By Obinna Onuorah
When your Wi-Fi connection slows down, the email and browsers will stop working instantly while streaming of online movies will freeze. A possible reason for slow movement of your network may be because your Wi-Fi network is not safeguarded.
There are many reasons your Wi-Fi keeps slowing down; it may be firmware issues, router location, signal congestion, hardware limitations and it could just be your neighbours.
Allowing your Wi-Fi network to be exposed might incur additional charges as you might end up paying more than usual and your internet speed will be slower than ever.
Below are 10 unique ways to speed up your Wi-Fi activities.
Update your router’s firmware
There are various reasons why your router’s firmware should be updated; the major ones are performance enhancements, security features and fixes. You can take advantage of any additional features and improvements of the new version of the firmware and your router usually receives any important security updates.
Your router’s firmware is basically the operating system that is specifically designed to run on your specific make and model of router (unless you are using a multi-router compatible open source firmware such as DD-WRT).
Usually, you will have the option to check, review, download, and install your router’s new firmware on its administration page. The exact steps depend on your router’s make and model, so check the router manufacturer’s support site for detailed directions.
Locate any available interference
Most household devices often compete for airwaves with routers. The household devices such as mobile phones, microwave ovens, Bluetooth speakers and baby monitors can impact your Wi-Fi network performance.
To fix this issue, you can create a working Wi-Fi “heat” map of your area using a tool like HeatMapper. For Macs users, Netspot is a tool to be used.
Wi-Fi Analyser is also a useful android app that has a real-time signal strength meter that can be used.
Different channels can be selected on your router and it is very helpful if you are tuned to 2.4GHZ frequency. Moving from one channel to a less crowded one might help speed things up.
Wi-Fi scanner will help to check the optimum 2.4GHz channel for your area or the least used channel.
For Windows users, download the free Wi-Fi utility, Acrylic Wi-Fi Home. Similar to the Mac’s Scan tool, this application will instantly give you information about the Wi-Fi signals in your area including the channels they utilize.
For Mac users, Apple provides a free tool called “Wireless Diagnostics.” To access it, hold the Option key while clicking on the Wi-Fi icon on the right-hand side of the menu bar, then choose Open Wireless Diagnostics.
For Android users, there are many Wi-Fi scanning tools available, but the most popular one is Network Analyzer.
Creating different network signals and enable QoS
You can set up a different Wi-Fi router, or you can simply enable your router’s “Guest Network” option. You can also set up a different network name (SSID) and password for the guest network to avoid confusion with your main network.
Parents can put their kids’ devices on a separate network and establish special rules and settings. This can help keep the kids out of trouble on the web, and it eases the burden on your bandwidth.
You should also create a guest network in your home as your guests might need a Wi-Fi internet connection. Keeping different Wi-Fi network will safeguard your private files from your visitors.
Quality of Service (QoS) can also be used; QoS is features on some routers that will enable you prioritize traffic according to the type of data getting transmitted.
You could set latency-sensitive applications like Skype, IP telephony, streaming media, and online gaming to have higher priority over other types of activity. If you prioritize Skype, for example, other software will slow down, ensuring your call is smooth.
Different routers have different ways of handling QoS, and most consumer-level routers have more simplified ways of enabling it by having presets available. Just check your router’s support site for information on what each one does.
Get an updated router
You should always aim for at least an 802.11 N or AC router with multiple band capabilities whenever you’re in the market for a new router because it will enable you to improve Wi-Fi speeds and reach across your home or office.
AC routers have a maximum spectral bandwidth of around 8 x 160 MHz, compared to the 4 x 40 MHz standard of N routers. In other words, the increased bandwidth allows more data to be transmitted without slowing down.
Additionally, by having multi-bands, you could keep older 2.4GHz devices on their own bands while keeping newer devices that support the latest Wi-Fi standards on the higher bands. This is like having multiple routers in one.
Newer AC routers also have advanced features not found in older routers. Look for specifications like beamforming, Multiple-In-Multiple-Out (MIMO), multiple USB 3.0 connectors and Gigabit Ethernet ports.
Try a Mesh network
Mesh network is a network that you need if you have a large house or office space that requires consistent network speeds. Unlike standard Wi-Fi routers that require extenders for added reach, next-generation mesh routers are designed to spread a Wi-Fi network’s coverage through multiple access points.
These systems usually come in sets of two or three separate units that work together to envelop your home or office with Wi-Fi coverage. As far as your gadgets are concerned, the Wi-Fi mesh is one big continuous Wi-Fi network.
Check your security
Your Wi-Fi network connection will definitely slow down if unauthorized devices or persons are allowed to encroach or mooch on your Wi-Fi and even the type of wireless security you use can impact your overall speed.
First off, if your network is open (no security) or uses WEP, change the security setting immediately. Obviously, an open network will make it easier for someone to steal your Wi-Fi.
If you don’t want your network security to be safe from hackers, you should not use WEP security type as it can easily be hacked.
WPA, TKIP are older security patterns and are now considered to be unsafe. The best security pattern is WPA2 and AES.
Physical location of your router is another important factor that affects your Wi-Fi network connectivity. It is very advisable to place your router as close to the center of your home as possible and it’s also a smart idea to keep it elevated so that it can be free from any physical obstructions from furniture and appliances.
Reflective surfaces like glass, mirrors, and metal should also be avoided because Wi-Fi signals tend to bounce off these types of materials; especially walls made of concrete.
It is also possible to adjust your router’s antennas as your router’s antenna multi-directional which implies that the signal goes every direction equally. So, if you put your router along an outside wall, it implies that you’re sending half of your signal outside.
Choose the right band
Before purchasing a newer router, you should check if it supports 5GHz band as Wi-Fi bands are not created equal. Newer N or AC routers typically support this band. Unlike B/G routers that only transmit on the crowded 2.4GHz spectrum, N and AC routers could transmit on 5GHz as well.
Reboot your router
Rebooting of your router daily helps in rectifying your sluggish Wi-Fi network. Most users reboot their cable or DSL modem from time to time whenever they experience a slow network.
If your network seems sluggish, unplug both gadgets for at least 30 seconds. Plug in the modem first and wait for it to come fully online, and then turn on your router.
Apple to announce TV service
Apple Inc on Monday invited media to a March 25 event at the Steve Jobs Theatre on its campus in Cupertino, California, where it is expected to launch a television and video service.
Sources previously told Reuters that the company is targeting April for the launch of a streaming television service that will likely include subscription TV service. Apple often launches products and services in the weeks following an event.
In its invitation, Apple did not specify the focus of the event and gave a single-line description: “It’s show time.”
Apple has long hinted at a planned video service, spending $2 billion in Hollywood to produce its own content and signing major stars such as Oprah Winfrey. Sources familiar with the matter earlier told Reuters that the service may resell subscriptions from CBS Corp, Viacom Inc and Lions Gate Entertainment Corp’s Starz among others, as well as Apple’s own original content
The TV service is expected to launch globally, an ambitious move to rival services from Netflix Inc and Amazon.com Inc’s Prime Video. Apple’s App Store, where the service is likely to be distributed, is currently available in more than 100 countries.
The potential sales from a television service have become a focus of investors after Apple in January reported the first-ever dip in iPhone sales during the key holiday shopping period and said it would lower iPhone prices in some markets to account for foreign exchange rates.
While there is a chance Apple will update its iPads or Apple TV devices later this month, the event is likely to be Apple’s first major media event in which hardware is not the primary focus, said Ben Bajarin, an analyst with Creative Strategies.
That is a big shift for Apple, which earlier this year moved to make its Apple Music services work on smart speakers from rivals such as Amazon and partnered with Samsung Electronics Co Ltd to let Samsung television owners watch video purchased from Apple on Samsung sets.
“I don’t look at that as saying Apple has given up on the (Apple smart speaker) HomePod or the Apple TV – those will be the products where Apple Music or an Apple movie experience work the best,” Bajarin said. “But Apple is smart to not limit the places people can consume their services.”
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