How to Get Better Wi-Fi at Home

As many of us find ourselves diving head first into working from home, a common issue is weak Wi-Fi. We wanted to do our part to help by tapping our in-house experts for how to better at-home connectivity. Here are 11 tips for getting more out of the Wi-Fi you have at home.

  1. First things first, make sure your router’s firmware is up to date. Most modern routers make this pretty easy and it's just a matter of hitting an upgrade button.
  2. Make sure to strategically position your wireless router in your home. If you do most of your work in a certain room/area, make sure the router is there. If you move around a lot, make sure it's centrally located.
  3. Most network hardware are somewhat directional, meaning there is a right side up or down. For example if you have an access point designed to be mounted on the ceiling on the top floor, and it's pointing up instead of down, the signal on lower floors will suffer. You can tell by where the mounting point; the side with screw holes will have the weakest signal.
  4. Be mindful of materials and items in your home that cause interference. Things like double pane glass windows, metal mesh, and concrete will kill Wi-Fi signal propagation. If you have connection issues, try moving your router.
  5. Make sure your routers and modems have plenty of airflow. Hot routers and modems will create speed and connectivity issues.
  6. Microwaves and some other appliances will interfere in the 2.4GHZ spectrum. Don't put your router near your microwave!
  7. Use a newer wireless router that supports 5GHZ/AC/AX and make sure your devices can support the newer protocols.
  8. Channel selection! Most of the time automatic channel selection will work, but if you are in a dense area, such as a large apartment building, it may be best to manually set your channels. It may sound intimidating, but simply Google your specific router model and “channel selection” for step-by step directions. You can also use a Wi-Fi optimization tool to check channelization, such as WiFi Explorer for OSX or WiFi Analyzer for Windows.
  9. If your house is particularly large, use repeaters. Make sure the repeater works with the model router you have at home. If you have the ability to install a second wireless router in a dead zone, make sure you don’t have overlapping channels.
  10. Comcast user tip: although many of us might be reluctant to go the rental router route, our experts say it’s often the best way to avoid connectivity issues. In fact, they report speeds 10X faster and its easier to manage too. Perhaps the best part is if you encounter issues, Comcast has to fix it.
  11. Mac user tip: you can right click on the Wi-Fi icon at the top of the screen and it will tell you your speed to the router. If it's not very good, you might be too far away and need to either move closer to the router or move your router location.

We hope these tips help you stay connected just a bit easier in these challenging times.