First world problems, right? You have a laptop, tablet and the latest smartphone. You enjoy streaming video, play video games and may even get some work done online. Your Wi-Fi, however, at least at times, can’t seem to keep up. Videos buffer, pages load slowly or even time out. You can call your service provider and potentially be placed on eternal hold. Or, you can take matters into your own hands and take some steps on your own.
If you have Wi-Fi at home, you may be experiencing some common problems that you may not only be able to troubleshoot without spending hours on the phone but may actually be able to resolve.
Your dad or grandfather may have changed his own oil or spark plugs. Your grandmother may have made her own bread or made homemade pie. You, yes you, just may be able to troubleshoot your slow home Wi-Fi issues.
Suboptimal Router Placement/Location
The most common problem with a home Wi-Fi set-up is simple to troubleshoot and fix. The distance between your router/modem is too great. On average, a home Wi-Fi set up on the 2.4 GHz band should be able to broadcast up to 150 feet (45.72 m) indoors. This, however, can be impacted by construction material and the number of walls it must pass through to reach your device. A home with brick or cinder block walls can be impacted more than a home with wood or plaster walls. This issue can generally be fixed by increasing the height of the router and shortening the distance to your device. Don’t place routers in closets or under furniture if you want the best connections.
Using Too Much Bandwidth
Another common issue is using up too much bandwidth at the same time. When multiple devices are streaming or downloading software updates or images, the digital “pipe” can clog. The increase in video streaming and television services creates the most problems. If you can’t increase bandwidth, you will just have to limit the number of multiple users streaming simultaneously to improve speeds.
Too Many Devices Using the 2.4 GHz Band
Many homeowners don’t realize how many devices use that same 2.4 GHz band most common for home Wi-Fi. These include cellphones, voice assistants, baby monitors, wireless security cameras, wireless speakers, controllers and even microwave ovens. Disconnecting these devices one at a time and seeing if your Wi-Fi speed improves is one way to troubleshoot issues and determine devices whose use should be limited. It is possible you have one rogue device that is using far more bandwidth than it should, putting your online experience on the struggle bus.
Your Router or Modem Is Old
Wi-Fi standards seem to increase every few years. That means even a router that is five years old can be out-of-date and underperforming. The most popular Wi-Fi standards for routers in 2019 and into 2020 include wireless B, G, N, and AC. Replacing your old router can make an impact on your Wi-Fi speed.
No matter how many “wireless” devices we may have, they usually ultimately rely on some wired connection. It may be at the device, modem, router or cable connection. Check any and all wired connections to make sure they are tight and solid and aren’t worn.
First Things First: Try a Simple Reset
If everything else fails to this point, you may want to try the old standard. Simply reboot your router or modem. These items can sometimes go months or years without a digital reboot and could use a little refresher. The same may be said for your devices.
If your devices are updated, you are not overloading your bandwidth and you don’t have any rogue devices, you may be left with contacting your internet service provider. Don’t be surprised, however, if they suggest rebooting your router or modem.
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