Nowadays, most of us need a dependable Wi-Fi network on a daily basis. We not only use the internet for work, but it powers our entertainment like Netflix, online gaming, and social media. So when your signal keeps dropping out, or you have a wireless Wi-Fi dead zone in your apartment, it’s easy to feel like you’re going a little crazy.
Years ago, when our homes weren’t as connected, you could get by with one router powering your entire home. Today’s modern homes have connected doorbells, thermostats, security cameras and more. Asking one router to provide Wi-Fi throughout your entire home is like asking one light bulb to light up your apartment.
Several things can cause your internet to work slower than you’d like. For most people, the problem arises from an outdated or poorly-placed router. Whatever the reason for your bad connection, you’ll find it helpful to try a mesh Wi-Fi system like the eero Home Wi-Fi System. Mesh Wi-Fi works differently than traditional routers, strengthening and extending connectivity in your home through multiple access points and smarter technology. Not to mention, setup is super simple and the app walks you though step by step instructions with helpful tips on placement.
Update Router Firmware
Like any piece of modern technology, a router needs to be regularly updated to run at optimum speed. That’s because router manufacturers are constantly fixing their software to increase overall performance. These fixes can be performance enhancements, new features, and security patches. Updating your router’s firmware is one of the first things you should try when faced with a bad connection.
How you go about this will depend on the router itself. If you have a newer model like eero, updates are pushed over the air to all customers as they are available, no need to manually intervene. Other types of routers have a “firmware upgrade” button that you’ll need to press to initialize an update. If you have a much older unit, you might need to go on the manufacturer’s website to download updates. You should then be able to access them through your router’s settings afterward.
In most cases, router placement is the single biggest factor that affects internet speed. Think of your router as a radio tower and your wireless signal as the radio waves it emits. Just as radio waves can only travel so far from the tower, your Wi-Fi can only travel so far from the router.
A lot of people think to put their router in an inconspicuous spot so that it’s out of sight, like in a cabinet or stashed under the couch. Covering the router actually hinders Wi-Fi performance weakens your connection. If you want your internet to run as smoothly as possible, try putting your router in a centrally-located spot that’s high up, like on top of a shelf or on the floor of the second story. It should also be kept in an open space away from walls, heavy-duty appliances, and other electronics that might impact its performance.
If you have multiple routers in your system, place them in the middle of where you have good connectivity and no connectivity. Placing a router in the middle of a dead zone is a great way to keep the dead zone.
Change That Channel
Routers are often multichannel, which means they can switch between a few different frequencies or “channels.” Most are usually set to a default channel, meaning that you and your neighbors’ are likely set to the same default channel right now! When you’re all overcrowding the same frequency, you’re going to experience some speed issues.
To fix this problem, find out which channels are least popular in your area. There are a couple of free programs out there, such as inSSIDer, which will do this for you.
Extenders or Access Points
Unfortunately, even the strongest Wi-Fi waves still have trouble going through walls and reaching upstairs areas. Putting your router in a better location definitely helps, but you’ll need to do a little more to get the best possible Wi-Fi for your apartment.
To solve this problem, you’ll want to set up multiple access points throughout your home. A common misconception is that range extenders will solve this problem. While range extenders increase the distance of connectivity, they cut the speed in half. Meaning, you’ll have great speed at your modem, and noticeably less speed at the range extenders.
This is where mesh Wi-Fi systems really shine. For example, eero’s system utilizes the Beacon, a device that is the size of a night light, but actually creates its own access point throughout your home. Your speed stays fast while the mesh system does the work of figuring out the best connection path for your devices. You could stream a video on your tablet and walk around your home without the video pausing to buffer.
Always keep your home Wi-Fi password protected, because an unsecured network leaves you vulnerable to hackers and identity theft. Plus, your neighbors might choose to take advantage of your open connection, which can slow your internet down significantly. When you live in an apartment, you’re often located so close to some people that they can get a strong enough signal to use from their own homes!
Get Rid of Old Hardware
A lot of people might choose to hold on to an old router if it still works, but if it’s too old, it could be the reason your Wi-Fi is underperforming. If your router is a few years old, it might still be on the 802.11 g standard, which has a relatively low bandwidth. If this is the case, it won’t matter what extra measures you take to speed up your Wi-Fi—you’re better off buying a brand new router altogether.
Abt has a lot of great resources to help compare between router brands and internet devices. It’s easy to learn the differences between the systems and pick the best one for your apartment’s layout. They’re a company with over 80 years of great customer service and will continue to provide support for the lifetime of whatever product you choose, so you’ll never have to solve future Wi-Fi problems alone.