5 Reasons Why Your Wi-Fi Is Too Slow and How to Fix It

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The coronavirus pandemic has everyone either working or studying from home to avoid getting or spreading the virus. The Internet has become an essential factor in helping people work, run online businesses, and get things done, and that’s why you need fast Internet. 

Pages that take ages to load can test your patience. Slow Wi-Fi can become even more frustrating when trying to do time-sensitive work. It’s tempting to call your Internet service provider and vent about the issue, or even want to change Internet packages. Before you do that, here are some reasons you’re experiencing slow Wi-Fi and how you can fix it.

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1. The distance between your router and device may be too far.

If you’re experiencing slow Wi-Fi, the distance between your device and the router may be too far. You may need to move your router and place it in a central location rather than in a corner. The signals from your router usually travel in an outward radius, and if your devices are farthest from the router, then your connection will be sluggish. 

Wi-Fi signals travel horizontally and vertically. This means that the best place to place your router other than in a central location is to elevate it. You can mount it on a wall or put it on top of a bookshelf. However, it’s essential to note that metal objects and water block Wi-Fi signals, so ensure that you place your router away from fish tanks or refrigerators.

Finding your ideal router position in your home takes trial and error, so ensure to check your Wi-Fi signal strength in various areas before settling on the perfect spot.

2. You’re using the wrong frequency or band.

Wi-Fi networks usually use two different frequency bands, 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz. These frequencies affect how fast and how far data can be transmitted over wireless networks. The 2.4 GHz band will give you lower speeds at a longer range, while the 5 GHz band will provide faster speed at a shorter range.

If you want faster Internet speeds, connect to the 5 GHz frequency. However, the more devices you hook up to one band, the slower the Wi-Fi will be. Ensure that you reserve the 5 GHz frequency for your most essential devices like your laptop. 

You can also use both frequencies if you have a dual-frequency router. This type of router lets you have two different Wi-Fi networks, one for each frequency. You can also set up the two different bands on different networks, each with a name and a password. To determine whether your router supports both bands, check your router settings page and ensure that both your frequencies are turned on. From there, you can also know the name and passwords for both your frequencies.

3. You’re using the wrong channel.

Each Wi-Fi frequency has several channels, which are used to send and receive wireless data. The 2.4 GHz usually has three non-overlapping channels you can choose from, while the 5 GHz frequency has up to 24 non-overlapping channels. Think of the channels as lanes on a highway. Each device connected to Wi-Fi in your area is like a car in different lanes. Therefore, if you and your neighbors are using the same Wi-Fi channel, it can cause congestion. To speed up your Wi-Fi connection, you should choose the least congested channel.

If you’re on 2.4 GHz frequency, you can choose either 1, 6, or 11 but since everyone is on channel six by default, then opt for channel 1 or 11. If you’re using the 5 GHz frequency, there are many channels to choose from, but the most popular channels are 36, 40, 44, and 48. To select the best channel to use, you can use a wireless analyzer, which is found online.

Change your Wi-Fi channel by simply accessing your router settings page. Then, proceed to the frequency band and change the channel from auto to your channel of choice. This may vary depending on your router.

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4. You have too many bandwidth-heavy activities.

Bandwidth is the term used to refer to the maximum amount of data sent to the wireless network at any given time. This means that every time someone on your network streams a movie, makes a video call, or is downloading a large file, it could slow your Wi-Fi down. 

To determine which actions are taking up lots of bandwidth on your Windows computer, go to the task manager. You can access the task manager by right-clicking the taskbar at the bottom of your screen, and then selecting the task manager from the pop-up list. Once it’s open, you can then sort out your activities by how much bandwidth they are using by clicking on the network column. If any actions are using too much bandwidth, you can select them and “end task.”

If you have a Mac, you can check the activity monitor to find the activities using too much bandwidth. Go to the Applications folder and open the utility folder. Then, open the activity monitor, and select the network tab at the top of the window.  You can either sort by bytes or packets received or sent to find the heaviest bandwidth activities. Then, stop the processes by closing the window.

If you’ve checked your laptop and are sure no one else in the house is using too much bandwidth, consider changing your Wi-Fi password. Maybe your neighbors are leeching off your Wi-Fi and streaming Netflix, so your network is slow.

5. Upgrade your router and devices.

One of the simplest ways to fix your slow Wi-Fi is to upgrade to a new router. The new router will provide better Wi-Fi speeds because they are updated to the latest Wi-Fi standards.

Old operating systems and firmware can also cause slow connections. Ensure that all your devices are upgraded to the latest software; this will help keep your device running efficiently.

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