Slow Wi-Fi can be very annoying especially if you’re studying or working from home. Slow internet speed can ruin your day whether you need to upload work-related files on the cloud or even if you need to stream your favourite show on Netflix. Thankfully slow Wi-Fi is a problem you can fix. In most cases slow Wi-Fi can be fixed in a few easy steps. Follow this guide as we list out a few methods to fix Wi-Fi connection issues.
Slow Wi-Fi: How to fix
There are many factors at play that may result in slow Wi-Fi to be slow. These are some of the methods that you can follow to identify and fix Wi-Fi connection issues.
1. Do you have slow Internet speed?
Before jumping into conclusions that you’re struggling with slow internet speed, make sure that the advertised speed of your internet plan matches with the internet speed that you’re getting. To do that, visit any website that lets you measure internet speed such as speedtest.net or fast.com. If the speed results match with the advertised speed provided by your ISP (Internet Service Provider), we’d say that your connection is absolutely fine and in order to speed things up, you can always go for an upgraded plan that offers faster internet speeds.
2. Restart Wi-Fi router to fix Wi-Fi issues
Sometimes all you need to do with your Wi-Fi router is a quick restart to fix Wi-Fi connection problems. Simply turn off your Wi-Fi router and then turn it on after a few seconds and then check if you’re still getting slow internet speeds. If that doesn’t fix Wi-Fi issues, try restarting your computer, phone, or other devices. Sometimes the reason for slow Internet speed may just be one of your devices, and not the Internet connection.
3. Positioning the Wi-Fi router could fix slow Wi-Fi
Are you still facing slower internet speeds despite having a high-speed internet connection and a good enough Wi-Fi router? The problem could be with the positioning of your router. It is always recommended to place the router at a higher place, such as above the wardrobe. Besides, you can always place the Wi-Fi router at different spots in your house or workplace to see which area gets the best signal strength before finalising on a spot. Do note, generally Wi-Fi signals are able to pass through walls and other objects, but in some instances thicker walls or some metals do obstruct the signals. In such scenarios, it is always recommended to keep your router away from microwave ovens or refrigerators, and as we mentioned above, position the router at an elevation and an optimal spot.
4. Adjust the router’s antennas
Positioning the antennas on a Wi-Fi router straight up redirects the Wi-Fi signals in a single direction. That’s why you should always point the antennas in different directions. For instance, many Wi-Fi routers come with two or three antennas. In such a scenario, make sure to point the antennas in vertical and horizontal directions, so that the Wi-Fi signals can cover a wider area.
5. Use a strong Wi-Fi security standard
If your Wi-Fi’s security is not strong enough, it could be easy to gain access to the password. our neighbour might be stealing your Wi-Fi connection, and that may be why you have slow Wi-Fi. Therefore, it is always suggested to use WPA2 security protocol on your router. You can change this via your router’s settings. To set a WPA2 password, access your Wi-Fi settings by entering your router’s IP address in any browser on your phone or computer. You can find your router’s IP address at the back of the router, or else you can also look for it by accessing your Wi-Fi’s network settings on your phone or computer.
6. Single connection, multiple users
You might have a high-speed internet connection that’s shared by multiple users in your house or your workplace, and while a Wi-Fi router doesn’t slow the internet speeds when multiple people use it, your available bandwidth does get compromised. What this means is that you could be downloading files from the cloud, while your kid could be downloading that latest game from the PlayStation Network, all while your partner could be streaming their favourite movie or TV show. In such a scenario, all of you could face slow Wi-Fi since each device is using a significant chunk of the available bandwidth.
In this case you could try reducing the load on the Internet connection by pausing any one of the streams or downloads. This could lead to improved Wi-Fi speeds for others. Modern routers support technology that ensures equal bandwidth across all devices, and if you’re facing issues even with one of those routers, the bottleneck may be your Internet speed.
7. Using QoS to fix slow Wi-Fi
One of the best tools available that is often overlooked is QoS or Quality of Service, whose job is to basically divide the available bandwidth on your Wi-Fi network between applications. With an optimum setting, you can watch that wildlife video on YouTube in 4K resolution without any stutter all while ensuring that your latest game gets downloaded on Steam. With QoS, you can decide which service to prioritise on your Wi-Fi network and hence dividing the bandwidth accordingly. Do note, there are different ways to access QoS settings for routers, which means the way to access QoS on a Netgear router will differ from that of a TP-Link router. To check your router’s QoS settings, enter your router’s IP address in a browser and look for the QoS tab to access the settings.
8. Update router’s firmware to fix Wi-Fi connection issues
Software updates for your router are very important since they improve its stability, performance and security. Most of the routers available these days come with the ability to update themselves automatically, however if you’re having an old router, you might have to install the software updates manually. Different routers have different ways to update the software. To find out more, enter your router’s IP address in any browser on your phone or computer to access Wi-Fi settings for your router.
9. Changing the DNS server
Every ISP irrespective of their different internet plans uses a DNS (domain name system), which basically helps translate the IP address of servers into domain names such as youtube.com or facebook.com. Mostly, the default DNS server provided by ISPs is slow and unreliable, and this is why simply changing your DNS server can give you that sigh of relief and a much-needed gain in your internet speed and performance. To learn how to change DNS, you can check out our guides on how to change DNS on iOS, or on your computer. For those who use Android, go to the Wi-Fi settings on your phone and look for the Private DNS option. By default, it is turned off on most Android phones, but you can choose to set it on Automatic or you can even do the settings manually by hitting Private DNS provider hostname.
10. Use a Wi-Fi analyser
A Wi-Fi analyser app can be a potent tool in determining the best channel that’s less crowded and offers minimal interference. There are two main bands used in Wi-Fi communications — 2.4GHz and 5GHz. The 5GHz band is less crowded but it has lower range, so keep that in mind when analysing the results of these tools. These bands are further divided into multiple channels and this is where a Wi-Fi analyser helps in finding out which Wi-Fi networks are broadcasting on the same channels so that you can opt for an alternate one. There are various free and paid Wi-Fi analyser apps available on the internet that can help you in solving such issues. You can check out some of the popular Wi-Fi analyser options for phone and computers such as NetSpot, InSSIDer, NetX and Network Performance Monitor to name a few.
11. Change your Wi-Fi channel
If you find out your router’s IP address and use it to access your Wi-Fi settings in any browser, you’ll come across channels under wireless settings. There are a total of 14 channels and the first thing you need to find out is which Wi-Fi channel is the most utlised in your area. Once you determine that, you can always try to find and choose a non-overlapping channel which is spaced far enough from the other channels. Most of the ISP’s set the channel settings to automatic, but if you’re having slower internet speeds then we’d say you fiddle around and find out the clearest channel for yourself for the best optimal experience.
12. Reset your device’s network settings
If resetting your Wi-Fi router doesn’t solve your problem, you should probably consider resetting your device’s network settings. By resetting the network settings of your device, you’ll basically be setting them to default. From there, you can reconfigure your Wi-Fi on all your devices and check if doing this solved your problem. The steps vary for each device and you will have to re-enter your Wi-Fi password to use the Internet. You can check our handy guide to finding your Wi-Fi password, in case you have forgotten it.
13. Purchase a new Wi-Fi router
Getting a high-speed internet plan doesn’t solve the quest for getting high internet speeds, instead your Wi-Fi router also has a big role to play. You see, you can get a high-speed internet plan, but you can’t make the most out of it if your Wi-Fi router is old or doesn’t comply with the new Wi-Fi standards. To fix this problem, try getting a new Wi-Fi router that supports 802.11ac (popularly known as Wi-Fi 5) or at least 802.11n (also known as Wi-Fi 4). However, if you’re looking for a superfast Wi-Fi router, you can also purchase one that supports the latest 802.11ax standards (known as Wi-Fi 6). Although keep in mind that since this technology is still under development, routers that support Wi-Fi 6 standards are actually very expensive.
14. File a complaint with your ISP
If none of the methods mentioned above works out for you, then you should probably contact your ISP and let the professionals take care of the problem. Sometimes it is always better to simply call and file a complaint rather than trying to fix things on your own, and if your ISP has a good track record with customer service, your problem might be fixed in minimal time.
15. Change your ISP
If your current ISP isn’t able to serve your needs in your area and you’re still constantly dealing with slow internet speeds, then your last resort would be to look for a better connection and change to that. In such a scenario, it is always better to do some research and find out which connection provides the best price-to-performance ratio in your locality. It is also good to talk to your neighbours as well and see which connection they are using and how well it is serving them.
A version of this story first appeared on https://gadgets.ndtv.com/
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