We have all been there. Scrolling through media feeds, watching the most exciting part of the movie, listening to your favorite podcast, and the Wi-Fi fails. Maybe it is excessive buffering, or slow downloads, or the signal doesn’t reach certain areas of the house. The dreaded word “loading” appears and with it, our patience drains.
Slow and unstable Wi-Fi signals are without a doubt one of the most frustrating issues to have. In a day and age when so much of our daily life relies on a strong Internet connection, the lack there of is no small thing. When it comes to ensuring your home or workplace is going to have the best internet connection possible, there are a few factors to consider.
One of the first things to do when focusing in on troubleshooting your Wi-Fi connection is to test your current Internet speed. Once you know your current speed, it will be easier to determine if it’s your Wi-Fi that is having problems or if it’s a network issue. To properly conduct an Internet Speed test, be sure to use a wired connection rather than a wireless connection. What this means is that when running a speed test, use a wired connection to your computer or device by connecting an Ethernet cable directly to the modem/router's Ethernet port. A wired connection will always return the true speeds your network can deliver.
Some tips when testing your Internet speed include:
- Limit the amount of applications that are using an Internet connection on your device.
- Find the Ethernet connection on your computer and connect this to the modem/router’s Ethernet port.
- Confirm all connections, including power and Ethernet, are tightly connected. Check for lights in the modem/router to verify.
- Simply, perform the test.
- Your test will show you download and upload speed results.
Once you’ve ruled out a network issue, you can focus on maximizing your Wi-Fi’s performance. There are many things that can degrade your Wi-Fi speeds and signal strength.
One of these factors is the location of the wireless modem/router. The placement of your modem/router is determined by the technician at the time of installation. Other factors such as the size and construction of your home along with items in the home can impact the strength of your signal. Materials in the home may very well interfere with Wi-Fi. This breaks down into:
Low: Wood, Synthetic Material, Glass
Medium: Water, Bricks, Marble
High: Plaster, Concrete, Metal
Devices that can interfere with your connection: Age of Device, Microwave Oven, Cordless Phone, and Baby Monitors
To help overcome these physical barriers, the eero home Wi-Fi system is a great product that creates a mesh network throughout your house ensuring coverage to every square foot in your home.
The age of your computer or other devices, each device’s wireless standards, distance from your modem/router, the number of devices connected at once, interference from other electrical equipment/devices, interference from your neighbor’s home network, and objects in the way can also impact the performance of your wireless signal. As can neighbors who like to piggyback on unsecured wireless. Be sure to secure and password protect your Wi-Fi to protect your connection.
One final factor to take into consideration is the number of simultaneous device connections. Multiple devices connected simultaneously to the Wi-Fi router will slow down Internet speeds for all devices. Depending on your internet plan, there’s only so much bandwidth to go around. So, if one device is streaming Netflix at the same time another device is downloading music files, the wireless Internet speeds for both devices will be slower.
Of course in today’s ever connected society, the problem, could simply be there isn't enough bandwidth to meet the needs of your household. To learn more about what Internet speed is best for your house, check out Finding the Right Internet Speed for your Household - Without the Headache.
Whatever your relationship with Internet looks like, it has become an essential part of day to day tasks and needs to run smoothly. When working towards maximizing your Wi-Fi, knowing the most common problems is the key to staying connected to what matters.