Having a stable internet connection is quickly becoming one of the most important features of a property, and it even has a significant impact on the value of a property. However, sometimes you might have a poor WiFi connection to your router, even though your internet coverage is supposed to be pretty good. There are several reasons your WiFi could be failing to operate at optimum efficiency. These tips will address some of the more common reasons for slow WiFi.
Secure your router
The first thing you need to do when examining your wireless usage is to ensure no one else is piggybacking your connection for free data. The easiest and most effective way to do this is simple – add password protection to your WiFi, and keep it updated. Usually, most internet providers will create a default password, it’s important to keep changing your password.
With your router secured, only people who have access can use your connection, meaning you have greater control to figure out what else might be causing slow internet connections.
While we’re on the subject of routers, make sure you aren’t putting up too many physical barriers between you and your router. While WiFi signal can make it through obstacles, it will still be affected by obstructions. Basically, don’t put your router in a cupboard!
Check your apps
Before accusations of broken equipment start to fly around, check that the slowdown isn’t being caused inside the house. Computers, phones, and other devices have a habit of using up a lot of bandwidth without you realising it. Applications often run in the background even when you can’t see them. Check your phone and devices don’t have any apps running, and then get on your computer and open up the application manager (usually CRTL + ALT + DELETE on Windows systems, or just navigate to the Apple logo and click on Force Quit to see what’s running on an Apple computer).
If there are several people in your property, then you might want to consider Quality of Service to even out the bandwidth usage. If there is one person constantly streaming and playing games online etc., then Quality fo Service can help. It prioritises certain applications over others, allowing you to more evenly split the data usage and ensure there’s always bandwidth for crucial applications.
Shop for signal boosters
Sometimes the problem isn’t about the bandwidth congestion or an obstruction, but the device is simply too far away. It might be necessary to boost the WiFi signal in rooms far away from the router. Sometimes, proximity is the key to good signal, but that isn’t always possible, such as in large buildings.
Powerline adapters are devices you plug into your wall sockets, and they use the building’s power lines to boost your WiFi signal from room to room. In rooms with several floors, they can be particularly helpful. However, if they don’t work, you’ll need to look a little closer at your WiFi…
Analyse your WiFi
Computers communicate with routers wirelessly via channels. Routers can operate on a number of different channels, but your channel could be getting interference with a neighbour. You can get applications that analyse your signals, however, which can also you identify the best channel for you. One such application is WiFi Analyser, which is designed to help you pinpoint WiFi problems, find the best place to put your router, and identify the best channel for your WiFi connection.
Another example is WiFi Scanner, which costs more money but offers you significantly more usability and analytics.
Check your updates
The software on your phone and computer is constantly updating itself, and for good reason. This is how they fix bugs and defend against ways to stop hackers. It’s also how they update to the next version of the software, and if you haven’t updated your software in a long time, then it may no longer be compatible.
The software we’re referring to is basically everything on your computer and mobile device. Your internet browser, especially, needs to be regularly updated, as should the Operating System (OS). Keep your anti-virus software updated, too, and regularly clear your cached files.
Lastly, if you’re still having trouble with internet, try removing toolbars from your browser. These and other add-ons can hinder a browser’s performance.
It’s important to remember that the area you live in has a huge impact on your internet. Nearly all of the internet companies promise ‘up to’ a figure of MB/s, but the reality is significantly less than that. For instance, BT used to promise up to 20MB/s, but in some areas – even central London areas – the actual number averaged at less than 2MB/s. If you wish to get out of your poor internet connection, companies should offer you the option to leave without a fee if your internet speeds are too low. To use the above example, BT allows you to leave their broadband contract without fee if the internet speeds come up slower than an average of 10MB/s.
PS: don’t forget to try turning your router off and on again!