Nothing is worse than settling in for a sweatpants Netflix binge on to find the buffer-wheel-of-boredom on your TV instead of your favorite show.
If your home internet is moving at a snail’s pace on a regular basis, there are a few tricks you can try at home to fix the problem. Work through the list sequentially until your beautiful, fast Internet is restored.
Often, your Internet woes can be fixed with a little on-off action. Turn off your modem and router completely by disconnecting the power cords from both, and wait about 10 seconds. Then, switch them back on. This quick electronic voodoo action may do the trick.
We get that routers are ugly. But if your router is stuffed under a couch or in a cabinet, you’re inhibiting the signal and slowing down your WiFi. Your router should be out in the open, so place it on the kitchen counter or uncovered against a wall. Ideally, you want the router elevated (the attic may be a good spot) and as centrally located as possible.
Do you live in a highly populated area (like a big apartment building)? You may have a thief in your midst. If your Internet isn’t password protected, it’s easy for WiFi pirates to pilfer. They won’t leave a trace, and you’ll be in buffer city. To avoid this issue, always password protect your WiFi. Make it fun! A few of our favorites? “PorqueFi” and “PrettyFlyforaWiFi”.
If a household member is a big-time gamer, their habit may be slowing down bandwidth for the rest of you. Some applications, like video games or streaming services like Netflix, take up a lot more bandwidth than other applications, like cruising Facebook. If this is the case, first set some ground rules. If that doesn’t work, there is a tool called Quality of Service (QoS) on your router that you can use to prioritize services. Because all routers operate differently, visit your router’s Owner’s Manual to learn how to set up QoS for your family.
Just like radios, wireless routers operate on different channels. And if your router is on the same channel as your neighbors, you’re going to have a weaker signal. To find the best channel for your WiFi, use this guide by How To Geek.
If you’re working with a router circa 2001, your hardware may be the problem. To ensure you’re getting the fastest connection, you should be working with up-to-date technology. Not sure if your equipment is over the hill? Check out LifeHacker’s Router Hardware 101.
If your hardware is up-to-date, you can extend the range of your WiFi, and in turn its strength, by purchasing a range extender like this option by NETGEAR. They typically run less than $50 and may be the boost you need to take your speed to the next level.