Your Guide To A Better Wireless Experience
We want to make sure you’re absolutely thrilled with your high speed internet service, and a big part of that is maximizing your network’s performance. This guide is designed to help you understand the basics of wireless technology, its limitations, and to provide you with simple troubleshooting for minor issues that may arise.
Wired Is Faster Than WiFi
While WiFi has improved over the last five years, it’s still not perfect. A wired connection is just plain faster than WiFi.
Why? Because your Internet is physically attached to your device, there’s nothing coming between it and your Internet signal. A wired connection is always better and should be used wherever it makes sense to do so. Try to match each device with its best connection. PCs, laptops, media players and gaming consoles work best with a wired connection. Mobile devices and tablets work best on WiFi.
What Slows Down WiFi?
There are dozens of things that can slow down WiFi. Where you place your router matters. Physical barriers like walls or appliances and the number of devices connected with all slow down the WiFi speed. The further the signal has to go, or the more it has to travel through and around, the slower the speeds will be.
Move Closer To The WiFi Router
Location, location, location! Where the router is placed is very important. Some people put it in an upstairs office or even worse, the basement or attic.
These areas make it hard for the wireless signal to reach the device. Try putting it in the center of your home, up off the floor, preferably on the 1st floor in a room where the Internet is frequently accessed.
Check All Devices
Multiple devices divide up bandwidth like a pie with each device taking the portion it needs at the time of use. The more devices you have, the more WiFi speed is divided up.
Some devices can’t support higher speeds ― which slows down all the others. To see what speeds your device can support, check the owner’s manual or perform a web search using its model number.
Password Protect WiFi
Remember, your speed is shared by all devices. If your neighbors are using your WiFi, they are using your speed too. Be sure to secure and password protect your WiFi.
Keep Devices Clean And Updated
Run regular virus scans to keep your devices clean. Close browsers, clear cookies, and turn off devices you’re not using. Clearing cookies is fast and easy but the steps vary by browser. To learn how to clear cookies for your browser, a quick web search is all you need.
Keep your router’s firmware up-to-date to keep your network secure. Check the manufacturer’s website and sign up for notifications about updates, if available.
Selecting a WiFi Router
Over the years, performance of wireless devices (WiFi standards) have improved, meaning that newer routers and wireless devices are likely to perform better than older ones. The WiFi technology standard used by your router and its broadcast capabilities will impact your experience.
802.11ax, also known as WiFi 6, is the newest WiFi standard. It supports 2.4 and 5 GHz signals at faster rates and with lower latency than the previous standard, 802.11ac. Both deliver better speed and performance than previous versions and both support speeds available from Wave. Routers using the 802.11g/n/b standards will still broadcast wireless signal, but speeds and device connectivity may be limited.
The latest models are “dual band,” meaning they can broadcast in both 2.4 and 5.0 GHz, or “tri-band”, which broadcasts 2.4 GHz and two 5 GHz signals. Having two 5GHz signals can be helpful for interference if you have many connected devices. 2.4 GHz signals travel farther, while 5 GHz signals are less susceptible to interference.
For better coverage, consider adding a mesh WiFi system, such as Wave’s Enhanced Whole Home WiFi. Mesh networks efficiently distribute WiFi signal throughout your home, while also delivering greater control over your home network with a helpful app, and delivering automatic updates to keep your network secure.
Troubleshooting Your Router Or Modem
Power-cycle your router or modem
Slow internet? Can’t connect? Before you call, try power-cycling your router or modem first:
Step 1: Check your power
Make sure your cable modem and router are plugged in. If you are using a power strip, be sure it is in the “on” position.
Step 2: Reboot or “power-cycle” your equipment
Most internet connection problems can be solved by power-cycling your equipment
- Wireless router: Simply unplug the router, wait 30 seconds, and plug it back in. Once the lights on the router indicate it is online, check for a connection to the internet on each computer or wireless device.
- Cable modem: Unplug the power from your modem for 30 seconds, then plug it back in again. Look for the lights on the front so that you know it is back online. If the modem cannot establish a connection within a few minutes after the power-cycle, call our technical support department for help.
Secure your WiFi network
Your wireless network will have a Service Set Identifier, or SSID—essentially this is just what you call your network, like “Jan’s WiFi” or “Carter Family Internet”—so that you know you are connecting to your network and not someone else’s.
Be sure to secure your wireless network by setting a password. This will keep unauthorized users from using your WiFi connection.
Your wireless signal will likely extend beyond your walls—you may notice when you connect that you can see your neighbors’ networks—without a password, anyone within range can use your WiFi connection, slowing it down and potentially exposing your personal information to third parties.
Be wary of connecting to unfamiliar or unsecure WiFi networks. Any personal data on your device may be exposed if you do.
Optimize Router Positioning
Your router’s location in your home or office can greatly impact your wireless coverage area. Follow these tips to get the best signal strength and experience from your wifi:
- Place the router as close as possible to the part of your home or office where you will use your wireless devices the most.
- Place your router as high up as possible – on a desk or bookcase – to get the best possible signal reception. Avoid placing your router on the floor, behind physical obstructions, or enclosed spaces. This will decrease the signal strength.
- If your router has an external antenna, position the antenna vertically (pointing straight up).
Test Your Internet Speed
Wondering about the speed of your Wave internet or WiFi connection? When browsing online, it’s normal to notice varying speeds from one site to another, or even on different pages within one site. Why? When you request information from a website, there are many paths it must cross before the information appears on your computer screen, and that information can only travel as fast as the slowest connection along the way.
To help eliminate these inconsistencies while testing the speed of your internet connection, Wave provides a speed test designed to test your connection within our network.