On this page we will provide you with tips on how to optimize your wireless router, so you can get a faster and more reliable Internet connection.
New Internet router?
Unfortunately, the router provided by your Internet provider is usually of a very basic quality. However, a simply way to improve your Internet connection is to buy a new and faster router with more features and newer technology. This is a particularly good option, if for example, you have an old and slow model. But it's not always necessary to buy a new router. A slow Internet connection can be the result of a remote physical location, and incorrect settings. In this guide, we will provide you with lots of tips on how to optimize your router.
Check the simple things first
Before you change any settings on your router, you should check your internet speed without the router. You do this by using a network cable between your computer and the modem (depending on what kind of Internet connection you have). If you are not able to use your Internet connection without a router, you can also connect a cable to the back of the router and your PC, but it is not guarantee this will give you an accurate speed.
You can then check whether you are getting the internet speed you pay for. If you are not, then you should contact your internet provider and question them on why you're not getting the recommended speed they promised you when you signed up.
The physical location of a router
Router performance can be affected by its physical location in the home. What you should check before you change any settings is the routers position. A wireless router should preferably be placed in a central location in a room or an apartment, preferably without obstacles. You should avoid placing the router in a corner or on the floor. Furthermore the router should not be placed in the immediate vicinity of other electronic devices because it can disrupt radio signals from the router. A common cause of interference can be wireless doorbells which are now very common in most homes.
2.4 vs 5 GHz
A router uses radio signals to wirelessly stream data, and these signals use two different frequencies, either 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz. Some routers are called Dual Band, called 802.11ac routers, and these supports both frequencies.
Which one of these should you choose? Most use 2.4 GHz, but 5 GHz is faster and less susceptible to interference. Another advantage of the 5 GHz frequency is that it is generally less congested because this frequency is rarely used.
The biggest problem with the 5 GHz frequency is that many devices (computers) do not support this frequency. Therefore, the rest of this guide will focus on 2.4 GHz frequency.
Edit your router settings
Use your Web browser (such as Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox, Opera) to log in to your router. You do this by typing the address of your router in the address bar of your browser.
The address and password should be printed on the bottom of your router, which is is usually "http://192.168.1.1/" but may vary from model to model. The username and password are again using something simple like admin and admin. If you can not find this information on the underside of your router, check the manual for your router.
Configuration of the 2.4 GHz network
Do you feel you are not getting the internet speed you've paid for? You can see if it helps to change the channel on the router to see if it improves your speed.
The default value is typically Auto, i.e. the router chooses the frequency which it assumes is the best.
Different routers have different menus, and therefore what is described in this guide will be a little different than that of your router.
You start by choosing the routers 2.4 GHz frequency menu, this menu will most likely be named Wireless 2.4GHz. You will then have a choice to change values from 1 to 13. The default value is usually Auto. Channels 1, 6 or 11 can give good results. You can optionally experiment with the all the channels to see if they improve speed.
Check which channels are actually being used
Another thing you can do is to download and install a program that provides an overview of which channels your neighbors are using with their Internet connection. You should ideally use channels that nobody else is using. An example of such a program is Acrylic WiFi
One of the problems with selecting channel manually, is that the situation changes during the day, such as when your neighbors logs on and off, and use different channels.
Still having trouble?
Are you still not getting the speed you've paid for? There are several things that can be causing the problem.
Here are some suggestions:
- The location of the router is still not optimal.
- There is too much electronic noise or other disturbances around the router.
- The router does not have the latest update (firmware).
- The router is faulty and should be replaced.
- The router is OK, but your computer needs updating.
You should also check that the cable running from the telephone socket or cable box is in good condition. Because these often run underneath carpets they can get damaged by the grippers which hold down the carpet. If your cable is damaged, you should replace it with a new and quality one. It's also recommended you keep the cable as short as possible, as this can improve the speed and quality of your Internet connection.