UPDATE: Here is a useful link with some recent research on wireless routers. It could prove useful for picking the most appropriate router for your particular situation: https://www.reviews.com/best-wireless-router/
Technology is great when it works. Unfortunately, most of us have experienced problems with our home WiFi and wasted countless hours troubleshooting the connection. Between dealing with the dreadfully slow loading/downloading speeds and sometimes losing connection altogether, Wi-Fi issues often cause a lot of unnecessary hassle. Most of our electronic accessories now connect to the internet–Computers, cell phones, Smart TV’s, tablets, etc.–so routers can be easily overwhelmed. Establishing a decent WiFi connection, however, can save you lots of time and improve your internet experience as whole. Whether you’re gaming, chatting on Skype, or trying to get some work done, nobody likes having a poor connection and waiting for the seemingly never-ending spinning of loading circles.
Choosing a Router
One of the most important things you can do to enhance your WiFi speed is making sure that you are using up-to-date hardware. Older routers such as the 802.11b and 802.11g only use the 2.4GHz frequency, which is just too crowded between neighbors and all the other devices that are being used. Modern devices such as the 802.11n and 802.11ac routers offer access to two network signals: 2.4GHz and 5GHz. Using multiple bands can decrease both congestion and interference as it is far less crowded and offers more channels (Fitzpatrick, 2016). Also, keep in mind that ISP’s do not always provide the most advanced routers. I would recommend upgrading to the TP-Link AC1200 dual band router.
Placing Your Router
To achieve the best connection, your router should be placed out in the open and preferably elevated. Setting up your router near the center of the house can extend the range of your network as well. Try to avoid putting it too close to any metal objects, walls, or other obstructions that could potentially hinder the signal. Positioning the antenna up perpendicular can also serve to enhance your WiFi signal.
Coordinate with the other people connected to your network and try to convince people to download their bigger content during less popular times. When there is less traffic, the download should complete quicker and it won’t hinder everybody else who is trying to use the network.
Set Bandwidth Priorities
If you have a lot of people connected to your WiFi, you may find it useful to control the bandwidth for different applications. This is particularly useful if you have people that are using applications that require tons of bandwidth (video chats, online games, netflix, etc.). Quality of Service (QoS), for example, allows you to prioritize bandwidth for certain applications (Gordon, 2012). Using this method, you can make sure that your most important applications are receiving the requisite amount of bandwidth to function at a decent speed.
Setup your router to reboot regularly
For many people, restarting the router is their primary method of troubleshooting. While this is useful as it refreshes the connection, it makes more sense to set a schedule for the router to automatically restart. Ideally, frequent reboots will save you the time and effort of having to manually restart the router every time the WiFi is slow or not responding.
Have you had any problems with your home WiFi? Let us know what solutions have worked for you.