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Are you experiencing slow WiFi?

If you answered yes to our question, we might just have the answers for you!

To start off, slow WiFi might not be to do with the fact you need a new router and may be location based. In particular, if you are in a two-story house and your modem/ router is situated in the main bedroom located on the top floor and you are trying to load Netflix on your TV in the loungeroom on the bottom floor, it might be time to rethink the location of your router if all you’re seeing is buffering a lot of the time.

Other times, slow WiFi may be to do with your router needing to be replaced as it may be getting on a bit in age, but there are a few things you can do to troubleshoot this before investing in a brand-new router which could end up costing you $300.

Here are some tips on what you can do first.

#1 – We recommend plugging an ethernet cable into your router and running a speed test.

This is the first thing to do when you have a slow connection. Sometimes you may think your WiFi is slow, when in actual fact it could be your internet connection that’s physically slow. Firstly, plug in an ethernet cable in between your computer and router (note: an ethernet cable is usually thicker than a phone cable and is commonly blue or yellow). Run a speed test by going to speedtest.net. We can’t really give you an exact speed your connection should be at as this varies between connection types and location. If you’re on NBN, your speed should be close to the plan you’re paying for. If you’re on ADSL, you can use ADSL 2 Exchanges to search your address and find out roughly what you should be getting.

If your speed is slow here from what you’re paying for or what ADSL 2 Exchanges estimates, you should talk to an IT technician like us or contact your ISP for recommendations as the steps you will need to take will be quite different depending on your type of connection.

#2 – Check the speed across multiple devices in certain parts of your house.

We recommend running a speed test on all devices around different areas of the house. For instance, if your router is upstairs and you’re downstairs on the couch in the loungeroom and your tablet or iPad seems slow there, take it closer to the router and see if it gives the same speed. If it gives the same speed, it could be the device. If your tablet or iPad gets a faster speed closer to the router, it would most likely come down to the fact that the router isn’t carrying the WiFi signal correctly to the loungeroom. If you test your laptop speed on the couch in the loungeroom and it gives roughly the same speed as your tablet or iPad does, then you need to work out how you’re going to carry signal through to your loungeroom better.

#3 – You may need a Range Extender or a Wireless Access Point mentioned in step 6 (especially if you identify issues across multiple areas in your house), but firstly we recommend changing the WiFi channel that your modem is on.

All devices and routers around your area can cause your router interference and stop the signal from travelling where it should. Within newer routers there are two radio frequency bands (or wireless networks). These are 2.4GHz and 5GHz. Some older routers won’t have a 5GHz radio frequency band and occasionally ISPs will turn off the 5GHz radio frequency band if it’s not relevant to you.

Each frequency band has a set number of channels you can choose from. 5GHz is mostly used in highrise apartment buildings, where the range doesn’t travel as far as the 2.4GHz band, which means you will get less interference and crossover with other WiFi devices as it doesn’t tend to get interference from the 2.4GHz band. You can read more about this in our blog titled “Wireless 2.4GHz vs 5GHz. What’s the difference?” here.

Each modem will have a different IP address you can login to and a different interface, however, the idea is to login and access your WiFi settings to change the channel that is being used. On the 2.4GHz radio frequency range, we recommend changing the channel to 1, 6 or 11, which have less of an overlap. If you try each one and run a speed test on a wireless device and see what one gives you the best speed, you will be on the right track. If you use the 5GHz or find that the 2.4GHz is no better after all channel changes, it’s good to try changing this one to 52, 56, 60, 64, 100, 104, 108, 112, 116, 132, or 136. After changing this, follow the same technique of testing each one in different areas of the house.

Sometimes, you may need to alter the wireless channel from time to time as well if say, new neighbours move in next door with different devices and a new router.

#4 – After trying different channels and before purchasing Extenders or Access Points mentioned below, we recommend factory resetting your router.

You may need assistance doing this from your ISP or IT Tech if you’re not familiar with how to do this. It’s also not recommended to do this if you had your router setup by a professional or if you’re running a business as you will most likely have settings in it that you’re not aware off and a factory reset will erase them.

#5 – If your speed is up to scratch with what it should be after completing the first step with an ethernet cable and you identify that you need more speed in the loungeroom downstairs we recommend checking the location of your router and all other hardware like your TV or Desktop computers.

In most two-story houses, you should have multiple ports to plug your router into (whether these are phone sockets for ADSL or ethernet ports). If you only have the one port upstairs in the main room and need the signal to travel better downstairs and have a lot of devices like Smart TVs and Desktop Computers which don’t seem to be getting a fast speed, there are a couple of alternatives.

These include:

  • Range Extenders or WiFi Access Points for other areas in the house. These work well if the signal isn’t travelling downstairs as it should be to the loungeroom
  • Power over Ethernet Adapters for hardware like your Smart TV or xBox, so you don’t need to use WiFi. This works well if you’re finding that Netflix is constantly buffering on your TV.

If you need any assistance with any of the steps mentioned above, or need to purchase a new router/ Extender or Power over Ethernet Adapters, please don’t hesitate in contacting us as we’re here to help you.