Sometimes wireless routers like 802.11N WiFi routers are slow because their settings like channel is not the best channel to be on because a lot of other wireless routers are on the same channel. Your Wireless router may also not be placed in a good room in your home which is causing some rooms to have a weak signal or no signal at all. It can also be your computer, laptop, or tablet which has a weak wireless adapter which is causing your wireless signal to your device to be weak and slow.
Changing Wireless router’s Settings can improve a routers speed and range.
The first thing you should do is unplug your router and modem from your home’s electrical outlet, and wait a few minutes for them to fully restart. I once had a router where I couldn’t access the settings page for the Router with a web browser until I restarted the router by unplugging it from the wall and plugging it back in.
Restarting your modem and router may fix connection problems. But, restarting is not a permanent solution to your router disconnections and slow speed problems in most cases.
You first need to login to your router by using a web browser, and entering in the address of the network router address which you can find in your router’s user manual, and sometimes on the bottom of your router. Your router may come with Router PC software for logging into a router to make changes to its settings. You can usually learn how to login to your router by reading the instruction manual which came with your router, or your router’s website for your specific brand and model of router,
In the settings page for your router, you can change the wireless router, change the mode, and power output of the antennae to a higher power output for faster performance. Turning off power saving options if your router has a power saving option may make your router run better, but use more power. Some routers also have a Gaming mode option which you can turn on. Gaming Mode is designed for making your router better when gaming on online games.
In my experience, changing the channel to 1 or 6 seem to make my wireless range and speed better, but you can try other channels, and see which one is fastest, and have the best range. I notice some devices I own don’t work well with Channel 11, so you may need to use a lower channel if a device fails to connect on higher channels like 11.
There are a lot of free Wireless Analyzer Apps for Google Android, iOS, Windows, etc which can help you find the least crowded wireless channel, and recommend the best channel to use.
My wireless Router which is a Medialink 802.11N 150Mbps wireless router has a lot of settings like Network Mode, operating mode, Channel BandWidth, Guard Interval, MCS, Reverse Direction Grant(RDG), Aggregation MSDU(A-MSDU), SSID, etc. I notice changing some settings seem to make the Wi-Fi faster, or more reliable.
I set the Wireless Network Mode to 802.11 g/n Mixed Mode if you only have Wireless 802.11N Wi-fi Devices, you should set your Wireless Network mode to 802.11N performance mode which can be faster. On some routers, it maybe best to leave the Wireless network mode to the default settings which is compatibility mode since
I notice 802.11 N-Only performance mode sometimes is less reliable for some reason, and cause my wi-fi to not connect even when I am near my router. 802.11 g/n Mixed/Balanced Mode is very reliable for me, so I use Balance mode most of the time.
I also set Channel Bandwidth to 20/40, Reverse Direction Grant(RDG) to Enabled, and Enabled Aggregation MSDU(A-MSDU). I left Guard Interval and MCS as Auto because I did not know what both of them do, so it is best to leave them alone.
In the Advance Settings for my router, I turned OFF BG Protection Mode, Set Basic Data rates to ALL, and Enabled WMM (Wi-Fi Multimedia) since the instructions say turning WMM on improves multimedia data transmissions. WMM is also called QoS/Quality of Service on some routers which is similar to WMM. Turning ON QoS could make your wireless signal faster.
I also turned off the power saving mode for WMM/QoS.
While you are in your WiFi settings, I recommend turning off WPS which lets you connect to WiFi by pressing a button, and entering a pin because WPS can be insecure, and make your router more likely to get hacked according to articles I read on other computer help blogs. Also, make sure your WiFi is password protected, and has a combination of letters both in lower and uppercase capital letters, numbers and symbols like @%^, and make your password 8 characters or longer, so your WiFi is safer from being hacked.
I also don’t recommend you hide your SSID from public broadcasting since it can make your Wi-Fi less reliable according to an article, and video I viewed online. Hiding your SSID name does not really protect you from hackers because they can easily find hidden SSID with software if they want to,
While you are in your wireless router settings, you can restart your router by pressing the restart/reboot button in the settings which may fix performance and stability problems. You can usually find the reboot button in the system settings. You can also unplug your router from your wall’s power outlet, and plug it back in if you are not logged into your router’s settings where you can restart it from within the settings page. Turning off your router, or unplugging it from your wall’s power when you are not using it, and plugging it back in when you need to use it could also reset your wireless connection which can fix router problems, and save electricity. You can also plug your router into an electrical power outlet timer to automatically turn on and off the power to restart your router one, or more times a day.
You can also change your DNS settings in your router’s DNS setting to Google DNS, Open DNS, and other DNS servers which could make your internet faster when it converts Domain names to IP addresses. Google DNS address is at 18.104.22.168 and 22.214.171.124 . I have been using Google DNS for years on my routers, and it seems pretty stable, and fast. All you need to do is put 126.96.36.199 in the first text box for DNS address and 188.8.131.52 in the second DNS textbox. Lastly, click apply or save to change your router’s DNS settings. Also, restart your computer, and other devices connected to your Wi-Fi router, so they are using Google DNS as well.
Sometimes, placing the wireless router closer to the center of your home can improve the signal where it reach more of your home instead of just a few corners of your home. You may need an extension power cord, and a longer wired networking Ethernet cables to connect your cable or DSL modem, and other wired devices to your router if you placed your router farther away from the modem, and other computers which are connected to your router by wired networking cables. Placing your router away from Microphones, cordless phones, and other electrical appliances like the refrigerator, and fans makes it less likely for interference from making your wireless signal slower. Using your wireless devices like tablets closer to the Wireless router will usually make the speed of your signal faster.
Make sure your router is not overheating which may cause performance problems, and make your router break faster. If it feels hot when you touch your routers case, move your router to a place with better air flow like a table instead of on a bookshelf, carpet, inside a box, where airflow is not as good. You can also put small bottle caps under your router’s base, so there is more airflow at the bottom of your router. You can also turn down the heat in your room, or move your router away from a space heater which will prevent your router from getting too hot because of the heat in your room.
I read some computer networking forum and blog posts online from members which claim that humidity in their home makes their WiFi slow when it rains, and there is high humidity in their home, but the WiFi is faster when it is not raining, and the humidity is lower. If your home has high humidity, you can buy a dehumidifier to make your home less humid by sucking up water from the air in your home which may make your WiFi faster if humidity is making your WiFi slow.
Sometimes, it is your wireless device like a tablet, smartphone, and laptop which has a slower wireless adapter. There is not much you can do to improve the signal strength with a tablet, or smartphone since you can’t easily replace the WiFi adapter in a device like a desktop PC or laptop where you can just install a better PCI or USB wireless adapter with better range and speed to improve your networking performance. But, sometimes installing the latest operating system updates like Apple iOS 8, or Google Android 5.1 can make WiFi on your device more faster, and reliable. Taking off your case if you use one on your device, holding your smartphone/tablet differently, and putting it on a stand may make your signal better on mobile devices. I read blog posts that there are some protective cases like Linkase – Compatible with iPhone 5 and 5S | Frost White – Wi-Fi Signal Booster for iPhone smartphones. The case has a built-in antennae to boost a WiFi signal. Some laptops, tablets, and smartphone have faster WiFi when it is charging because it does not have to conserve power when it is charging. Sometimes, you can disable power saving mode when on battery power in your smartphone, tablet, and laptops WiFi settings.
If you have your charger for your laptop, tablet, smartphone, etc, you can see if plugging it in makes your wifi performance better. Some operating system like Windows 7 increase the power usage of your wifi adapter to use more power to run faster when it is plugged in to your home’s power outlet. Changing the power plan to High performance in Windows could also make Windows, and your wi-fi adapter run faster, but have poorer battery life.
You can read my guide on improving YouTube playback speed on Google Android which has a lot of tips on improving WiFi performance on Google Android for faster video playback. Some of the tips may work on other mobile operating systems like iOS, Blackberry, and Windows Phone.
If you use a desktop PC, PCI WiFi adapter cards for desktop PC can be better than USB Wi-Fi adapters because PCI expansion slots can provide more power to a WiFi adapter card, so your WiFi adapter may have better range, and performance because it can use 25W of power for PCI. If you use a laptop, or a desktop which does not have PCI slots, upgrading to a USB Wi-Fi adapter may make your Wi-Fi speed faster on your laptop or other computer. I recommend at least getting an 802.11N USB Wi-Fi adapter. I have been using a inexpensive Edimax EW-7811Un 150 Mbps Wireless N Nano USB Adapter on a Raspberry Pi, and older desktop computers. This WiFi adapter works pretty well for an inexpensive portable USB Wi-Fi adapter. A more expensive USB 802.11N Dual-Band, and 802.11AC Dualband WiFi adapter would be fast as well. There are both USB and PCI WiFi adapters with long antennaes which may make your range, and speed better on your WiFi device.
If you have a Windows tablet, desktop, or laptop, my guide on faster YouTube performance on Desktops may help you out with your internet speed problems on your PC when using YouTube.
Turning off desktop, laptop, smartphones, and other devices which use Wi-Fi, or disconnecting them from WiFi, or your home network could make your download speeds faster because fewer devices are using up bandwidth to download updates, and to get notifications. You should also scan your computers, tablets, and smartphones for viruses, spyware, bloatware, malware, and adware which can make your internet speeds slower because viruses, spyware, bloatware, malware, and adware may use a lot of bandwidth by sending and receiving data from servers hosted online.
Upgrading to a faster internet subscription from your cable, dsl, and internet company would make your internet faster.
Lastly, replacing your WiFi router with a better WiFi router like the TP-LINK TL-WR841N Wireless N300 Home Router 300Mpbs could solve all your wireless network range, and speed problems because some routers are built better, and has more features for improving a wireless network’s performance and range. There are also more expensive dual-band routers which uses two frequencies in the 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequency which can make downloads faster, and more reliable, but your devices also need a dual-band wi-fi adapter to use both frequencies. Dual Band routers usually cost slightly more money than regular 802.11N routers where you can get a good single band router for as low as $10 while a dual-band router cost between $40-200 for some of the faster and better 802.11AC wireless routers. You can sometimes get a decent Dual-band router for $30 or less during a sale during Black Friday, and Christmas time.
There are also wireless range extenders which can extend/boost your wi-fi signal’s range, and performance when you are farther away from your Wireless router. Some wireless routers can also be used as wireless range extenders when you set them to range extender mode instead of wireless router mode in the router’s settings page, so you can use an unused router as a range extender if it has a range extender mode like some TP-LINK TL-WR841N Wireless router which has a range extender mode according to Amazon.
If your router have Antennaes, you can try moving them around to different positions to see if it makes a speed or range difference. There is also a aluminium foil antennae project which you can do to make your antennae range better. All you need to do is stick a small strip of foil about 2 inches high with a width of 7 inches on the back of your antennae, and bend the foil into a U shape parabola when you stick the aluminum foil to the back of the antennae. The antennae should be at the center of your aluminum foil U shaped WiFi Booster. You can also search for Aluminum Foil Wi-Fi booster on YouTube, Google, and other search engines and video sites, and you should find many tutorials online on how to boost your Wi-Fi signal with Aluminum foil.
Some routers also have removable antennae which you can take out to install a better antennae. You can install a bigger more powerful longer antennae which you bought from websites like eBay, and Amazon.
For More Advance users, there are custom firmware like OpenWRT, DD-WRT, Tomato, etc which work on some routers like Linksys WRT54GL router. These custom firmware have better features, and run better and more reliably than the default firmware which comes with your router when you bought it.