There are a number of reasons why Wifi can be slow, but there are easy ways to improve Wifi speeds. Covering everything from mesh systems to router location, this blog unveils Truespeed’s top 5 tips on how to boost Wifi speeds.
What is Wifi?
Wifi uses radio signals to transmit information, allowing you to use electronic devices such as phones without being directly connected to a router. By using wireless transmitters, it gives you the freedom to access the internet on multiple devices in different locations throughout a property.
Why are my Wifi speeds slow?
Although Wifi gives you more freedom to use the internet in different locations throughout a property, because it’s not hard wired into a router it can mean fluctuating speeds. Fluctuating Wifi speeds are very common and can be caused by a number of reasons such as router location, numbers of users online at the same time and the kind of hub you use. But, despite not being as reliable as hardwired devices, there are a number of things you can do to improve Wifi speeds.
Top 5 Tips On How To Boost Wifi Speeds
1. Consider Powerline over WiFi Extenders
If you are looking to extend wireless to a specific area of your home, one of the most popular methods to date is a Wi-Fi extender. These singular devices receive wifi from your router and transmit the signal to another radius. Whilst this type of extender can be a used effectively in certain situations, they often cause more harm than good.
There are a number of reasons for this. Firstly there is a common misconception that these types of wireless extender amply or boost the signal from your router. In reality they actually cut your router’s wireless signal in half. It is also very important that the repeater itself achieves a strong signal from the router to be able to transmit the signal onwards. If your repeater has insufficient signal received from the router, it can actively help make your entire Wi-Fi network worse.
Powerline can be a more effective method of extending wireless throughout your home. A Powerline Adapter Kit starts with two units, a master and a slave. These adapters simply convert the network data from your router and carry it directly through 230v electrical wiring in your home to the slave adapter transmitting wireless to a radius of its given location. To ensure that the Powerline Adapters work at their best, it is important to place the adapters in plug sockets on the same electrical circuit.
If you’re looking for a quick and easy solution that boosts the signal to an area of your home, we would recommend TP-Link TL-WPA4220 Kit with an online RRP: £39.99*. Looking for something with more punch: TPL-WPA7510 Kit with a RRP: £84.99*. Easy to follow ‘Quick Setup’ guide and are simple devices that does the trick.
For those that want that something extra and rely heavily on good Wi-fi throughout your home, well….that brings me perfectly onto my next point.
2. Mesh systems
If you want to take it up a notch and invest in a flawless system, then turn your attention to mesh systems. These work delightfully well with ultrafast full fibre broadband…just saying.
That’s because full fibre broadband can reach its ultimate potential of guranteed speeds no matter how far away from the router you are with these systems. Mesh systems are becoming increasingly popular as reliable broadband is becoming more and more important in our daily lives.
Mesh systems are typically made up of 2-3 boxes which are placed around your home where signal is the weakest. The main connection point plugs directly into your router and the boxes bounce signals off each other and give you a direct strong signal throughout your house.
Mesh systems start from around £100 and are definitely worth investing in if you rely on having great internet in every corner of your home. The other great thing about these systems, is you have more control of your internet and can do things such as assign temporary guest Wi-fi access, control all Wi-fi related things from your smart phone and for those parents who can’t get their kids off the internet, you can temporarily disable internet access to certain devices.
One of the most of popular wireless mesh systems on the market, and one that we would recommend, is the TP Link Deco System. There are a range of models to suit all needs starting with TP-Link DecoS4 system which comes with 3 boxes and an online retail price ranging from £99.99 – £129.99* depending on the retailer. There are also more powerful models available such as the Deco M5, M9, and the Deco P9 (worth considering for homes with thick internal walls).
3. Router location
Now this seems like a really obvious point, but you’d be surprised how many of us aren’t getting the most out of our Wi-fi through putting the router in the wrong location in the house. We tend to put routers in places like the living room, office or hallway, but these might not necessarily be the best location.
Check if your router is in a central location.
Wi-fi signals don’t just broadcast in one direction, the signals are transmitted in a radius around the router. If you’ve placed your router in a corner, against a wall, you may be reducing your usable coverage by half.
Place the router in a higher position
As I mentioned above, Wi-fi signals transmit in a radius around the router but they also transmit vertically. A lot of people don’t realise this so they place the router on a small coffee table in the corner of their living room, but really you want to be looking at around one metre off the ground.
Wi-fi signals can penetrate solid objects to an extent, but believe it or not, the materials most guilty of blocking Wi-fi signals is metal. You’re probably thinking, “I don’t really have much metal in my house” but when you start looking deeper into it, you might realise that there are some non-obvious metal objects that could be obstructing your signal. Looking at you, fridges and microwaves!
4. Switch to a different Wifi Channel
Now, we’re going to start getting a bit technical here, but don’t worry, we’ll get through this together – but feel free to bring in your resident family broadband guru for some additional moral support if you’d like!
Every router has different channels that each of your devices e.g. phones, iPads etc can be connected on. Normally this isn’t a problem, but when multiple devices are on the same Wi-Fi channel you can get ‘co-channel interference’. In easy terms – the channel is overcrowded.
You can change your Wi-Fi channels within your router and select either channel 1, 6, 11 if you’re using 2.4 Ghz or 36, 40, 44 or 48 if you’re using 5 Ghz. These channels don’t overlap each other and give the best opportunity of not having co-channel interference – still with me?
For those who love the nitty gritty technical details of channels, head over to Metageek as they give some awesome explanations of what you can do with your routers. For the rest of us, let’s crack on!
5. Use the latest devices
Believe it or not, older devices can actually stop you getting the most of your broadband speeds as they can limit the incoming Wi-Fi. As technology is rapidly growing, hardware such as phones, tablets and laptops can beome outdated. Devices are built based around what broadband speeds were typically available at the time. So even if you have full fibre, ultrafast broadband, your devices may not be up to date enough to allow to receive ultrafast speeds.
To make the most out of your broadband, try and use devices that are no older than 5 years old. To find out more about the problems with older devices and modern day Wi-Fi, simply click here.
You’re probably thinking, “wow, that’s a lot of information!” but don’t worry, I’ve wrapped up the 5 top tips on how to improve your Wifi in a cliff notes version below:
- Powerline – For those who are looking for a quick and easy solution
- Mesh system – For those who want a bit more of a flawless system and use the internet heavily
- Router placement – Check the location of your router and removes blockages that affect the Wi-Fi signal
- Switch Wifi Channels – Switch to channels 1, 6 or 11 on 2.4 Ghz or 36, 40, 44 or 48 on 5 Ghz to avoid signal overlapping
- Use the latest technologies -Try and use devices no older than 5 years old
I hope you’ve found this blog useful, but you don’t have to stop here! Now that you’re clued up on everything to improve Wi-Fi (and have essentially nominated yourself as the family internet expert) why not have a read about the difference between fibre broadband and ultrafast broadband products here and keep the knowledge train moving!
*price may vary depending on retailer.
Page last updated 13.7.21