How to get the most out of your home Wi-Fi

Does your home Wi-Fi work better in some rooms compared to others? Is it running as fast as it could be? If you notice the Wi-Fi signal bar on your smartphone, tablet or computer seems to be pretty low, your devices or home layout may be interfering with the Wi-Fi signal coming from your router.

Don’t stress – there are some simple changes you can make to get your home Wi-Fi signal in ship-shape. Here are some handy tips to help you make the most out of your home Wi-Fi and get the fastest, strongest signal possible.

5GHz is better than 2.4GHz

These days, most routers and Wi-Fi devices feature 5GHz AC Wi-Fi, a newer technology that offers faster performance than its predecessors. However, routers and Wi-Fi devices typically also offer backwards compatibility with the older 2.4GHz N Wi-Fi, which doesn’t perform as well and is prone to more interference. Many people use the weaker 2.4GHz by default or simply out of habit. The problem is that so many devices today are using bandwidth on the older 2.4GHz N Wi-Fi network, from phones and computers to Wi-Fi or Bluetooth-enabled household appliances, that it can cause major local congestion.

The newer 5GHz AC Wi-Fi is less congested simply because it has much more bandwidth available to be shared between multiple devices.

When it comes to devices that you use for applications such as streaming video, downloads and social media, it’s strongly recommended to use 5GHz AC Wi-Fi wherever possible for a faster, more reliable connection. Switch over your devices today and see the change for yourself!

Your Wi-Fi router location matters

While 5GHz AC Wi-Fi does offer better performance compared to older 2.4GHz Wi-Fi networks, it does have a shorter range and lower “signal penetration” (that’s tech-talk for it doesn’t travel through objects as well).

This range should be big enough to cover the average apartment or house, but if you live in a larger/ multi-story house or have thick walls, the solution may be as simple as relocating your router.

When choosing a location for your Wi-Fi router, aim for the following:

  • A clear, central place in your home – ideally with as few walls/objects as possible between the router and locations where you use the internet most often.

  • Out in the open – shutting a modem away in a cupboard just adds more obstacles.

  • On a desk or elevated shelf – Wi-Fi signal travels better “downwards” because there are fewer obstacles for the signal to pass through, so starting out on the floor is a disadvantage.

  • Away from any trees, plants, pipes, tiles, microwaves, fish tanks, large metal objects or mirrors – these can all act as obstacles for your Wi-Fi signal.

Check for background activity if you get sudden issues.

When you’re already confident in your Wi-Fi setup, it can be frustrating when the signal drops out of the blue. With the sheer number of wireless devices in the typical modern home, a common culprit for unexpected signal drops can simply be increased background activity.

At any moment, our phones, laptops, gaming systems or any number of other devices may suddenly decide to do a system update, or back-up our files to the cloud, causing slower performance across the whole household.

What may look like a Wi-Fi drop may actually be your internet connection running out of bandwidth for all your connected devices.

Tweaking your channel bandwidth

If you’re experiencing poor speeds or dropouts on your Wi-Fi, setting your Wi-Fi channel bandwidth to 20MHz only may resolve the issue. If you have a router from iiNet, this handy guide will show you how to make this change. If you have a third-party device, please check their website for support information.

Hardware considerations

Sometimes the size or construction of your home just isn’t optimised for a Wi-Fi signal, but that doesn’t mean that you don’t have options!

  • Wireless mesh networks A serious step up from a simple extender, wireless mesh networking systems have several Wi-Fi devices installed throughout your home, all working for the same Wi-Fi network. These devices capture each other’s Wi-Fi signals and rebroadcast it, creating a “mesh” of Wi-Fi signal without any dead spots.

  • Ethernet cabling Ethernet cabling just can’t be beaten, especially when it comes to very time-sensitive operations such as online gaming or stock trading. To avoid running long Ethernet cables along floors or under doors, get in touch with Your Wi-Fi Shop to discuss getting Ethernet cabling installed in your home so you can simply plug into Ethernet ports on the wall in the rooms where you have your router, computer, gaming console and/or smart TV.

Free tools to help improve your home Wi-Fi

If you're unsure how your Wi-Fi is set up and how it is currently performing, you can download a free and useful tool called inSSIDer by MetaGeek

Mac OS Download

Windows Download

inSSIDer is a Wi-Fi optimisation and troubleshooting tool. It scans for wireless networks with your Wi-Fi adapter, so you can visualise their signal strengths and what channels they are using.

It is great for helping you:

  • Pick the best channel for your Wi-Fi router

  • Channel-plan for homes with multiple routers

  • Avoid interference

  • Perform coverage checks

  • Optimise wireless networks

inSSIDer will give you the visibility needed to understand how your Wi-Fi is set up, as well as help you understand how neighbouring Wi-Fi networks are potentially impacting your Wi-Fi.

If you're having issues with your Wi-Fi and need some help to identify what is going on in your environment, get in touch with us today,

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