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.
In this guide, you will learn about:
- Wireless (WiFi) connectivity basics.
- Internet troubleshooting tips.
- Your wireless router.
- Factors that affect your WiFi performance.
- Getting the most out of your internet speeds.
Understanding wireless (WiFi) connectivity basics
A wireless router lets you connect your devices—such as laptops, tablets, and smartphones—to your home network without the need for dedicated wires.
To create a Wifi network in your home or office, simply connect your wireless router to your cable modem.
Position the router as near as possible to the area where you will use your devices most often. If your device is far from the router, or obstructed by walls or furniture, you may need additional equipment, such as a WiFi extender, additional access points, or Whole Home WiFi system,
WiFi Signal Range
Most newer routers can connect to devices wirelessly from roughly 150 feet away while indoors and up to 300 feet away outdoors.
The latest model routers can often broadcast up to twice the range of older devices. They are also “dual band,” meaning they can broadcast in both 2.4 and 5.0 GHz—2.4 GHz signals travel farther, while 5 GHz signals are less susceptible to interference.
Obstructions in your home—brick walls, metal house frames, and aluminum siding, for example—can reduce the range of your wireless router by 25% or more.
NOTE: For the fastest speeds
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 the devices that connect to it, will impact your WiFi experience:
- 11ac is currently the fastest version.
- 11g/n is older and slightly slower.
- 11b is the oldest and slowest current WiFi standard.
Check your router and the wireless connections on your devices. You can purchase newer, upgraded devices if you want to increase your WiFi standard and your internet speeds.
- A newer version router will still work with older devices limited to an older standard.
- For example, your 802.11g smartphone will still work with a newer 802.11ac router. They do not have to match.
- Running devices with multiple wireless technologies on the same network can lower the network’s overall speed.
What factors slow your WiFi speeds?
Many factors influence your home’s WiFi speeds. With smart devices and internet browsing, sometimes it gets crowded on your wireless network. We want to help you operate at top speeds, which is why we listed out the top factors that may be slowing down your internet.
Your wireless router can connect to multiple devices simultaneously. However, a high number of users or connected devices can affect the internet speed for each device. Available speed and capacity is split between each active device.
NOTE: The number of devices
Sending and receiving large volumes of data on your wireless network—like downloading or streaming HD video, uploading large files, and playing multiplayer video games—may also affect your internet speed.
- For optimal performance during critical bandwidth-intensive activities, you may want to connect your device directly to your router via an Ethernet cable.
- You may wish to hardwire devices you use extensively or that handle critical tasks, such as:
- Smart TVs
- Streaming devices such as a Roku or Apple TV
- Gaming consoles
- Computers used for cloud applications, file uploads, or web conferencing
If your router is near any appliances that emit wireless signals on a 2.4 GHz frequency—like cordless phones, microwave ovens, baby monitors, or home automation equipment—it may cause a disruption, or even cut out when a microwave or cordless phone is in use.
To prevent this interference, we recommend routers that support 5 GHz frequency. Fewer household electronics emit signals at this level.
Do not place your router behind physical obstructions such as walls, and do not enclose your router in an entertainment center, closet, drawer or other enclosed space.
Viruses, Spyware, Or a Full Hard Drive
What steps can I take to improve my WiFi speeds?
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).