Is there anything more annoying than your Wi-Fi connection cutting out while you’re using it? So much of our lives happens online, from work to entertainment to connecting with friends and family. If your home’s Wi-Fi is slow, that can slow down every part of your life.
If your Wi-Fi isn’t everything it should be, the good news is that there are usually simple things you can do to fix it. If those fixes don’t work, though, you may need to look into switching your plan or picking a better internet service provider.
Let’s look at some of the most common reasons why your Wi-Fi may not be working well.
1. Move Your Router’s Location
Wi-Fi signals travel away from your router in all directions. That means that putting your router in the corner of your home or next to an external wall sends half the signal outside of your home. To get an even signal throughout your home, you should place your router in a central location.
If your Wi-Fi’s connection is inconsistent throughout your home, see if you can move your router to a more central location. This should help the rooms at the edges of your home get better signal.
2. Check to Make Sure Your Signal Isn’t Blocked
While Wi-Fi signals can travel through walls, barriers do actually slow them down. The more walls, heavy furniture, or other objects there are between you and your router, the worse the signal will be. This is particularly true if there’s anything metal or glass near your router. Those materials refract Wi-Fi signals and can prevent them from reaching your device.
Check your router’s location and make sure it’s not behind any heavy furniture or near any glass or metal decorations. The more out in the open your router is, the clearer the signal will be.
3. Get Extra Hardware
If you have a particularly large home, your Wi-Fi may need some help reaching every corner. Fortunately, there are plenty of tools you can use to extend your Wi-Fi’s connection range.
Range extenders are devices that capture Wi-Fi connections and send them a little further than they would otherwise be able to reach. The extended signal may be a bit weaker, but it’ll have better reach. Access points essentially act as additional routers that can originate another Wi-Fi signal. If you have an especially large home, you could benefit from getting additional access points for different floors or opposite sides of the home.
4. Check If Other Networks Are Interfering with Yours
If there are a lot of networks in close proximity to yours, other people’s signals may be interfering with yours. This is especially common if you live in an apartment or condo in the same building as several other homes.
You can use the free software NetSpot to check if other networks are interfering with yours. If they are, you can fix this by switching your Wi-Fi to a different channel. This tutorial can walk you through how to do so. Once your Wi-Fi connection is traveling on a more open channel, slowdowns should be less frequent.
5. Check and Fix Issues with Your Router
Like any other type of hardware, your router can slow down, get old, or need a restart.
In fact, if you notice that your Wi-Fi is unexpectedly slow, the first thing you should do is restart it. Sometimes turning a device off and on again really is all that’s needed.
Routers can also overheat, just like any other electronic, so if it’s hot where the router is, that may be the root of the issue. And sometimes routers simply get old and become less efficient. If your router is several years old and has started slowing down for no discernible reason, you may want to see if your ISP can provide you with a replacement.
6. Check and Fix Issues with Your Device
Sometimes, it’s not the Wi-Fi itself that’s the problem, but the phone or computer you’re trying to connect it to. Often, what looks like a Wi-Fi issue is actually a hardware issue.
The easy fix to this is to try to connect multiple devices, like your phone and your laptop, to the same network. If your phone connects fine but your laptop doesn’t, the issue likely lies with your laptop.
7. Change Your Internet Plan
Not all Wi-Fi plans are created equal. It may be that the plan you initially selected is too slow for how you use the internet now. Internet speed is measured in Mbps, and you can use this page to figure out how much you may need.
It’s also worth noting that different delivery models can impact how fast your Wi-Fi is, regardless of how many Mbps your plan promises. Fiber optic internet generally delivers the best bandwidth, with cable being a close runner up. If you find that you do need to switch internet plans, look for plans that use fiber first.
Also look into data caps with different providers. Some providers impose caps on your internet usage. This means that they only allow you to use a certain amount of data in a certain amount of time. If you go over this limit, they’ll slow down or perhaps even shut off your Wi-Fi. The best solution is to try to look for an internet service provider that promises no data caps ever.
There are a number of possible reasons why your Wi-Fi connection is poor, but most of them have pretty quick fixes. If the issue ultimately lies with your provider or plan, then it may be time to switch. Look for providers with faster plans, good delivery models like fiber, and a commitment to no data caps.