The fact is that most laptops and mobile devices are now WiFi enabled. However, the vast majority of home users fail to get the most from these devices and their wireless networks. Below we offer our top 10 tips for improving WiFi performance.
Move Your Wireless Router/Modem
Many people like to position their router/modem out of sight – in a cupboard or under a table for example. Unfortunately this can cause a considerable degradation in the wireless signal generated preventing the device from operating to its full potential. Further, they are often positioned in a location that isn’t central.
By far the cheapest and easiest way to improve performance is to position the router as close as possible to the center of the home so that the coverage can spread evenly around the whole house. Also try to keep it out in the open e.g. on top of a desk or table and away from any other wireless devices such as baby monitors and cordless phone stations which can interfere with the signal.
Upgrade Your Equipment
Unfortunately the pace of development in wireless technology continues at a remarkable pace and the reason for poor performance can often be found in equipment being out of date. For example the current standard for wireless technology is 802.11n. It offers up to 5 times the performance and twice the range of the old standard.
However, buying a new router/modem will not necessarily see performance improve. Whilst the standard is backwards compatible any devices connecting to the network will also need to be build to the 802.11n standard to benefit. This isn’t necessarily as bad as it sounds. If you have a laptop that is more than a few years old it is unlikely to support the new standard, however, upgrading the laptops WiFi adapter using a USB or PCMCIA socket should improve things no end.
Use a Range Extender
Another recent innovation is the ability to turn plugs into wireless access points. I use the excellent Devolo 1409 dLAN 200 AV Wireless-N Plugs in my home. Not only does it support wireless devices but up to 3 devices can also be connected via a network cable. With TV’s and DVD players now being sold as internet enabled you wont regret having a couple of these plugs in the home.
Update Firmware & Drivers
Nearly all WiFi enable devices incorporate software known as Firmware in their products. Many people do not realise that this is upgraded by the manufacturers quite regularly. Checking for firmware updates every now and again and updating your software is essential to ensure wireless devices continue to perform to the bet of their potential. Firmware updates can be a bit tricky but most manufactures off pretty good instructions on how to carry out such an update.
Change the Channel
All wireless routers can transmit on one of several channels. Most people are not aware of this and as a result use the default channel. If you live in an area where there are a lot of wireless networks then there is likely to be interference with your neighbours router/modem as each device seeks its own space. Changing the wireless transmission channel can solve this problem.
Following these 5 tips can significantly improve the performance of wireless devices. Try them and see for yourself. Of course there are dozens of other potential problems and ways to make improvements. Unfortunately each of us has a different combination of devices and some simply do not like each other. Getting a helping hand from an expert can save you a lot of time, trouble, frustration and money.
If you’d like to improve the performance of wireless devices in the home such as laptops, smartphones, game consoles etc. but would welcome some expert assistance then please call us on 01258 858466 for a no obligation discussion of your requirements.