5 valuable tips on how to speed home Wi-Fi

Wi-Fi is a technology that uses radio waves to provide network connectivity. A Wi-Fi connection is established using a wireless adapter to create hotspots. This hotspots are areas in the vicinity of a wireless router that are connected to the network and allow users to access internet services. Once configured, Wi-Fi provides wireless connectivity to your devices by emitting frequencies between 2.4GHz – 5GHz, based on the amount of data on the network. There are a number of theories about what the term means, but the most widely accepted definition for the term in the tech community is Wireless Fidelity.

wi-fi_router signal_donald burns
Image courtesy of mista stagga lee at Flickr.com

Wireless technology has widely spread lately and you can get connected almost anywhere; at home, at work, in libraries, schools, airports, hotels and even in some restaurants. The major advantage of Wi-Fi is that it is compatible with almost every operating system, game device, and advanced printer.

A Wi-Fi network makes use of radio waves to transmit information across a network. The computer should include a wireless adapter that will translate data sent into a radio signal. This same signal will be transmitted, via an antenna, to a decoder known as the router. Once decoded, the data will be sent to the Internet through a wired Ethernet connection. As the wireless network works as a two-way traffic, the data received from the internet will also pass through the router to be coded into a radio signal that will be received by the computer’s wireless adapter.

It’s quite possible to boost your Wi-Fi speed yourself, although the solution could be as simple as moving your router or as persnickety as switching Wi-Fi frequencies. The distance between the router and connecting devices, as well as the number of walls and floors in between, make a big difference. While a Wi-Fi signal can travel hundreds of feet in an unobstructed space, walls and floors can cut that distance by half or more.

If you’re plagued by slow speeds, bad reception, and other Wi-Fi issues, here are some ways you can power up the Wi-Fi in your home:

Find the perfect spot for your router

You shouldn’t hide the router behind the TV cabinet. If you want the best signal, you’ll need it out in the open, free of any walls and obstructions. Point the antennas perpendicularly, and elevate the router if you can, some users are claiming that they found that their attic was the perfect spot. Lastly, make sure it is in the center of your house, so you have the best coverage possible throughout your home.

Find the right wireless channel

If you have neighbors, their routers may be interfering with yours and causing the signal to degrade. Wireless routers can operate on a number of different channels, and you want yours on a channel with as little interference as possible. Use a tool like Wi-Fi Stumbler or Wi-Fi Analyzer to find the perfect channel in your house.

Block Wi-Fi thieves with better security

Even if your router has a password, it can be really easy to hack. There are easy ways to find out if someone is stealing your Wi-Fi, but the best thing to do is just lock them out with better security. Using a WPA password is absolutely essential, but even those can be cracked pretty easily.

home wi-fi test rig_telecommunications_donald burns
Image courtesy of Clive Darra at Flickr.com

Control applications that need a lot of your broadband

Video chats, plays online games, torrents files, or uses services like Netflix, they may be using too much bandwidth and making the internet slower for everyone else. Luckily, you can use something called Quality of Service to reign in those bandwidth hogs. You can prioritize certain applications over others (like video games) so the most important applications get the bandwidth they deserve.

Increase your Wi-Fi range with “Do It Yourself” tricks

If your router still won’t reach far enough, you can extend its range with simple “Do It Yourself” tricks. Our favorite is the Windsurfer tin foil hack, though you can also use an old beer can or a cooking strainer to extend your router’s range. The results won’t necessarily be amazing, but you should be able to tune up a bit more distance out of your Wi-Fi network with minimal effort.

Turn an old router into a Wi-Fi Repeater

A repeater takes an existing signal from a wireless router or wireless access point and rebroadcasts it to create a second network. If that still doesn’t help, you’ll need to get a range extender for your home. They aren’t super expensive, but if you don’t want to pay for another piece of hardware, you can actually turn an old wireless router into an extender with the aforementioned DD-WRT firmware. Note that you may not be able to get as fast of a connection through your extender, but if you just can’t seem to get Wi-Fi on the edge of your house, this’ll get the job done on the cheap.

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