Boosting Your Home Wi-Fi Network: Everything You Need to Know



A robust home Wi-Fi network makes practically every part of modern life easier. From remote work to entertainment, Wi-Fi is at the center of so many of our lifestyles — and upgrading your speeds can transform your digital experiences. If your home network’s performance is lacking, or you need to upgrade to accommodate a lifestyle change like working from home, these tips can help. Below, we’ll talk about how to boost Wi-Fi signal, increase download speed, and more.

1. Use speed tests to evaluate your current Wi-Fi network.

Start by running a free internet speed test on your home Wi-Fi to give you a baseline of its download speed, upload speed, and latency. Make sure to run it at different times of the day and in different areas of your home. With this approach, you’ll measure not just your speed under ideal conditions, but also how its performance might vary according to factors like time and location. In turn, this will point out inconsistencies or problem areas within your network, which will help you determine which strategies will be most effective for improving your Wi-Fi. 

2. Keep your router as centrally located as possible.

The farther any device is from the router, the slower its Wi-Fi performance is likely to be. For this reason, it’s highly preferable to keep your router in the most centralized location you can. Try to avoid placing the router near thick walls, metal objects, or appliances, all of which can interfere with the signal. It’s also a good idea to elevate your router by placing it on a shelf or mounting it on a wall, both of which can help the signal reach farther and maintain its strength better. Finally, it’s worth occasionally revisiting your router’s placement to ensure your Wi-Fi stays strong, especially if you move furniture around or bring in new devices. 

3. Consider upgrading your network hardware.

It might be time to upgrade network hardware like your router and modem, especially if either one is more than five years old. Look for devices that support the latest wireless standards, such as Wi-Fi 6 or 6E, which offer increased capacity and efficiency for your network. Newer hardware also provides enhanced security features to deal with the ever-evolving threats of cybercrime. Lastly, mesh networking, which uses wireless “nodes” to create a strong network throughout your home, is also worth considering if you have a large space that needs a lot of Wi-Fi coverage. 

4. Get your network security locked down.

A slow connection can also be a sign that someone is piggybacking on your Wi-Fi. That’s not just an annoyance — it’s a major security hazard, so if you suspect it, change your password immediately. If you’re not already using at least WPA2 security, fix that right away by getting a WPA2-compatible router and setting up a strong, unique password. (WPA3 is even better.) Update your password regularly, and use your router’s admin settings to look for any devices connected to your network that you don’t recognize. 

5. Think about moving up to a more robust internet service package.

In some cases, your Wi-Fi network simply needs more connection bandwidth. Review your current bandwidth and think about whether it lines up with your needs for activities like gaming and remote work. Think about how many devices are in your household, what they’re being used for, and especially whether you experience major slowdowns during peak times like early evening. Talk to your ISP and ask them about options for upgrading — you might be able to score a deal, or even find out that you have the option to get high-speed fiber-optic internet.

6. Make sure to install any firmware updates from your router’s manufacturer.

Firmware is the software programmed into your router that controls how it operates, and it’s important to keep it up to date. Manufacturers release router firmware updates to fix bugs, patch vulnerabilities, and sometimes add new features or improve existing ones. Check your router manufacturer’s website to see if firmware updates are available for your router model, or look in your router’s admin interface. Keeping your firmware current enhances your router’s security and performance, and it can also help resolve connectivity issues.

7. Limit interference by turning off devices and appliances that aren’t in use.

Common household technologies like smartphone chargers, microwaves, hair dryers, and Bluetooth devices can emit signals that interfere with your Wi-Fi. The result is often slower speeds and reduced range for your Wi-Fi signal. By turning off and/or unplugging these devices when they’re not in use, you can minimize their impact on your wireless network’s performance. This tip can be especially important for situations where you can’t afford a wireless drop-out, like a remote job interview or a critical online meeting. 

8. Use a dual-band router to set up 2.4GHz and 5GHz networks.

Wi-Fi can use both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz spectrum bands, and a dual-band router will allow you to enjoy the best of both worlds. The 2.4GHz band offers wider coverage but is more susceptible to interference and congestion, so it’s perfect for devices further from the router or those that don’t need much bandwidth. The 5GHz band has a shorter range but provides faster speeds and less interference, so it’s perfect for bandwidth-intensive activities like 4K streaming. Most routers now offer dual-band operation, so you can create both a 2.4GHz and 5GHz network and choose the best option for each of your devices. 
While there’s no single magical internet speed booster out there, relatively simple changes can make big differences in Wi-Fi performance. Try out some of these strategies to see which ones work for you. When you find the right combination, the reward is a faster, more user-friendly, and more secure home network.

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