Why is my internet slow? How to fix your Wi-Fi in 5 steps

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Picture this: you’ve had a long, hard day of work. As the evening comes, you finally get a bit of time to relax and chill out. There’s a few shows you haven’t watched that everyone has been talking about, so you decide to put your feet up, get a nice drink and a few snacks. You open up your laptop, go to your preferred streaming site and load the show.

The opening sequence starts to roll, you kick off your shoes and sink further into the sofa. The troubles of the day begin to be forgotten and the stress starts to thaw from your shoulders. Then out of nowhere the show stops. The buffering circle appears. You reach new heights of anger. After checking other devices, you realise that the wifi has stopped working properly. But what can you do about this?

Now, almost more than ever, the coronavirus pandemic is forcing more people to spend more time online. People the world over are depending on their wifi for streaming platforms, online shopping, and social media - which help to make the confines of a lockdown more bearable.

There can be a lot of reasons why your wifi might not be performing how you need it to. Some of these include where it’s placed in your home, a congested signal, problems with firmware, hardware isn’t capable, or that the range is not large enough.

Below are some top tips for beating the dreaded buffer circle and annoying slow web pages. Read on below to see what you can do to improve your wifi speed.

1. Are there any interferences?

It’s sometimes not obvious, but there are lots of items in a home that can reduce the performance of a wifi network. Some of these include baby monitors, bluetooth speakers, and microwaves.

Interference like this can be particularly detrimental to older routers that can only function on a 2.4GHz frequency. Interferences will make your wifi slowdown and be erratic, even more so if the appliances are near the router.

2. Where is the router located?

One of the most common issues to do with wifi performance is where the router is placed in the house. If you notice that certain rooms experience a drop in performance regularly, moving the router could help fix this.

Ideally, the router will be as near to the middle of your home as possible. There are a number of things that can reduce a router’s signal including walls, metal, mirrors, glass, and furniture. To overcome this, consider moving the router to a better location. There is also the option of buying a wifi extender, which can help boost the signal to areas of the house that might be out of range from the router.

3. Create a kids and guest network

Too many people and devices on one network can cause the performance to slow. One of the ways to combat this is to create different networks for users. For instance, kids and guests can be put on separate networks. This also has the benefit of setting up parental controls to keep children browsing safely online.

You can create a new network in two ways, either by having a separate router, or by making use of the ‘Guest Network’ option that’s available on most routers.

4. How secure are you?

Double checking the security of your network should always be considered. There are a few points here, firstly, you want to remove any bandwidth usage that is not authorised. Secondly, the type of wireless security can also impact wifi speed.

Within your home, you don’t want an open network, this has no security and means anyone can access it. Similarly if you are using WEP, this should be updated because it’s old and can easily be hacked. A safer, more secure option is a WPA2 network encryption.

5. Restart the router

This option should be one of the first actions many people take when experiencing wifi problems. In a lot of cases, the problem isn’t about the signal but about an internal problem with the router that can be easily fixed by restarting it.

A slow wifi connection and problems with connectivity can be very frustrating. If you’re trying to work, relax, socialise, or keep kids entertained, then a slow internet can sometimes cause more problems that it will resolve. By following the above steps, a lot of the most common problems can be resolved and internet speeds can improve