Why Is My Wifi So Slow And What Can I Do About It?

Wi-Fi technology has become so ingrained into our everyday life, that it feels like a blackout when we do not have a connection and we treat the situation as a showstopper for most of our daily activities. We must say that the reaction is warranted, since most of the things we do today, require an Internet connection to work properly. Wi-Fi today is so advanced today and we hold it to such high standard, that even a slow connection is cause for concern. The truth is, that there are few things as frustrating as an Internet session that grinds to crawl right when we need it the most. Internet Service Providers offer us a service today with a speed that perhaps 5 years ago we could have only expected from a large company with dedicated servers, but regardless of that fact, we still want more.

Streaming movies, playing online and downloading large files has become part of our routine online activity, so we want to have faster speeds and better connections more than ever. But what can we do if our connection is not living up to our expectations? What are the reasons why our Wi-Fi is just not as fast as we want? Can we do anything about it or should we just learn to deal with it? These are some of the main reasons why your connection is not as fast as you want, and this is what you can do to fix it.

wi-fi
Image courtesy of Kārlis Dambrāns at Flickr.com

Check your own Internet activity.

Are you downloading large files from the Internet? Even if you are running downloads on a wired connection, this activity seriously affects your Wi-Fi and you can expect considerably slower download speeds and wireless connections. Take a look at the activity of other users of your network. Things like online games and movie streaming can hog quite a bit of bandwidth leaving you with a very sluggish connection. The best thing you can do about this is coordinate with other members of your household to revise who is doing what and plan accordingly depending on which are your home’s peak hours. You can also adjust your modem to prioritize certain types of network traffic.

How about your neighbors?

The problems with neighbors come in two ways. First, they may be running their Wi-Fi connection on the same channel as yours, thus creating considerable interference with your signal. Second and most commonly, they may be simply using your connection to navigate the web themselves leaving you with a slow connection all day long. To avoid this you must have a strong Wi-Fi password and under no circumstances leave the default password that comes with the modem or the one the ISP leaves installed when they first install your service. Check your network traffic regularly and change your password as often as you update your firmware in order to make sure unauthorized people are not accessing your network.

Signal interference

Interference can come from many sources and not simply other Wi-Fi connections. There are apps out there that can help you actually map signals around you that may interfere with your Wi-Fi so you can choose what the best place to locate your modem. Microwave ovens, Bluetooth devices and cordless phones are some of the biggest disruptors of signal because some of their frequencies overlap with the Wi-Fi.

Funny enough, another unexpected culprit of this violation are Christmas lights as they emit a small electromagnetic field that can interfere with your Wi-Fi signal.

snail_slow-wifi-connection
Image courtesy of Daniela at Flickr.com

It may be the position of your modem.

As we have mentioned before in other articles, the best place to locate your modem is the center of the house and as high as you can from the floor. Try to make it so the distance the signal has to travel is as equal as possible in all directions to reach every room. Remember that each wall the signal has to cross will diminish its power considerably especially if it has to go through concrete or metal. Remember that the position of the antennas is also important; you should have one sticking straight up in the air and one parallel to the ground. If you only have one antenna or your antenna is internal, try different positions to see which one gives you better signal strength.  

Think about an upgrade.

Perhaps your hardware needs to be replaced. This is very common as people sometimes forget to replace the modem they have had for several years and still expect the device to work perfectly.

Call your provider.

Your ISP can help you with choosing a plan that better fits your needs. Sometimes we outgrown our own network and we do not even know that what we actually need is a plan with more speed and more capable of giving us what we need.

If you want to find more excellent articles about communications, the best apps and more tips to speed up your connection, check out our webpage at Donald Burns’ Blog today.

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