Listed below are few tips and ideas on how to boost your wireless broadband. You won’t need them all – start out by trying out the simpler ones and then through the process of elimination you’ll be able to work out if you need to try the others.
1) Get a better router
One of the easiest – but far from the cheapest – ways to make sure your Wi-Fi is as good as possible is to get a new router. These days, n routers usually come as standard with broadband. They use multiple antennas, so you get faster Wi-Fi over a greater range than you do with an older B or G router. So, if your router’s a few years old you’re likely to be able to get a better one by now.
2) Get a wireless powerline adapter
Wireless powerline adapters – also known as home plugs – use the internal wiring in your house to relay Wi-Fi to parts of your home your router struggles to reach. They’re not cheap, but they be very effective.
Basically, a wireless powerline adapter can create a Wi-Fi hotspot wherever you’ve got a free plug socket. They’re ideal for getting Wi-Fi up to a loft conversion, for example. However, while wireless powerline adapters can work very well, improved coverage isn’t guaranteed. Devolo, Netgear and TP-Link are all reputable producers of wireless powerline adapters.
3) Move your router
Where you position your router can make a huge difference to the quality of your Wi-Fi. The nearer you are to your router with a clear view of it, the better your wireless signal will be. Try to put it in the middle of your home so the signal can reach all the rooms, or at least the ones where you are mostly likely to want Wi-Fi. Ideally one can place the router high up, on top of a book shelf for example
4) Use a signal repeater
A wireless repeater can improve the range of your Wi-Fi by bouncing – or repeating – the signal over a greater distance. They are not quite as effective as powerline adapters, but popular models like the Huawei Wi-Fi Repeater and the Netgear Universal WiFi Range Extender. They’re easier to set up too – you simply position the repeater roughly halfway between your router and the room you want your Wi-Fi to reach.
5) Change wireless channel
Newer routers, like the BT Home Hub 4 and BT Home Hub 5, allow you to switch between two wireless channels – 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz. This means if your Wi-Fi signal is weak on one channel you can switch to the other, where you’ll hopefully get a stronger connection.
Generally the 5Ghz channel will be faster, but if interference from other electronics is slowing it down, you can switch to the 2.4Ghz channel. Read the documentation that came with your router or visit your provider or the manufacturer’s website to find out how to configure it. Your computer, tablet or smartphone should detect the new settings automatically.
6) Secure your Wi-Fi
If you don’t have a Wi-Fi password then anyone within range of your Wi-Fi can ‘steal’ your broadband. Not only will this slow it down, it could also land you in trouble with the law if a freeloader uses your internet for something ropey as you’re responsible for what it’s used for.
So, a simple step to take to make sure your Wi-Fi isn’t slow because it’s being nicked by your neighbours is to set up wireless security so that only you and anyone you give your password to can use it.