How to increase Wi-Fi speed
Wondering how to increase Wi-Fi speed is normal, especially after noticing odd connection glitches here and there. After entertainment and cultivation beyond our four walls became unreachable, we compensated by roaming around online. It does not always go as planned, however. Problems with internet speed can spring up every time you go online. Be it a frozen video, continuous lags when gaming, or overall sluggish performance. Learning how to increase Wi-Fi speed is not trivial and goes beyond purchasing more bandwidth in hopes of blazing speed.
Useful terminology to master
Before jumping to the tips on how to increase Wi-Fi speed, you should be familiar with several concepts.
Bandwidth vs. speed
People tend to treat these two words as synonymous, but they define different concepts. Bandwidth indicates the maximum amount of data that can travel over the internet. However, speed is the actual rate at which you upload or download data. Hence, you can view bandwidth as the size of a water pipe. The latter determines how much water (data) can flow. Naturally, a water pipe has its limits, and the bandwidth is the same.
Typically, Internet Service Providers (ISPs) reinforce this misconception. They refer to speed when they actually mean bandwidth. After that, people sign on contracts, giving them 80 Mbps, and expect it to be a stable benchmark. Before choosing a plan, you should perform some rough calculations. Consider the number of potential simultaneous connections and their type. This evaluation can help determine the optimal option for your household.
Hence, the actual speed you experience can vary depending on several factors. For instance, the number of simultaneous connections will force devices to share the assigned bandwidth. Of course, there could be more technical issues involved. Incapable and outdated routers could contribute to slower performance. In such cases, it might be time to upgrade your equipment.
Kilobits per second, megabits per second, and gigabits per second indicate the data transfer speed. Confusingly, the same units show the total capacity of your network. After noticing a tempting offer of 100 Mbps, you might trust your ISP to deliver it regardless of any conditions. However, words “up to” might accompany the flashy offer of 100 Mbps. Since the same measurement unit applies to speed and bandwidth, it might get confusing. Hence, pay attention to the context in which ISPs present them.
Latency and ping
Latency is one of the unpleasant words that send chills down gamers’ and streamers’ spines. It refers to the time (measured in milliseconds) that data packets take to reach their destinations. Lower latency is best as it means that the delay until you see the final result is minimal. Higher one can significantly diminish your experience, especially during time-sensitive activities. What causes it? Well, a bunch of factors might contribute to lower or higher latency: distance, internet connection type, activity, etc. Ping is also the word used to refer to latency, but it is actually the signal you send to the server. Ping rate refers to the time taken to complete the request.
Slow connection problem: more devastating than ever
With the pandemic drastically overturning our traditional lifestyles, slower internet speeds can be a daily hurdle. The internet connection at your residence is no longer the instrument for occasional Netflix binge. It is the lifeline for remote learning and working and the primary source of escape during these stay-at-home orders. Hence, understanding the main points on how to increase Wi-Fi speed can help you conduct your tasks more efficiently.
With internet usage going through the roof, it is reasonable that services struggle to perform under increased load. However, shelter-at-home orders and spiked traffic might not be solely responsible for the sluggish performance you encounter.
Multiple factors are relevant here if we judge the situation objectively and wish to determine how to increase Wi-Fi speed.
- The capability of your router and its position in your house.
- The number of simultaneous connections.
- Activities performed online.
- Bandwidth and speed.
- Frequency or channel chosen.
- Neighbors piggybacking on your Wi-Fi.
- ISP throttling.
Ultimate tips on how to increase Wi-Fi speed
Before learning how to increase Wi-Fi speed, find out what you currently have. Run a speed test and get an overview of your internet connection.
Put your router in the optimal place
Learning how to increase Wi-Fi speed begins with your router’s location. Dead zones are common, and they refer to areas within your residence that Wi-Fi does not work. Physically relocating your router can help you get better coverage. Keeping routers in closets or corners between some shelves can prevent your Wi-Fi from working correctly. As a general rule, try to keep them central to your house, preferably in a somewhat open area.
Keep your router up-to-date
Updating router firmware is also one of the ways of how to increase Wi-Fi speed. It ensures that your device operates with the best possible setup. As a result, you will enjoy a smoother performance, polished features, and security improvements. Usually, you can update your router by entering its IP address into browsers’ address bars. With the correct credentials, you will see the router’s administration interface. Newer models will allow you to update by clicking on a firmware upgrade button. However, older products might require you to download firmware files from manufacturers’ pages.
Invest in new hardware
Outdated routers can diminish Wi-Fi speed as well. Hence, it might be time to upgrade by selecting products that have more robust features. For example, if your current router offers a short wireless range, it might be time to change things up. Of course, choosing a new router can be difficult. Fortunately, after considering all the factors, you should find a suitable device.
Get Wi-Fi extenders
How to increase your Wi-Fi speed might have a lot to do with the dead zones in your house. Fortunately, Wi-Fi extenders are brilliant at fixing such issues. They are small gadgets that you can plug into a spare wall socket. After connecting it to your Wi-Fi, it will extend its reach and help you fix the connectivity gaps. Of course, extenders’ signals won’t be as robust, but they are worth a try.
Prevent neighbors from stealing your Wi-Fi
The task of how to increase Wi-Fi speed includes kicking off unwanted guests. You do not want to share your bandwidth with more devices, right? Hence, you could use special tools to find machines piggybacking on your network. Finally, keep those intruders away by using a strong password for your network.
Change your frequency
If you use a 2.4GHz band, it would be best to switch it to a 5GHz band. What does this mean? 2.4GHz frequency might clash with nearby routers operating on the same band. Other devices, such as microwaves, can also cause interference. Usually, you can switch to the 5GHz band via the routers’ administration interfaces.
Stop ISP throttling
Internet throttling refers to your ISP limiting your internet bandwidth or speed. There might be many reasons for this action, such as data caps, network congestion, paid prioritization, or suspicious activity. ISPs can intentionally diminish your connection when you perform bandwidth-heavy actions. If you need a workaround, a VPN is an effective solution. Atlas VPN hides your online movements from your ISP. As a result, they won’t know when to perform ISP throttling.
Former chef and the head of Atlas VPN blog team. He's an experienced cybersecurity expert with a background of technical content writing.