A reliable router will be the foundation of your access to the internet in regards to the stability of connection and speed. As you would expect, the best routers that deliver the fastest speeds can be quite an expensive investment. Not everyone can drop a couple of hundred bucks for a premium wireless router.
If you do not have the budget for such expensive routers, what other options are available? There are undoubtedly budget-friendly routers out there that can provide dependable performance. But did you know that you can further boost the default optimum speed of such routers with just a few tweaks and know-how?
In this article, we will be giving you tips on how to optimize your router setting to deliver the best possible performance that it can.
Take Advantage of QoS Setting
Some of the newer model routers, even the budget-friendly ones, allow users to configure the settings to allow specific devices to get prioritized. Devices that are given priority will be offered more bandwidth which boosts their internet speed considerably. This is an excellent option for online gaming and streaming without plunking down hundreds of bucks in a new high-grade router.
You can set this option in your router configuration. It is commonly known as Quality of Service (QoS) or Wi-Fi Multimedia (WMM) depending on your router model. If you don’t know how to configure the options in this sub-menu, leave everything as is and put your gaming console or PC to the top spot.
Change the Channel
One of the most common issues that 2.4GHz frequency routers can encounter is high traffic of signals. From smartphones, Bluetooth devices, and even baby monitors – all of these can affect your 2.4GHz router and stifle its speed. What’s the solution for this overlapping problem? Simple, you switch your channel.
How do you accomplish this? Well, you will need to download some extra tools to do the job. It is nothing too complicated, though. If you have a Windows OS, you will need to download the Acrylic Wi-Fi Home software or the Vistumbler. These programs will scan all nearby Wi-Fi signals in your vicinity. It will then rate these signals based on their signal, security, and speed quality.
Mac OS users, Apple provides a tool called Wireless Diagnostics for this particular task. If you are using Android OS, there are dozens of Wi-Fi scanning programs that you can use. One of the more popular software in this category is the Network Analyzer.
Now, browse through the channel ratings that your Wi-Fi scanning program has collected. Check which channels have the least number of users and switch there. This will not always deliver ideal results so expect to experiment a bit on which channel provides that best performance.
Update Your Router
An often-overlooked method to optimize internet speed is checking to see if your router has the latest firmware installed. If you haven’t run an update check on your router for quite some time then now is a good time to do so. While the change might not be that significant, you never know until you try it out.
Change the Wireless Speed Standard
Most routers support different wireless protocols. This is to ensure that the router will be able to support a wide range of devices. You can check the configuration to see what standards your router supports, but most likely it will be able to support 802.11a to 802.11ac protocols. If all the devices that are connecting to the wireless router use 802.11ac standards, then I suggest turning off the other standard supports.
Having your router focus on the newer Wi-Fi standard can help improve overall speed and stability. Again, if you see that all the devices in your network have the latest wireless standard, drop the older versions altogether.
Hide the Router’s SSID
Routers all broadcast their SSID or Service Set Identifier when you turn the unit on. This makes adding new devices into the network more accessible. Some router models allow users to hide the SSID so that it won’t appear in other systems within the vicinity.
Why hide your network’s SSID? Well, it won’t have any effect on your network’s speed, but it will hide your Wi-Fi from guests. If you wish to avoid people from asking you what your Wi-Fi password is, this is one way to do it.
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Changing the Router Security Type
The security of your router will affect the overall performance of your network. For example, if your system is set to “open” then I highly suggest you activate the security settings. This is because your network is extremely vulnerable to malware and cyber-attacks if the parameter is set to “open” or if you are using WEP.
To improve your network’s security, which in turn boost overall performance, use the WPA2 encryption setting. You should also think about including AES in there as well. AES is relatively new and will further strengthen network security. With the latest router security in place, the chances of your router achieving optimum performance are increased.
Change Your Router’s Location
Are you noticing a noticeable drop in internet speed when you’re at a specific area of your residence? Well, chances are your Wi-Fi signal is getting stifled by walls and other large objects. Try placing your router in the center of your home in a relatively open space.
Dual-band routers can benefit from this change in a location significantly. Even a subtle shift towards the right angle can boost your internet speeds by a surprising margin. Just remember to keep the router away from large furniture made from metal, plastic, and glass. You should also place it away from concrete walls as well. These materials are known to dampen the Wi-Fi signal’s strength.
As you can see, there are several ways to help improve your network’s speed and stability. From tweaking the router’s setting to physically moving the unit to a more optimum location. Try applying the tips given above to see if your wireless network can benefit from these optimization techniques.