10 tips for a faster and better WiFi network

Everyone suffers from slow or spotty WiFi from time to time. This is especially annoying when you are at home. Everyone wants to be able to enjoy streaming services such as YouTube, Netflix, Spotify and SoundCloud at all times and with any device. Good WiFi is then really a requirement. And that's how you get it.

Tip 01: WiFi technology

One of the best things you can do to improve Wi-Fi performance is to switch to the latest Wi-Fi standard. There are different standards for Wi-Fi and only the last one is the fastest and has the best range. The most important standards at the moment are 802.11n and its successor 802.11ac. If your router doesn't support 802.11ac or 802.11n, buy a new one. Then choose an 802.11ac router with three or rather four data streams. The more data streams, the faster the WiFi.

Each data stream on an 802.11ac router is good for 433 MBps at 5 GHz, giving a total bandwidth of 1750 Mbps on four data streams. Also check whether the router supports Multi-user MIMO, a new technique to allow several devices to send and receive simultaneously on the WiFi. Also update the devices on the WiFi. The more that support 802.11ac, the faster the Wi-Fi will be.

External antennas

It is not easy to choose the right router. In many stores, the staff is only poorly informed or they prefer to sell what is in stock. So go well prepared: before you go shopping, read the latest tests and write down the brand and model of the winners on a piece of paper or in the smartphone. Our colleagues' site www.computertotaal.nl contains many tests of individual routers, but also comparative tests. Good and bad routers have already been selected for you there. And what stands out? That the winners often have real antennas. The fastest wireless routers at the moment are the 802.11ac routers with a maximum theoretical speed of 867 to 1300 Mbit/s, and the models with external antennas come closest to these values.

Tip 02: Move router

Many routers are located close to the point where the internet connection is. That seems logical, but often it is not about a good place at all. Many routers, for example, are located in the meter cupboard, which is teeming with pipes, electrical cables and television cables. The thick walls here also disrupt the quality and range of the WiFi signal. A lot of profit can then be achieved by moving the router to a place without pipes and tubes and with more free space around. It is also better to place it higher than on the floor. By connecting the router to the modem with a longer cable and walking around a bit, you can often determine what a good place is. And if the router and modem are integrated into one device, consider disabling the access point in the router and placing a separate access point in a better location.

Tip 03: Access point

If you still have an old router, you can also choose to put it in the meter cupboard, switch off its access point and place the new router in a better place as an access point. The difference in speed for the wired network compared to the wireless network between an old and new router is large, especially with wireless, much less with wired. At least as long as both routers support gigabit. If you place two routers behind each other, you can either put the second router in bridge mode or you must configure a second network behind that router and for the WiFi with its own IP address. Don't forget about the security of the Wi-Fi. If you don't have a router, buy a separate access point. They are easier to use because it simply becomes part of the home network and does not require a separate second IP network to be configured.

Tip 04: Choose channel

Modern routers support two Wi-Fi networks, one in the 2.4GHz band and one in the 5GHz band. Each band is further divided into a number of channels. The 2.4GHz band is divided into channels 1 to 13, the 5.0GHz band channels 36, 40, 44 and 48. Each Wi-Fi network uses one such channel. If you want to improve the range and speed of the WiFi, choose a band that is used by as few other networks in the vicinity as possible. To make the channel usage of the different networks visible, you can use the InSSIDer program. This was a free program, but unfortunately it is no longer. You can buy a license at www.inssider.com, but elsewhere online you can find old versions that are still free.

For example, search for InSSIDer Home Start InSSIDer, choose the 2.4GHz or 5GHz band, and then see which channel has the most free space. No PC, use an app like Meraki Wifi Stumbler or WiEye Wifi scanner (both for Android only). Then log in to the router and choose for each WiFi network instead of Car the correct channel.

New Firmware

Manufacturers are still releasing new firmwares for most routers. Although the new software cannot adapt the hardware; it can ensure that it is used better and thus ensure better performance. Log in to the router and look at Administration or Management which firmware version is installed on the router. Then check the router manufacturer's website to see if there is a newer firmware for that brand and model, or let the router search for a newer firmware itself. Many routers can do this, for example via Advanced settings / Administration / Firmware upgrade, or already show when logging in that there is a newer firmware.

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