WiFi is considered one of the greatest modern conveniences. When a WiFi network is running flawlessly it keeps all of our device’s and computer’s massive bandwidth requirements satisfied. A well running network goes unnoticed, until problems start to pop up!
It’s very easy to misdiagnose slow download speeds and high latency and blame the DSL line or DSL account. For months on end I had a sub-par internet connection with my downloads barely running at 20% of the connection speed and latencies severely hampering my online gaming experience.
After replacing my modem, having my DSL line tested multiple times and switching to different types of DSL accounts, the solution was (rather embarrassingly) staring me right in the face.
Having upgraded my CPU, motherboard, RAM and graphics card I had never changed my WiFi card. My brand new and expensive modem was running at the fastest possible speed for a WiFi network, the WiFi card in my PC was a full generation behind. I have highlighted a few basic tricks that will hopefully help you to avoid the same frustrations that I blundered into.
1. Location! Location! Location!: This is the easiest trick, and often results in the largest improvements. Make sure that your WiFi router is never placed right up against a wall, especially an interior wall. Walls are filled with copper pipes and wiring and this can cause significant interference. Also try to keep your WiFi router away from microwaves ovens, fridges and even speaker systems.
2. D.I.Y. Extender: The beer – or if you are under 18, soda – can trick was something that I was skeptical about trying, but surprisingly it did actually improve the WiFi coverage in my home! As pictured below, you simply need to cut open a can lengthways and then splay the edges to form a radar dish (Be very careful to not cut yourself!). You then insert the WiFi router’s antenna through the opening, and voila you now have an instant WiFi extender. The extender works best if your WiFi router is in the corner of your house, and you need the signal focused inwards.
3. Set your Channel: Now things get slightly technical. WiFi works across a limited frequency range. If there are multiple WiFi networks in a small area, you can experience quite a bit of interference and signal degradation just from having too many networks broadcasting on the same channel. Luckily for us, most of us have an Android or Apple device in our pocket that can help us fix this. You need a tool like WiFi Analyzer, which scans the WiFi networks in the area and not only provides you with signal strength of each network, but also the channels that the respective networks are on. Once you’ve got a snapshot of the networks in your area, you need to access your WiFi router settings, and change the Channel that your WiFi broadcasts on to an unused channel. You can install WiFi Analyzer straight to your Android device from HERE.
4. Wires aren’t all Bad: There is no doubt that WiFi is a major convenience, but moving bandwidth hogs like your PS4 or XboxOne over to a wired ethernet connection ensures that there is more bandwidth available for your cellular devices, laptops and tablets. Using a wired connection for your online gaming will also make sure that you have a stable ping!
5. WiFi Extender: There will be times when even the above tricks don’t result in any improvement in your WiFi. When that happens your best bet is a WiFi extender! All major modem manufacturers have extenders available, and they are super easy to setup. They will usually improve your WiFi network’s performance and reach immediately. You can also purchase an extender straight from Afrihost HERE.
These are just examples of some quick and easy tricks that have worked well for me. What tricks do you use to boost your WiFi performance?