Five Ways To Improve Your Wireless Network Signal

If you’ve ever suffered from slow WiFi, you’re not alone. But there are a number of easy things you can do to try to speed up your wireless network.

1. Relocate the router
The most common wireless problem I encounter is poor placement. Wireless routers should be placed as high as possible, such as on a bookshelf, and away from sources of interference like speakers and landline phones. Building construction is also a factor. Try moving your computer in relation to the access point. If possible, line-of-sight gives best performance.

2. Try a little troubleshooting
Make sure it’s a wireless problem and not an overall network problem. If the network’s still slow when you plug in your computer manually, it’s not just the wireless. Try rebooting your router and/or modem according to your Internet provider’s instructions. Using a surge protector will prevent damage due to brownouts or blackouts, which can reduce the lifespan of your electronics.

3. Scan for viruses and malware
If there is a virus infestation on your network, this can also cause a slowdown as the virus tries to call home to its command servers. Run antivirus scans on all computers, and be especially wary of ransomware.

4. Consider a replacement
If you have an older wireless router, consider replacing it. The newer devices have improved speeds and are better at resisting interference. Similarly, older computers will be slower on wireless networks. Security problems are also a major consideration when considering an upgrade, because old devices can’t be adequately protected from hackers and malware. And remember those problems I mentioned with wireless signals and building construction? Newer routers are much better at overcoming them.

5. Add a wireless repeater
If your equipment is relatively new but you still can’t get a signal to a crucial spot, you might want to try a wireless repeater. This device boosts your wireless signal to places it might not otherwise reach.

And how about a bonus sixth suggestion?

6. Use a wired connection
No matter what you do, your wireless network is almost always going to be slower than a direct connection. Try using a wired network for best results, especially for high-intensity network usage.

Do you have tech support questions? Ask in the comments, and be sure to sign up for Tech Tips by email for the latest computer news and advice for Windows, Mac, and mobile users. You can also follow Tech Tips on Facebook.

(This article was originally published in October 2016 and has been updated with new information.)

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