If you are experiencing slow or inconsistent internet speeds in your home or business, it may surprise you but it may have nothing to do with your internet service from your provider. In fact, there are some easy things that you can do to help improve your Wi-Fi speeds. With help from our expert, TDS Telecom’s Manager of Consumer Data Product Management Brandon Laufenberg, here are some DIY tips and tricks to help improve your internet experience.
1). Router Placement
Where you place your Wi-Fi router matters. Wi-Fi routers are the devices that connect your home network to the internet. While it may seem arbitrary, where you set up your Wi-Fi router can impact the performance of your Wi-Fi.
“If possible, keep your Wi-Fi router centrally located,” Laufenberg said. “If that’s not possible for your home, consider utilizing a mesh Wi-Fi system where you use multiple wireless access points throughout the home.”
It also helps to have your Wi-Fi router off the ground and not inside of cabinets or behind things that can cause interference. Closed doors, walls, and other physical barriers can affect your network’s speed. Accounting for this can help reduce the amount of interference you encounter.
2). Monitor Network Usage
Your Wi-Fi network is like a highway. It only has the bandwidth to handle so many “cars” (data) before a traffic jam occurs, when the network gets congested and your experience slower speeds. The more devices you have using the network’s available data, the more prone you are to a proverbial internet traffic jam.
By disconnecting old devices you no longer use and devices you don’t recognize from your network, you can potentially increase your Wi-Fi speed.
“Keep an eye out for old devices that you forgot were even connected,” Laufenberg advised. “Old devices can really slow down networks.”
Many Wi-Fi connected devices now have apps to help you manage your network. These apps can show which devices are connected to your network. There are a number of methods you can use to disconnect devices, including blocking devices via your router’s online control panel or changing your Wi-Fi password.
3). Update Your Equipment
Wi-Fi routers, like any other piece of technology, can quickly become old and outdated when new updates or models are developed and released. Often, the key to faster Wi-Fi speeds is simply keeping your equipment current. The devices you are connecting to the internet, like your laptop, smart TV, or smartphone, all need to stay up to date too if you want to really benefit from a newer Wi-Fi router.
Another thing to update is the firmware. If you use your own equipment, make sure you keep it up to date to help with stability, but also to help avoid security vulnerabilities. With TDS equipment, we take care of maintaining the firmware of your equipment, leaving you with one less thing to worry about!
4). Change your Frequency
Wi-Fi routers primarily operate on two different frequencies, 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz. These numbers represent the frequency bands that the routers use to broadcast Wi-Fi signals. Each frequency has its advantages. 2.4 GHz has more range and is better equipped to pass through walls and obstacles, while 5 GHz is the faster frequency and is less likely to be interrupted by competing technologies. Depending on the placement of your router, the number of devices on your network, and where you live, one frequency may result in faster speeds for your network.
Additionally, within each frequency is a number of channels. Each channel operates at a slightly different center frequency. Channels can suffer from congestion if too many Wi-Fi routers in close vicinity are using the same channel.
“If you have a lot of neighbors who live close by, you can try changing to a less congested channel,” Laufenberg said. “Most equipment will try to do this automatically, but sometimes doing it yourself helps.”
Some Wi-Fi routers and modems now have apps to help you manage your network. To manually change your Wi-Fi router’s frequency or channel, log in and access your router’s configuration page through your computer or mobile device.
These tips and tricks can help you improve your internet speeds, allowing for a more consistent and convenient connection. However, the best way to ensure you have a strong internet connection is to pick the right internet provider. TDS Telecom has provided reliable and affordable high-speed internet, TV, and home phone service to communities for over 50 years. With up to 8 Gig fiber internet speeds available in select communities, TDS Telecom is best choice for fast and reliable internet.
Written by Will Chamblee, TDS Communications Intern