Updated: Apr 27
As an IT professional, one of the biggest concerns I hear from people is that their internet is slow. Now 9 times out of 10 it is not the internet that is slow, it is their Wi-Fi that is the culprit. An easy way to see if your internet is slow is by running a speed test.
One thing to keep in mind is a speed test only shows you the available bandwidth that you have. So, if you are streaming a 4k movie, and your kid is playing video games online and your speed test shows you only have 40mps, that is because you are currently using some of it. So, 40 is what is still available out of your package that you have with your internet provider. You can also download this app by ookla to your phone or tablet if you do not have a computer.
In this example, your internet is not slow, which means it is more than likely the wireless signal inside your home or office that is the problem. There are several reasons for this, and I am going to go through some problems and the best way to remedy them for you.
Remedies For Slow WiFi
One thing to take into consideration with Wi-Fi is the size of your house. The average wireless router or wireless access point only covers around 1500sqft. If you have a device that is pretty far way, you might not get a signal. Or if the device does connect with a weak signal to the router it can actually drag the rest of the connections down and cause things to be super slow.
In the picture below you can see the that the X’s are areas that is a dead zone where the devices do not connect.
Now most people purchase Wi-Fi extenders which is fine, if you understand how an extender works. An extender simply extends the currently wireless network, but you cannot place the extender in a dead zone and think it will fix your problems. An extender is still a device that needs to connect to the existing Wi-Fi router. You wouldn’t want to put an extender in any of the red X spots in the picture above because the connection to the wireless router would be bad and the wireless signal through the extender would be terrible.
You would want to put the wireless extender where you see the green check marks on the second floor to the room in the right. That would have the best signal to the wireless router while also providing additional coverage to the four areas with the red X. You would not want to buy a bunch of extenders and daisy chain them together. The throughput would be terrible, and you would end up causing broadcast channel interference.
For homes that are larger than 1500sqft, I would recommend purchasing something like a Net Gear Orbi system. Which you can purchase on Amazon or at Best Buy. There are different orbi systems depending on the coverage that you need. I like the Orbi system for a few different reasons.
The first being it's seamless, meaning that your devices will not drop connection to switch over to the next “satellite” when walking around your home. It works as a one-signal wireless network.
The second reason I like it is that you can control it through the web browser to adjust channels and power transmission levels. It is also an easy setup since you just download an app. So the majority of people can set it up out of the box. However, you can not make the adjustments that I mentioned through the app itself, you would have to log into the web interface but I wouldn’t recommend doing that unless you actually know what you are doing.
If you are a parent, you will like the parental controls that are built into the Orbi as well.
Interference from Wireless Devices in the Home
Did you know your printers broadcast their own wireless signal as do wireless dog collars, doorbells, firesticks, robot vacuums, etc. All of this can cause wireless inference. Also, Apple devices go into a power savings mode once they hit 50% battery power, this causes your device to perform slower which can bog down your entire wireless network. Even your laptop has a built-in setting for power saving, which is enabled automatically on the built-in wireless card when the battery gets to a certain percentage it turns off the wireless card to save power.
If you feel that you are having wireless problems of any sort, I recommend getting an IT professional to come out and take a look at things so that they can help you get the coverage and performance that you need.