The slowdown of websites, the difficulty of watching videos or watching TV, is terrifying. Maybe it’s not so crucial all the time but it is certainly important. If your WiFi speed is too slow, you have several options. Fortunately there is a way to get good internet coverage without standing behind the router – allowing for the most efficient network.
Check Your Speed
First things first you should check you internet speed. You can easily search “internet speed test” in your search engine of choice and choose whatever you like. In most cases your ISP (internet service provider) will have a link to test your speed as well. You might find that you need to have a friendly phone call with your ISP! If you are paying for 100 or 200mbps then your internet connection should reflect as much. On the other hand, if you live in a more rural area or just pay for the cheapest plan, well…you get what you pay for. It’s 2022, might be time to pony up the cash and get yourself a faster internet connection.
Check Your Device Specs
If you are running old equipment, then you may not be able to utilize everything you pay for. For example, if your router only supports up to 100mbps but you are paying for 1Gbps, then you obviously will not get anywhere near what you are paying for. It is also worth checking which frequency you are on. If you are closer to your router and your device supports it, try connecting to the 5Ghz band if you are not already. This will give you better speed depending on your location relative to your router. The 2.4Ghz band is the market standard and has a better range. This is something to consider if you are farther away from your router inside your home. The problem with this frequency is that it is easier to slow down your wireless speed as more and more devices connect. That being said, if you want to boost your wi fi signal, check and see if you are connected to the 2.4Ghz band. Most routers will specify 2.4ghz vs 5ghz band by default.
How effective is a range extender?
Plugin extensions like a wifi extender can increase your wifi signal even while your remote connection is not near your router. The actual speeds will depend upon many variables including the configuration of your home, the routers you use, the devices you use and the internet speeds you have installed. If a home broadband service is offering 100Mbps or greater, the most efficient extender won’t magically boost your download speeds in a dead zone. It can certainly boost your wi fi signal though. Still, performance may suffer as distance increases. A range extender may be a useful tool to extend your wifi signal into a weak or dead zone within your house. This would not be the appropriate solution for say, heavy duty gaming at the furthest point from your router. For something that will require a strong and stable connection you should either be plugged in via ethernet cable or close enough to your router.
Should I just get a mesh router?
One final note: It may be worth it to upgrade your existing router to a mesh router which can extend its range. This is entirely dependent on the size of the area you are trying to cover with your wifi signal. There are many choices today and most would probably outperform a standalone router.
What exactly is mesh wifi?
Mesh wifi is basically a group of routers or “nodes” that are used as an access point for your wifi signal on a single network. This is different (and objectively better in general) than a wifi range extender. Each node or access point functions as its own router rather than lowering speed and extending the signal on a different router via your range extender. Why I say objectively better is the quality and strength of your signal extension. If you have a small home or just a single area where your wifi signal struggles to reach, then a simple range extender might still be the better option due to cost alone.
If you decide a mesh wifi system is best for your needs, there are a couple things you should take into consideration.
First, check compatibility. You will need to check with the manufacturer of the mesh system to see if it is compatible with your ISP. This shouldn’t be a major issue as most new routers and mesh systems are compatible with almost every mainstream internet provider, but it is still something to take into consideration.
Secondly, decide if you want a dual band or tri band system. Tri bands offer two 5ghz and one 2ghz and is overall more powerful. If you have a larger home and decide you need a mesh wifi system, then tri band might be the way to go. If you are in a small area or simply don’t have that many devices connected at one time, then it might be overkill and they are considerably more expensive.
Third, check the specs to make sure your setup fully supports the internet you pay for. As referenced earlier, paying for a gig and having a router or mesh network that doesn’t support that much is a waste of money. Similar to the first point, this is something to take into consideration, but hopefully not a major problem that you would come across as technology only gets better and most new routers should support what you pay for.
Is your internet slow or wifi signal strength weak?
- Check your speed using a free online test
- Check the specs of your hardware to make sure it supports what you pay for
- Potentially upgrade your monthly plan if what you get is not cutting it (I know, more money i’m sorry!)
- Check to see if you are connected to the 2.4 or 5ghz network
- Buy a wifi extender if you have a particular or small weak space
- For bigger areas consider investing in a mesh system. They are fantastic I promise. We have many write ups on different systems across multiple carriers
There are a multitude of ways to boost your wifi signal and increase your range. Should you come to find out your router doesn’t support what you pay for then you can increase your speed and performance as well! Just follow the suggestions above and you should be able to boost your speed and/or signal in no time!