Is your home Wi-Fi too slow? Here’s what you can do to boost speeds while you work from home
With most us working from home now, and self-isolating to stop coronavirus from spreading, there is more than enough pressure on the internet connection at home.
Our home Wi-Fi signals might be strong enough to pull us through some bingeing on Netflix, or a day's work if needed. But with most us working from home now, and self-isolating to stop coronavirus from spreading - there is more than enough pressure on the internet connection at home.
There is work and there is entertainment that the internet needs to tackle, and in many situations simultaneously. So do not be surprised if you see your Wi-Fi connection get slow or laggy.
How do you spot if the Wi-Fi connection is slow
Streaming content will take longer to load and start.
There will be a perceptible drop in video quality.
Pages will load slower across browsers.
Any action online will take longer to follow through. Like your pages will refresh slower, mailboxes will take time to update etc.
What can you do to improve the speeds?
The first and foremost thing you must ensure is that the Wi-Fi router is placed in a location where you get the maximum signal.
The signal that you receive from your router is electromagnetic radiation. These signals are blocked by some objects while a few other objects allow it to pass. To get the best signal from your router it is best to place it at the centre of your house, preferably unobstructed by too much furniture and walls.
Place your Wi-Fi router away from appliances or electronics as it generally impacts the signal. If your WiFi router has external antennas, position them vertically to enhance the coverage.
If you have a study you are working out of, place the router there.
Replace/add an antenna
If the Wi-Fi router you are using at home runs on an internal antenna, you can add an external one to improve signal strength. Many router manufacturers sell external antennas separately so you can try ordering one online for now.
If you do manage to order one, it is better to go for omnidirectional antennas that send the signal to all the directions. Most devices with built-in antennas are omnidirectional and if you want to purchase an external antenna for better connectivity, make sure it has "high-gain" marked on it.
Wireless range extender
All Wi-Fi devices come with a specific range. If you want to and need to increase the range to cover a bigger area, the performance (signal strength) of the device may take a hit. For example, you might only get faint Wi-Fi connectivity outside your house as compared to what you get from your room.
To increase the range, you can use a range extender which looks very similar to a normal router. These range extenders simply receive the signal and rebroadcast it. The range extender has a different IP address and it should be placed close to the main router so that it can receive a strong signal.
Range extenders allow you to work in any corner of your house, even where the Wi-Fi router signal was not strong, previously. So, next chance you have, you might consider buying one.
Reboot your Wi-Fi router
The best way to increase the speed of your Wi-Fi router is to reboot or restart it just before you start working at home. This is an age-old formula, but it works.
Once you reboot your router, it clears its memory and enables updates to install.
Don't share Wi-Fi password
This is a no-brainer of sorts. The more people you share your Wi-Fi password with the more load it's going to be on your connection. Imagine all your neighbours piggy-backing on your connection.
Make sure your password is protected. Ensure that you do not share your password with friends or too many people - this will slow down your speed as well as shoot up your monthly limit.
Put a difficult password in place so as people cannot guess it easily. And also, change your password once in every six months.