We’ve all been there. You’re at home, and it’ been a long day. All you want to do is unwind with episodes of your favorite show on Netflix. Or maybe your kids are trying to finish a project for school, and the deadline is tomorrow morning. In either case, and countless others, slow WiFi can lead to serious frustration.
While some slowness could be the result of service issues with your ISP, our experience working with technology in people’s homes for over 15 years tells us that slow WiFi is almost always the result of outdated, outmatched, or poorly configured modems or wireless routers.
And that’s great news, because it means that most issues with WiFi are due to factors under your control! There are four steps we recommend taking to improve wireless strength in your home.
1. If You’re Building or Remodeling, Get Advice From an IT Pro
One of the main reasons for slow WiFi is simply the distance between a given device and a router or wireless access point. It’s important, then, to think strategically about where you want low-voltage cabling for ethernet, telephone, and coax ports run in your home. An IT pro will be able to help you think through the most advantageous locations in your home for connection points.
2. Get the Latest Modem Equipment From Your ISP
For a number of reasons, we typically recommend that our home clients rent a modem from their ISP. For one thing, the ISP will provide a replacement for a modem that breaks. ISPs will also usually address service issues more quickly if they know that their equipment is in the home.
More than that, though, renting a modem usually means that you can request upgraded modem hardware—for no extra charge—when it becomes available. We recommend calling your ISP and asking for updated equipment every two years or so. The technology in your modem can affect your ability to take advantage of improvements the ISP may have made to its network, so having the latest technology is important to optimizing your connection speed.
3. Consider a Mesh Network Solution
Especially if you live in a larger home, we recommend implementing a mesh network solution. Mesh networking has been around for a while now in organizational settings where a single wireless network needs to span a large area, such as a university campus. Thankfully, this technology has advanced to the point where the cost has come down to meet the needs of general consumers.
Mesh networks combine multiple access points placed throughout a house to extend the reach of a single network. That way, you don’t lose service in, say, a bedroom or office that’s far away from your wireless router.
4. Unless You’re an Expert, Call an Expert for Help Choosing and Configuring Your Router
Wireless routers don’t typically have the intuitive, user-friendly interfaces we’ve come to expect from the technology we use on a daily basis. Plus, while there are a number of great wireless routers on the market, not every router will be great for every home.
As a result, it takes some technical know-how to select the best equipment for your home, and to configure it properly. There are settings that can be adjusted on most routers to prioritize certain kinds of traffic (such as video streaming services) over others, as well as settings that can boost the overall speed of your network.
That’s why we’ve been offering a service to home users that we call WiFi speed up. This involves a visit with one of our IT experts, who will listen to your WiFi needs and priorities, address any immediate issues with your current equipment, and help you craft a plan for boosting your connection speed with the right additional equipment.
So, if you’re tired of being kicked offline or not being able to stream the latest episode of Game of Thrones, consider reaching out to an IT professional to get your WiFi up to speed.