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How to speed up wifi

how to speed up wifi

Ten ways to speed up your Wi-Fi

Struggling with slow Wi-Fi? Discover how to speed up your Wi-Fi with these ten practical steps. There’s nothing more annoying than slow, glitchy Wi-Fi in your home or business, so find out what you can do to fix it.


Ten ways to speed up your Wi-Fi:

1. Restart your modem.

2. Secure your network.

3. Move your router to a better spot.

4. Adjust your router antennas.

5. Use 5GHz Wi-Fi over 2.4GHz W-iFi.

6. Add a Wi-Fi extender for more range.

7. Remove unnecessary devices.

8. Replace your equipment.

9. Update your router firmware.

10. Upgrade your internet plan.

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First things first

Find out what speed you’re actually getting. You can do that here to give yourself a baseline measurement, then check again after each fix to see what’s helping. 

You should also compare your speeds to your internet plan’s advertised speed. That will give you an idea of whether there’s a problem that needs solving or you just need to upgrade your plan. 

Your actual speeds are almost certainly going to be lower than the advertised speeds (though your provider should also give you a peak-hours anticipated speed), but if they’re significantly lower than promised, it’s more likely to be something you can resolve with these fixes. 

With that said, let’s dive in…

1. How to speed up Wi-Fi: restarting your modem

The first step is always turning everything off and on again. Try these steps:

  • Unplug your modem
  • Leave it for 30 seconds or so, 
  • Then plug it back in. 

It may take a couple of minutes to get everything up and running again, and you should be able to tell what stage it’s at by checking the lights on the side of the box.

This process is also called power cycling and it should fix some of the most common connection issues. 

If you have a separate router, repeat the process with the router (find out more about the difference between a router and a modem here). Then turn off your devices. Sometimes just toggling off the Wi-Fi is sufficient, but in certain cases it’s more efficient to turn the whole thing off. 

When your devices are back on, reconnect them to the Wi-Fi and see if it’s improved. 

While this might seem obvious, there’s a reason the IT person’s catchphrase is “Have you tried turning it off and on again?” It’s the quickest and simplest way to boost your connection. 

Just be sure to give everyone in the house a heads up that the internet will be out for a few minutes, and let them know you are working on how to speed up Wi-Fi.

2. Secure your network

Tip: ensure your Wi-Fi connection is password protected at all times.

Make sure your Wi-Fi is password-protected to prevent unauthorised access, which can slow down your network.

3. Move your router

Tip: The best spot for your router is in a central spot in your house or near where you use the Wi-Fi most often, out in the open and in an elevated position.

Wi-Fi signals aren’t magic; they can only travel so far and through so many barriers. So it makes sense that if you set up your wireless router at one end of your house, you may have trouble with the Wi-Fi when you’re at the other end. 

Wi-Fi signals also struggle to get through metal, tile, stone and water, so you’ll add to your connectivity troubles if you put your router in a closet, in the basement, behind furniture, on the far side of the bathroom or behind a giant aquarium. 

Wi-Fi signals can also be interrupted by radio waves from other devices, including cordless phones, baby monitors, microwaves and Bluetooth speakers. So when looking for ways on how to speed up Wi-Fi, scan your room to see how many other devices could be affecting your signal.

4. Adjust your antennas

Tip: extend your coverage between rooms by ensuring the antenna is sitting vertically. To extend it between floors, shift it to vertical. 

Many modern wireless routers and gateways have internal antennas, meaning there’s nothing you can do to adjust them. But if your router does have adjustable antennas, you can try this as your next fix. 
These antennas usually send out signals in all directions perpendicular to the antenna, which means a vertical antenna will send out signals horizontally and a horizontal antenna will send out signals vertically.

5. Switch your Wi-Fi frequency band

Tip: switch your Wi-Fi frequency band and monitor any speed changes. 

Access your router’s online interface by typing your router’s IP address into a web browser and logging in. Navigate to your Wi-Fi settings, where you should find the option to modify your band’s channel settings.

Modern wireless routers work on two radio frequency bands: 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz. 

  • 2.4 GHz is a radio frequency band used widely in wireless communications, including Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.
  • 2.4 GHz provides a wider coverage area and better connectivity through walls and other solid objects, due to its lower frequency.
  • 5 GHz generally offers faster data transmission speeds compared to 2.4 GHz, although at a shorter range. 

Switching your Wi-Fi frequency band from 2.4 GHz to 5 GHz (or vice versa) involves a few steps, typically done through your wireless router’s settings. Here’s a general guide:

  1. Access router settings
    • Open a web browser and enter your router’s IP address (commonly or into the address bar.
    • If you’re unsure of the IP address, check the back of your router or the manual.
  1. Login to your router
    • Enter the username and password. These are often set to default values like ‘admin’ and ‘password’, unless you have changed them.
    • If you don’t know these details, they are often listed on the router or in the manual.
  1. Locate Wi-Fi settings
    • Navigate to the Wi-Fi settings section. This may be labeled differently depending on the router brand, such as ‘Wireless Settings’, ‘Wi-Fi Settings’, or similar.
  1. Select frequency band
    • Look for an option to change the frequency band. You might find separate settings for 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz networks.
    • In some cases, you may need to enable the 5 GHz network if it isn’t already active.
  2. Adjust settings
    • If you have the option, set up both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz networks. This way, devices that support only 2.4 GHz can still connect, while others can benefit from the faster 5 GHz band.
    • You may be able to set different SSIDs (network names) and passwords for each band, which can help you easily identify and connect to the preferred network.
  1. Save changes
    • After making the changes, save them. Your router may need to restart for changes to take effect.
  2. Connect your devices
    • On your device (phone, laptop, etc.), turn Wi-Fi off and on again to refresh the list of networks.
    • Connect to the newly configured network (2.4 GHz or 5 GHz), depending on which one you want to use.

Remember, not all devices support the 5 GHz band, so it’s good to have both options available. Also, the steps can vary slightly depending on the router brand and model, so refer to your router’s manual for specific instructions.

6. Extend your Wi-Fi network

Tip: try a Wi-Fi booster, wired access point or a mesh Wi-Fi system.

If your router is in the best spot and your antenna is angled correctly but you still encounter speed or connectivity problems in specific areas of your home, it might be necessary to expand the reach of your network.

There are various devices available to enhance your network’s coverage:

  • Wi-Fi boosters are positioned between your router and the problematic area, where they either amplify or redistribute existing Wi-Fi signals, extending coverage.
  • Wired access points connect to your router through an Ethernet cable and can distribute both Wi-Fi and LAN signals, effectively acting as an extension of your router. Many devices, including older routers, can serve as access points.
  • Powerline extender kits comprise two devices – connect one to your router via Ethernet and plug it into an electrical outlet and place the second in the area where you need improved Wi-Fi coverage. Internet signals travel through your electrical wiring to reach the desired location.
  • Mesh Wi-Fi systems replace your traditional router with one or more interconnected devices that collaborate to create a unified Wi-Fi network, covering your entire home from multiple locations.

The choice of the most suitable solution for your network largely depends on your home’s layout. 

  • If you’re dealing with a single persistent dead zone, a Wi-Fi booster is likely the right choice. 
  • Mesh systems are ideal for comprehensive home coverage, especially if your residence is large or has a complex layout. 
  • If your home is wired with Ethernet connections, an access point may be the preferred option. 

7. Ditch unnecessary connections

Tip: disconnect all nonessential devices.

The most efficient way to disconnect all nonessential devices is by changing your Wi-Fi passwords and performing a router reboot. You’ll then need to re-enter your network with the new password on each device you actively use. This approach effectively severs all superfluous connections, including any cheeky neighbours stealing your Wi-Fi.

Some routers come with home networking apps, which can give you an overview of the devices connected to your network. If you have access to such an app, you can easily identify and disconnect any rogue connections without disrupting your entire Wi-Fi network. Your router’s web interface typically offers a similar feature, presenting a map of all the devices on your network.

8. Replace your equipment

Tip: purchase new equipment.

If you’ve been using the same router and modem for years and years, you’ll probably find that they’re a big reason for your less-than-perfect speed.

Brand new devices will likely up your Wi-Fi speed and give you more control over the features, so think of it as an investment. 

9. Speed up Wi-Fi by updating your firmware

Tip: update your Wi-Fi firmware.

Router firmware is computer software stored in a writable memory chip on the router, which helps the router control traffic. It contains instructions that tell the router how to function properly and securely as well as determine who should be allowed access to what type of data from your network. Current firmware is important for performance and security reasons. 

A modem/router unit (also called a gateway) usually gets updated automatically, but if you use a separate router, it may be worth checking for updates.

Log in to your router and check that automatic updates are toggled on. If not, update the firmware immediately and then switch on automatic updates.

10. Get faster internet

Tip: you may find that your internet plan simply isn’t fast enough for your internet needs, so the solution is to upgrade your plan.

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Follow these ten tips on how to speed up wifi and here’s hoping your speed improves. Remember, as we said earlier, the advertised plan speed isn’t always the speed you’ll get, so you may want to give yourself a bit of a buffer in your speed plan by upgrading to a higher speed tier. 

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