Do Netflix movies keep stopping and starting when you stream them to a laptop or TV over your wireless Internet (Wi-Fi)? Does e-mail take forever to download on your iPad in certain rooms? The problem is likely your wireless router. The radio wave signals that your router emits may be too weak when they reach your devices. Some smart solutions to get a stronger, steadier signal…
Make sure that the router signals aren’t impaired by physical barriers that cause interference and signal degradation. These may include concrete and brick walls, heavy furniture and metal objects such as tall filing cabinets.
Move the router to a more central location in relation to where you use your wireless devices most. Resource: Use the free Android smartphone app Wi-Fi Analyzer to locate the areas of your home where the router signals are strongest and weakest, and then place the router in the best possible spot that still is close enough to an available Internet cable or phone jack.
Helpful: It’s usually best to place the router in a high position, such as on a high shelf or on top of a bookcase, to avoid barriers such as furniture.
Pay your Internet service provider for more speed. No matter what kind of router you have or where it is positioned, it can transmit data only as fast as the connection you have from your cable or telephone company. Internet speed is measured in megabits-per-second (Mbps) and can vary at different times of day based on what else you are doing at that time on your home network.
To stream HD movies, for instance, at least 10 megabits per second (mbps) is recommended to avoid having the picture freeze up.Keep in mind that having multiple users in your home requires higher speeds. A dial-up modem transmits at up to 56 kilobits per second (1,024 kilobits is a megabit)…DSL service, typically up to 6 mbps…standard Internet cable service, typically 10 mbps or faster for an extra charge. More elaborate fixes are possible…
Add a wireless repeater. Plug one of these small devices into any electrical socket at the outer range of your existing router’s coverage, and it acts as a mini router, catching the original router signal and extending it. Repeater to consider: SharePort Mobile Companion by D-Link (about $40). Another option is to use what”s called a mesh network. These devices usually come with a router and one or more devices that are like smarter repeaters. They do a great job of giving your home optimal coverage for your Wi-Fi signal. Popular brands are Eero, Google Wi-Fi and Linksys Velop. They come in packs of three for larger homes of more than 1,500 square feet.
Switch your router’s channel. Wi-Fi routers send radio waves on different frequencies or channels. During setup, some routers automatically detect the least crowded channel as the default setting. But if you live in a neighborhood or apartment building with lots of new wireless connections, those routers may be using the same channel and weakening your signal. What to do: Start by downloading to your computer the inSSIDer diagnostic tool, which will analyze what channel your router is using and which one can offer you the best signal strength ($19.99, inSSIDer.com). Then refer to your router owner’s manual for instructions on how to change the router channels.