piece of hardware in your home is up to date except for a single smartphone, then the wireless hardware has to downgrade its encryption to support the smartphone.
One way around this is by using different types of encryption for each band. Keep older client devices on the 2.4 GHZ connection while using the updated encryption on the 5 GHZ network.
6. Move It Higher
When you’ve done everything right to ensure a good signal, what else is there left to do? Here’s another household hack. Consider moving your wireless setup higher.
A common mistake when using wireless hardware in homes is to not factor in vertical positioning. The higher you place it, the better the coverage will be. Some wireless equipment even comes with mounting tools so you can position it on a wall. Be careful with vertical placement since it can hurt you just as much as it helps.
Placement on the wall should be well thought out, especially since it requires access to power. Make sure to run a wireless signal test to make note of any improvements after moving it.
If the gains are significant enough, you can make adjustments to get the most out of the wireless signal. Remember, you are testing for stability above anything else.
7. Update The Firmware
Not all firmware updates are automatic, so users have to log into the wireless equipment’s interface to do it manually. Homes that lease or buy equipment from an internet service provider are more likely to have automatic push updates from their company.
This includes important security fixes, software bug patches and overall speed improvements. Whenever an internet company updates their service in an area, it requires hardware that supports it. You won’t get improved speeds on up to date hardware if the firmware is an old version.
Always check the webpage of the internet equipment provider to see if there are any important firmware updates. Be careful installing manually, as a bad install can brick the device and make it unusable. This is rare, and more likely to happen if the power goes out during an upgrade.
8. Sometimes the Issue is Not on Your End
Websites that have a lot of web traffic have to prioritize loads. When everything is perfect on your end but the speed is abysmal, then it is probably the server. It’s completely out of your hands at that point, so don’t fret over your personal connection.
Repeated issues with the same website should be reported to the webmaster. This is a common issue with websites that stream video, or with popular social media websites. Loads of media and high traffic will always equal a slower connection from the server, even if it is prepared for the hit.
Homes that run a private media server can expect the same type of slow down, but not on the level of bigger websites. A private home media server is limited by equipment rather than the speed of the connection.
Lackluster Wi-Fi can always be fixed with the right mindset. You’ll never have to worry about drops ruining your daily use if you keep a stable connection. Keep your hardware in good shape with these household hacks, and you’ve already won half the battle.