Slow internet can be debilitating. The 21st century runs through the interweb. If you don’t have a strong and fast connection, it can create a host of different issues. Sometimes these are minor annoyances, like a buffering movie. At other times, they can be detrimental, like dropping an important video call from your home office.
If you’re struggling with your internet, here are a few of the best ways to improve your speed without breaking the bank in the process.
If you have an existing Wi-Fi connection that is steady but not strong, you may not need to scrap things and start from square one. Instead, look for a way to boost your existing Wi-Fi setup.
For instance, shop for a Wi-Fi solution that boosts your current signal. Ideally, this should be a device with Wi-Fi 6 as well as a cloud-based administrative system. That way, you can introduce a cutting-edge piece of tech that can support your existing setup, strengthen your signal, and adapt to updates over time.
Let’s rip this Band-Aid off, shall we? If your system is old and boosting it doesn’t work, you may have to replace it to get a consistent signal. This can be done in various ways, some of which are too pricey — i.e., you’re paying for more than you need — and others that are too cheap — i.e., they’re so cheap they don’t last.
The important thing is finding a system that walks the line between affordable and dependable. There are many Wi-Fi routers for under $100, but you want to ensure that you read the reviews before you put in your card information.
See if the system you’re looking at is worth the cash or if it’s going to break before long or fail to provide a strong enough signal. You may also want to consider getting a mesh Wi-Fi system. Often you can do so in installments. Buy the base unit now and then add more units to your network over time.
Next up, consider where your router, new or old, is located. There are common things to look out for, as the device’s distance from your electronics. If you’re trying to stream a movie on the other side of the house, you’re going to have trouble.
But there’s more to the issue than mere geography. For instance, is your router down low? On the ground floor or even in the basement? Conventional wisdom recommends placing your router:
- In a central location where it can reach as far as possible in every direction;
- High up, either mounted on a wall or in the second story of the house;
- Away from other electronics and metal objects that could obstruct the signal.
By finding a central, open, and high-up location, you can ensure that you’re getting the best signal possible from your existing equipment.
If your router has antennas, you may want to take a look at their positioning, too. Many Wi-Fi routers don’t have external antennas. Even if yours does, they may be stationary.
If you can move your antennas, though, you may want to try adjusting them a bit. If all antennas are pointing up or in a single direction, that can limit your signal.
Angle your antennas either perpendicular to one another or in a variety of different directions. This will ensure that you’re covering as much of your home as possible.
It isn’t likely that you’ll see a dramatic adjustment throughout your home’s internet speed by doing this. However, if you have pockets where the signal is sub-par, this can be just the trick.
The frequency of your Wi-Fi can have a big impact on both the range and strength of your signal. The most common frequencies offered are 2.4GHz and 5GHz. These two ranges are often offered via two different connections on the same network.
At first, glance, joining the 5GHz line seems to be a no-brainer, and in many cases, that’s true. However, it’s important to consider the difference between the two options. A 5GHz frequency is an indicator of a stronger, more robust signal. However, a 2.4GHz signal tends to reach farther. So, if you’re trying to operate with a device that’s distant from your router, joining the 5GHz frequency may do more harm than good.
In addition, many devices tend to work better on one network or the other. For instance, a mobile device like a tablet or phone should be on your 2.4GHz frequency since they move around. Smart thermostats, speakers, and security cameras can also join that frequency due to the minimal data that they require.
In the same vein, a bigger item, like a laptop, desktop, smart TV, or gaming console, should go on your 5GHz network — assuming they’re close enough to connect well. This will allow them to take advantage of the maximum speed within your network.
There are many ways to improve your internet speed without dropping hundreds of dollars on a fancy new Wi-Fi system. Start with basic steps like repositioning your router and adjusting the antennas. Shift your devices to the right frequencies, too, to ensure that they’re functioning at peak efficiency within your current setup.
If you find that you still don’t have enough juice, avoid the temptation to throw money at issue by increasing your service package with your ISP (internet service provider.) First, try using a Wi-Fi 6 equipped booster. If that isn’t enough, look for a low-cost, high-quality router, ideally as part of a mesh system that you can add to in the future.
Whatever way you choose to go, there are many options available before you have to resort to a more expensive solution. These are well worth investigating first. After all, if the issue with your internet speed has to do with something subtle, like your router’s location or frequency, spending a bunch of money on a new system may not even solve the problem.
It’s always better to try cost-effective methods first in the hopes that the issue will resolve itself as you go along. Happy troubleshooting!