By Tracey Dowdy
The Wi-Fi signal in my house is terrible unless you’re sitting in my home office where the router is located, or if you’re in the family room right next to my office. It’s not the quality of the router that’s the issue, it’s that I’m fortunate to live in a solid, well-built home that may or may not have been designed along the same lines as a cold-war bunker.
The walls are solid, as in really, really solid, making it really difficult for the signal to reach other parts of the house. The router was initially placed in a window seat – don’t judge me, I wasn’t there – in the furthest corner of the house, close to the floor. When using the internet upstairs translated to watching the screen buffer forever then eventually timing out, it didn’t take me long to Scooby-Doo the mystery of why I was having trouble.
Location isn’t always the issue, although placement is critical. Connectivity issues are all about how you set up your router. Follow these steps to ensure and your router is performing at optimum levels.
- Location, location, location. As I said, you’re not doing yourself any favors tucking away your router in the back of the house or the basement. Place it in as central a location as possible, in an open space like a bookcase or shelf, at least 2-3 feet off the floor.
- Check the router settings. Most routers have two separate frequencies: 2.4 GHZ and 5 GHZ. Choosing 5 GHZ will provide the fastest connection but if your router is 2.4 GHZ, you need to choose the best channel available. Most newer routers will choose the least crowded channel for you automatically, but if not, there’s an app for that. Wi-Fi Analyzer for Android or Network Analyzer for iOS will automatically scan your network to help you find the best channel.
- Use an Ethernet cable to connect any streaming boxes or your computer for optimal speed and connectivity.
If you’re still having trouble, check the option or the package you selected from your Internet Service Provider. Many offer tiered data speeds and perhaps you thought you could get away with a less expensive plan offering 25 Mbps but it’s just not cutting it after all. Call and talk to them about options and consider upgrading to get the speeds you want.
Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Washington DC. After years working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances, edits and researches on subjects ranging from family and education to history and trends in technology. Follow Tracey on Twitter.