Your Wi-Fi is awful – here's how to fix it
Your wireless connection is terrible, but you already knew that, right? That's why you're reading this article, after all! Still, there are several things that you can do and are guaranteed to fix most problems. Let's discuss them, shall we?
Everything begins with your router. If you've got an old piece of hardware, stop what you're doing right now and go buy a new one. Here's a list with some of the best routers that you can purchase without breaking the bank.
Your router is the most important piece of hardware, because it receives signal from your Internet service provider, and then converts it to radio waves that are supposed to propagate in the entire house. New Wi-Fi standards are implemented every few years, and each one of them brings significant speed improvements. According to George Hardesty, CEO of Data Alliance, the newest 802.11ac standard utilizes a 256-QAM modulation system that can boost spectral efficiency by 400% in comparison with the previous 802.11n standard. So, go and get an 802.11ac router if you've got an older model; by doing this, many of your signal-related problems will be fixed for good.
While we are here, ensure that your shiny new router is always kept updated. Its manufacturer will certainly release frequent patches that boost speed and keep it secure, so be sure to install them all. Modern routers can often be controlled using a dedicated mobile app, and this turns the complex device update process into an easy one.
Be sure to set up your new router properly. Many hardware vendors want to keep the setup routine as simple as possible, but they only manage to do that by diminishing security levels. You should always choose the harder way, customizing as many aspects as possible. Don't accept the default user name and password that are suggested for your router, for example; generate your complex, unique user and pass using a pen and a piece of paper.
New routers will often provide faster data transfer speeds, because they also support the 5 GHz band. However, in some cases, the old 2.4 GHz band will work much better. As a general rule, devices will benefit from greater wireless speeds if they are close to a router that operates using the 5 GHz band. This is also the preferred solution in case that your Wi-Fi network interferes with other wireless devices; cordless phones and microwave ovens can cause problems, for example. If you prefer to get a longer Wi-Fi range, it is wise to switch to the 2.4 GHz frequency, though.
Hopefully, your modern router is a dual or three band model, which means that it can broadcast signal on two, and even on three different frequency bands at the same time. So, you could have devices that are far away from the router operate using the 2.4 GHz band, and then use the other one or two 5 GHz transmitters to connect to nearby devices, and thus get the best of both worlds.
Router antennas are essential as well. If you've seen huge MU-MIMO stickers on most routers, they were placed there for a good reason. With Multi User, Multiple Input, Multiple Output routers, Wi-Fi transmission can be optimized for several devices that need a strong wireless signal at the same time.
As you can see, having a great router will significantly increase your chances of getting a strong Wi-Fi signal throughout the entire house. However, multilevel houses may be too big for regular routers. In this case, you can fix the problem by installing an access point, or by making use of a mesh network.
An access point (AP), which is also known as a wireless repeater, is a device that receives a weak Wi-Fi signal, amplifies it, and then transmits it to the devices that need a better signal. A mesh network is more expensive, because it consists of a pack of routers that work together, ensuring that you get a strong wireless signal in the entire home. Once that you've got a mesh base in place, you can simply purchase as many additional 'nodes' as needed, taking into account the fact that each one of them will cover about 1,000 square feet of radio space.
So yeah, your Wi-Fi is awful indeed. Still, if you purchase the proper hardware equipment, you can fix most of these terrible issues.