Things Slowing Down Your Wi-Fi ( What to Do About Them)

Things Slowing Down Your Wi-Fi: The extent to which we rely on the Internet for everything from work to entertainment means that slow Wi-Fi speeds are annoying. Here are some common causes of Wi-Fi problems and what to do about them.

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First, assess your general network.

Before we dive into the most common reasons why your Wi-Fi performance is less than expected, let’s get a few things out of the way so you can better troubleshoot your Wi-Fi speed issues.

First, don’t rely on a smartphone (or laptop using Wi-Fi) for your speed test. Speed ​​testing with a smartphone is not an accurate way to test your internet connection speed.

So before you point the finger at Wi-Fi as the source of your problems, first run a proper speed test on your Internet connection to rule out any major issues with your ISP or broadband modem.

Second, the Wi-Fi speed is deceptive. What your Wi-Fi hardware says it can do, as far as advertising and labeling is concerned, and what it can do in real-world situations are different.

Even with a fiber connection that meets or exceeds your Wi-Fi router’s advertised speed, you won’t get the advertised speed on your phone or laptop.

Instead of approaching your Wi-Fi problem with “Am, I getting the full potential of my Internet connection from each device?” That’s not how Wi-Fi works, so instead approach it from the perspective of “Am I getting the expected performance based on my Internet connection and the hardware I have?” and “Has my Wi-Fi experience dropped in quality lately?”

You can’t make a 5Mbps DSL connection faster with the latest Wi-Fi hardware, and even with the latest Wi-Fi hardware and fiber connections, you’re not exceeding the inherent limitations of the Wi-Fi standard.

But what you can do, if the performance isn’t what you expect, is to work through the list below and rule out artificial barriers that are causing a cruddy Wi-Fi experience.

Outdated Wi-Fi routers affect performance.

Outdated Wi-Fi routers affect performance.

Everyone hates to spend money, and it’s frustrating to have to replace functional hardware with less performance. But the reality is that Wi-Fi hardware has evolved quite steadily over the years.

If you’re still using an old router you picked up at Best Buy ten years ago or a crappy Wi-Fi router your ISP built into the router/cable modem combo unit, you have It will not be a good time. Also, some of the tips below may help if you have an old Wi-Fi router, but there’s really no substitute for biting the bullet and buying a new router.

Especially for people with new hardware — new smartphones, a new smart TV, etc. — it makes sense to upgrade because pairing new devices with older hardware is holding back their performance.

Poor router placement reduces signal strength.

The only thing worse than an old Wi-Fi router is parking your Wi-Fi router in a terrible place—and if you have an old and damaged one outside, you’re going to have a really bad time.

If you need bright task lighting in your living room, don’t put your high-power LED work light down in the corner of the basement.

And by the same token, if you want really strong Wi-Fi where you use your Wi-Fi devices—like your living room and bedroom—you don’t put a Wi-Fi router in the basement with the washing machine.

An easy solution is to move your Wi-Fi router. Just make sure the signal is most central to your daily activities and avoid placing it near those Wi-Fi blocking objects.

Many devices bog down with underpowered hardware

Many devices bog down with underpowered hardware

The biggest benefit of new Wi-Fi hardware isn’t just the improved speed that comes with each new Wi-Fi generation, but the overall increase in power and devices a Wi-Fi router can handle.

Even if you’re not chasing performance standards to show off your new 2Gbps fiber line, you’ll benefit from a new Wi-Fi router if you have a lot of devices in your home.

We want to emphasize that it is the number of devices and not the number of users that you want to focus on. Faster devices, even when they’re not in use, have significant bandwidth overhead and place demands on your network that you might not expect.

Cloud-based security cameras use a lot of bandwidth, as do a variety of other smart home devices — you’d be surprised how many bandwidth vampires you have around your home. People think of heavy bandwidth usage when they worry about blowing through their data cap, but all devices that use bandwidth also typically use Wi-Fi.

Add up all the computers, tablets, smartphones, consoles, streaming devices, smart TVs, smart home accessories, and more found in the modern home, and you’re looking at a list that easily exceeds the capacity of older routers or Brushes more than that.

While we’re talking about a lot of devices on your Wi-Fi network, we’d encourage you to think about removing devices from your Wi-Fi network. No, we don’t mean living with an Xbox or smart TV that’s completely disconnected from the Internet — we mean any device you can use to free up airspace for the rest of your Wi-Fi devices. can be switched to Ethernet.

Old hardware and cables slow down the speed.

It’s really easy to overlook if you’re not a networking nerd. While the Wi-Fi capabilities of the Wi-Fi router itself and endpoint devices like your smartphone or smart TV are a huge part of the Wi-Fi performance puzzle, you don’t want to overlook the simple physical bits that make up your network. Tie the Together

If you have old Cat5 cables or an old 10/100 network switch mixed in with your network hardware, you may be unknowingly slowing down your network.

For people with slow sub-100Mbps broadband, you’ll never feel like an old switch is hurting your performance, but if you have fast broadband, those old cables and hardware will cost you more. will reduce the speed more than possible.

While we’re talking about a lot of devices on your Wi-Fi network, we’d encourage you to think about removing devices from your Wi-Fi network. No, we don’t mean living with an Xbox or smart TV that’s completely disconnected from the Internet — we mean any device you can use to free up airspace for the rest of your Wi-Fi devices. can be switched to Ethernet.

Old hardware and cables slow down the speed.

Old hardware and cables slow down the speed.

It’s really easy to overlook if you’re not a networking nerd. While the Wi-Fi capabilities of the Wi-Fi router itself and endpoint devices like your smartphone or smart TV are a huge part of the Wi-Fi performance puzzle, you don’t want to overlook the simple physical bits that make up your network. Tie the Together

If you have old Cat5 cables or an old 10/100 network switch mixed in with your network hardware, you may be unknowingly slowing down your network.

For people with slow sub-100Mbps broadband, you’ll never feel like an old switch is hurting your performance, but if you have fast broadband, those old cables and hardware will cost you more. will reduce the speed more than possible.

To avoid this, check the physical network cables connecting the various components of your network to make sure they are at least Cat5E, or better yet, Cat6. And if you are using network switches, upgrade them from 10/100 switches to Gigabit switches. Unmanaged Gigabit switches and Cat6 patch cables are cheap these days.

Channel Congestion Dinges Wi-Fi Performance

Wi-Fi channel congestion occurs when multiple Wi-Fi devices are using the same frequency, or channel, in the same air space.

If your neighbor’s Wi-Fi router is configured in the same way as your Wi-Fi router, and you live close enough that your router broadcasts to their location and vice versa, it can interfere with your network. can affect negatively.

This is more of a problem for devices on the 2.4Ghz band than on the 5Ghz band, but you should pay attention to it whether you live in an apartment or in a densely populated area. You will need to identify which channels are the most congested and refer to the documentation to change your specific router to less congested channels.

Wi-Fi extenders increase reach but decrease speed.

If you’re struggling with Wi-Fi issues such as slow speeds or weak coverage, there’s a good chance you’ve considered using a Wi-Fi extender and likely already have one in your home.

Despite their popularity, from a sales perspective, Wi-Fi extenders have a bit of a bad reputation when it comes to actual network performance.

While they can certainly increase your network reach when deployed properly, they can also introduce network congestion, latency, and slow speeds.

To rule out your Wi-Fi extender as a source of Wi-Fi network headaches, temporarily unplug it. With the extender disabled, check the overall performance of your network with devices connected directly to the main Wi-Fi router. If performance improves significantly, there are likely two problems, possibly in combination.

First, your Wi-Fi extender may be poorly configured and deployed — use these tips and tricks to get better performance. Second, the additional coverage provided by the extender and all the additional devices added to your network thanks to that extended coverage can be too much for your main router, even with the help of the extender.

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