7 Mistakes You’re Making That Slow Down Your Wi-Fi—and How to Fix Them

Expert tips to achieve faster Wi-Fi

Slow Wi-Fi is the worst. But if you’re constantly struggling with buffering, lag, and weird distortions in your Zoom calls, there are a few things you can do at home to improve your signal and (hopefully) fix your problems. The home networking pros at HighSpeedInternet.com offer these simple tips to banish Wi-Fi woes.

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You’re hiding your Wi-Fi router in a closet or a corner

Home networking equipment isn’t pretty. Sometimes routers look like spiders, and you want to hide them away—but doing that can hurt your Wi-Fi speed. Hiding your router in a closet or behind your TV weakens Wi-Fi signals because physical obstructions (like TVs, walls, doors, etc.) get in their way. Wi-Fi waves can still get through most of these, but you could be hindering your Wi-Fi from the start.

How to fix it

Wireless routers tend to spread Wi-Fi signals evenly in all directions outwards from its location—so your router should be placed towards the middle of your home to get the best coverage. If you have yours at the far end of your home, you’re wasting half of your signals. But if you mainly use the internet in one area of your home, aim for a central location in that area.

Best spots to set up your router

  • Living rooms
  • Home offices
  • Near your TV

The worst spots to set up your router

  • Basements
  • Bathrooms
  • Closets

Too many people have your Wi-Fi password

Unfortunately, Wi-Fi is not an unlimited resource. And if you’ve been generous with your Wi-Fi password to visitors, neighbors, friends, and everyone in your household, you may find yourself short on internet speed when you need it.

How to fix it

There are a few things you can do to prevent this happening in the future. You can change your Wi-Fi password and be a bit more sparing with who you give it to moving forward. If you still need to give Wi-Fi access to guests, consider setting up a guest Wi-Fi network to keep them off your main one.

Your router antennas aren’t pointed anywhere in particular

Most router antennas are omnidirectional, which means they emit signals in all directions perpendicular to the antenna. So if all your antennas are straight up, you’ll get good signal around the router. But this setup won’t reach as well above or below your router, like if you have a multi-story house.

How to fix it

If you’re having troubles with Wi-Fi in the second floor or basement of your home, try laying a router antenna on its side. That will make the Wi-Fi signals spread better up and down.

All your devices are using the same Wi-Fi band

Most modern routers use two Wi-Fi bands, which often create two different Wi-Fi networks. If you crowd all of your devices onto one Wi-Fi band, it can cause a data traffic jam and make everything run slower.

How to fix it

The best fix for this is reorganizing your Wi-Fi connections. Sign in to your router’s interface or management app to see what devices are connected to the network and what band they’re on.

The 2.4 GHz band works better for connections that don’t need as much speed or are far away from your router. It’s slower than the other, 5 GHz band, but the signal has better range. You probably want to put smart home devices on the 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi band.

The 5 GHz Wi-Fi band is faster but has a smaller range than the 2.4 GHz band. Put any gaming connections, laptops, and smart TVs on the 5 GHz band for faster Wi-Fi speeds.

Your router is overworked

You know how you sometimes need to restart your computer when it’s running a bit slow? Your router can also get bogged down after a lot of use and can benefit from periodic breaks. It’s also a good idea to check for router firmware updates every so often so your router’s software stays up to date.

How to fix it

To restart your router, just turn it off and on again. To update your firmware, you’ll have to log in to your router’s settings and check for updates.

You’re using old equipment that can’t handle your Wi-Fi use

If you’re using older equipment, it could be time for an upgrade. Home networking technology and standards change pretty frequently, and newer modems and routers are faster, have better range, and run more efficiently.

How to fix it

Getting a new router can be inexpensive and will future-proof your network for years to come. The newest Wi-Fi standard for home networking is Wi-Fi 6. It was released in 2019, and it was created to handle multiple wireless connections at the same time to reflect the way most households use the internet.

Our favorite Wi-Fi 6 router is the ASUS RT-AX86U, but if you want more options, take a look at all our Wi-Fi 6 router recommendations.

You haven’t upgraded your internet plan

Sometimes, slow internet is just slow internet. If you’re doing everything right but slow Wi-Fi speeds persist, it’s time for an upgrade.

How to fix it

You can either call your internet service provider (ISP) to see if you can get a better connection speed or switch to another ISP that offers better speeds or lower prices. Either way, it’s a good idea to do a little research beforehand so you know exactly what you can get.

We usually recommend a minimum of 10 Mbps of download speed per person using your network. But if you can afford it, more bandwidth never hurts.

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Author -

Rebecca is a natural techie and the friend you turn to when your Wi-Fi randomly stops working. Since graduating from the University of Evansville with a degree in creative writing, Rebecca has leveraged her tech savvy to write hundreds of data-driven tech product and service reviews. In addition to HighSpeedInternet.com, her work has been featured on Top Ten Reviews, MacSources, Windows Central, Android Central, Best Company, TechnoFAQ and iMore.

Editor - Aaron Gates

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