what affects wifi speed

The Factors That Affect WiFi Speed and How You Can Boost Your Signal

what affects wifi speed

Internet connection is more important than ever. The average person spends roughly 59 hours a week connected to the internet. This amounts to over one-third of our life!

Whether we use the internet for work, pleasure, or communication, our dependency on this innovative technology is clear. This is why it’s crucial we have a fast, reliable WiFi signal.

So, if you’re wondering what affects WiFi speed, you may be surprised to learn that it isn’t just one thing. It turns out that there are many factors that impact it. Thus, there are many different ways to remedy the issue. So, before you jump the gun and buy a brand new router, try out these more cost-friendly tips to boost your signal.

Conduct a speed test

The first step you should take if you’re dealing with a slow internet connection is to perform a speed test. This test is quick and easy to do on your own. Plus, it’ll tell you if your internet provider is affecting the speed or if the issue lies somewhere else.

When you have your speed test results, check to see if they correspond with what your internet plan advertised. You may find that your speeds are close to what your plan promised. If this is the case, you might need to upgrade your subscription. If your speeds read significantly lower, there’s likely something else affecting your connection.

So, what affects WiFi speed? Let’s take a look.

Restart your router

Your internet connection might be lagging because your router is bogged down. Usually, a good old-fashioned reboot will do the trick. A simple restart can boost your WiFi signal by cleaning up data and clearing your router’s memory.

But, it’s important to note that rebooting can change your connected devices’ IP addresses. Meaning, you may need to reconnect them to your network and reset your passwords.

If you’ve rebooted your router but your connection is still poor, try repositioning your router.

How your router’s placement can be what affects WiFi speed

A strong router signal depends on where the router is placed in your home. Centralization, elevation, openness, and obstructions play a role in finding the optimal location.

Central location

Think about which part of your house you use the internet most often. Your living room? Home office? Wherever you are, when you need a strong connection should impact where your router is. So, placing your router in a closet or the basement won’t do any good if you’re not using the internet near those spaces.

Most routers are omnidirectional, meaning they send signals out in every direction. So, place your router in a central location to provide the best signal throughout your house.

Elevated position

Your router should be kept off of the floor. When it’s low to the ground, it can negatively affect your WiFi speed. This is because routers mainly spread signals downward. Thus, their ability to emit powerful signals increases when placed on an elevated surface.

Open area

What affects WiFi speed that most people don’t think of are walls and doors. This is due to their ability to absorb radio signals. So, you can increase your WiFi range by putting your router in an open area. This is an excellent solution for preventing obstructions from interrupting signals.

Obstructions

In addition to walls and doors, WiFi signals can get blocked from furniture and other large objects. But, the biggest barriers to a WiFi signal are electromagnetic appliances.

Appliances that emit electromagnetic waves can create a WiFi dead zone. These appliances are most commonly found in the kitchen. A few examples are microwaves, electric stoves, and dishwashers.

So, setting your router away from these signal interrupters will make your WiFi adapter signal stronger.

wi fi signal strength

Update your router

Neglecting to update your router could negatively affect your WiFi speed. This is why you should update your router’s firmware regularly to fix bugs and repair connectivity issues.

Your router may have automatic updates, but most require you to do it manually. To perform an update, you can download a file from your manufacturer’s website. Your manufacturer will have the latest firmware update for your router’s IP address.

Upgrade WiFi router antenna

Most routers have built-in antennas that you can’t see. This is because they’re mounted inside the device. How strong your antenna is can be what affects WiFi speed. And unfortunately, most built-in antennas are weaker than external ones.

External antennas with a high dBi level and high-gain yield the best results. A dBi level tells you the range your WiFi signal can travel, and high-gain works to focus your signal.

So, buying an external antenna is an effective way to boost your internet connection. As a result, it’ll make your Zoom meetings and Netflix browsing a lot less stressful! 

Bandwidth

Your bandwidth is your WiFi’s capacity for carrying data. A decongested bandwidth lets you Google a new recipe and FaceTime an old friend, all while your kids stream video games.

Bandwidth is one of the factors that affect your WiFi performance the most. And it decreases with every new device that’s added to your network. But, there’s a solution to decreasing bandwidth congestion, and it’s called Quality of Service, or QoS.

Quality of Service

QoS is a feature on some of the more modern routers. It lets you prioritize traffic to specific devices on your network. For example, if you have an important virtual work conference, you might consider prioritizing traffic to your laptop. This will ensure your video call won’t drop.

QoS is an easy solution if the capacity of your internet connection is what’s affecting your WiFi speed.

5 GHz band

5 GHz and 2.4 GHz are the two radio frequency bands that most routers work on. The band you use can impact your WiFi signal strength and the quality of your connections.

Because the 2.4 GHz band is most commonly used, it’s accessed for a whole range of wireless communications. As a result, the airwaves in this band’s frequency can get jam-packed. So, switching to a 5 GHz band will be your best bet for getting higher speeds.

WiFi leeches

You can improve your wireless signal by getting rid of unauthorized users that mooch off of your network. Your neighbors could cause you to have a congested bandwidth. And as a result, you’d have a poorer internet connection.

Fortunately, cutting out any current and future WiFi leeches are a piece of cake. All you have to do is change your WiFi password.

Expand your network

You can expand your network by using mesh units like boosters or extenders. A mesh WiFi system is the most effective way to increase WiFi reception.  This is because it provides a long-term solution that consists of your main router and satellite units (also called “nodes”). Simply place the nodes around your house to receive full WiFi coverage.

Mesh systems deliver a much faster and stronger signal over a larger area than a typical router can. So, if your home has a complicated layout and you need full-house coverage, it’s worth it to invest in a mesh system.

At 24-7 & WWT, we lease Mesh WiFi units for just $3.95 a month.

Ethernet

WiFi has an unpredictable nature. This means that despite the steps you take to boost your connection, you might still have to wait for web pages to open and videos to load. If this is the situation you’re in, use an Ethernet cable to plug your computer into your router.

An Ethernet cable will always beat a wireless connection. This is because it provides a direct line from your device to your home network. A wired connection will also combat your WiFi adapter’s low signal strength by reducing signal interference.

The bottom line

We live in a world where it feels like almost everything connects to the internet. So, having a dependable WiFi connection is critical. 

So, now that you know what affects WiFi speed, you can determine what solution works best for your WiFi at home. Try these tips and tricks to see what a difference they can make in your daily life.