Why is my wifi so bad?
Do you work or live in a rural area and have bad wifi? This article may help you find out why along with our suggestions on improve your signal.
Do you have issues connecting to the internet in some parts of your home? Does browsing the web become a chore? Is your line just slow to begin with?
There are many reasons why your WiFi signal could be slow and generally not work, below we’ll be looking at some of the reasons and how you could go about to fix the problems.
Some people like to hide their routers in cabinets and other enclosed spaces to keep their home clear of wires and boxes. Unfortunately enclosing routers is one of the main reasons for slow WiFi speeds.
This is because the signal has to pass through material which ultimately slows it down, as routers distribute a wavelength depending on the speed. 2.4GHz is the standard frequency that routers distribute on because it has a wavelength that can pass through walls. This wavelength when it collides with an obstacle such as a wall shortens which ultimately hinders the maximum data flow.
The way to fix this issue is very simple. Place the router in an open place preferably raised off the floor and roughly in the centre of the property. This will have an even amount of signal all over the property. Or alternatively place the router close to a device that you want the best speeds on, we also suggest using an ethernet cable if possible.
Keep the router updated
Another easy option would be to keep your router updated on the most recent firmware and hardware. Most modern routers are able to update themselves firmware wise however can be limited by their hardware.
Routers are mainly made to give out the maximum signal that is available at the time and when the signal improves the router can’t keep up and isn’t giving out your full potential signal strength.
If you think that your router isn’t giving out the best WiFi it should be giving then perhaps it’s time for a replacement. If you are with a large ISP then most likely you can ask for a newer version router, they’ll more times than not try to avoid sending you a new one and say that your speeds are fine so slightly more persuasion may be required. Also you should be careful not to be signed into a new contract especially if it’s more expensive than your current one.
Depending on what router that you have you may still have antennae on your router. Most modern routers have an antenna inside of it but if you have purchased a much more powerful router then most likely they will have multiple antennae which can be configured.
If you do have antennae on your router you may not know but they should be configured in a particular way for the maximum effect. The best signal comes out of the sides of the antenna not the top or bottom, this means that you can point the antennae accordingly to maximise the coverage of your home. This links with router positioning as well as having the router in the optimal spot with antennae facing towards high usage devices.
So what you want to do is have the antennae facing straight up or with the side towards a priority device. That’s it, it’s a very simple fix and can be altered at anywhere.
Stop wifi leeches
The need for accessible WiFi nowadays is greater than ever and if you have personal WiFi best make sure that it is encrypted and has a strong password because if you think your neighbours aren’t going to use it you’d be wrong.
Usually all the passwords that are given to you by default are very strong so you shouldn’t need to worry too much about intruders getting onto your WiFi unless they get hold of the card with all the details.
Many people don’t know but you can change your WiFi details such as the name and the password by typing your routers IP into a search engine while connected to it. Which may be a good idea if you have had the same password for a long time or if you want something slightly more memorable.
If you are changing your password remember to create the strongest one you can by doing the following;
- Include a combination of lower and uppercase characters
- Avoid common passwords like 123456, qwerty and so on.
- We recommend eight characters minimum for any password. Short passwords can be brute forced.
- Avoid personal details like your name or any dates.
- Never write you password down on anything physical. If you can’t remember it store it in a password manager.
Some routers may provide a guest network which can be turned on from the settings page which creates a separate connection with different details. This is the best option if you have multiple guests connected to the WiFi.
Use repeaters, extenders or boosters
We have a much more detailed article of all the different options that you have here. Really to find the best option for your home you may need to survey your property to see where the weak spots are and figure out how many extenders that you might need. All the options that you have use different ways of connecting and vary in price.
Now, you may get into all sorts of confusion when searching for WiFi boosters etc due to the amount of devices on the market! So here are ones we tend to recommend:
The above items vary in price but hopefully that gives you a good idea on where to start.
If you are interested, here at ATS Connection we can give you an expert opinion on the best option for you. Well even set everything up for you!
Your property location
If you live in a rural area you are most likely going to get worse speeds than those in towns and cities. This is because most of these locations still use copper cables to connect the properties from a cabinet that receives fibre.
ISPs don’t see a profit in upgrading these rural areas and instead prioritise towns and cites first, this is understandable when looking from a business standpoint but for the consumer can be very irritating. There are other ways of connecting your property instead of outdated copper wires. One of the best solutions that we personally have had with those in rural areas is mobile broadband. How they work is they use a mobile signal much like your mobile phone. Instead an antenna is put at a high point of your property that goes to a router with a mobile SIM inside.
Use a different wifi channel
Similar to lanes on a highway there are multiple WiFi channels which a WiFi router can broadcast from. Most countries have six standard channels which WiFi uses and very commonly your router will use channels one and six.
This creates a jam on the line as many packets of data are trying to use the same channel which will create a backlog and slow your connection down. The solution for this is to find out which channel is the least occupied and manually switch your router to it. To do this;
- Log into your router as admin.
- Go to settings and find Wireless Settings
- Find an option that has Channel and most likely the setting will be on auto.
- Switch to the desired channel.
- Save your settings and wait for a few minutes for it to switch.
Some applications like streaming services or online gaming use a lot of bandwidth and if there are many things connected to your router at once it can slow down your speeds. Luckily modern routers provide a quality of service (QoS) which allows users to prioritise certain applications over others. This stops other people from interrupting your streaming session when on the same network.
This is also done within the router admin panel. Although some admin panels are far from intuitive and can be difficult to change these settings. If you have any doubts about any changes that you are making be sure to research your changes before applying or contact your ISP directly.
Use the latest wifi technologies
The newest wireless standard 802.11ac and WiFi-6 offers a superior download and upload speed compared to its older counterparts. Make sure that your router is compatible with the latest WiFi standards and that other devices in your home are able to receive the same WiFi standard otherwise this exercise may be pointless.
To find out what standard your router uses you could contact your ISP or find a manual either digitally or physically. If you do have a non compatible router then perhaps its time to upgrade, some ISPs depending on how long you’ve been with them may send you an upgraded router for free otherwise you might have to purchase one yourself.
If you are starting from scratch then unless you are on a very strict budget you should get the best option that you can get even if it’s a bit more expensive as then you will have an exceptional WiFi connection and are relatively future-proofed. Routers generally should have a lifespan of five years as that is how long it usually takes for a new WiFi standard to be released. Also you should look for routers that come with extra perks like the previously stated quality of service and guest networks.
Switch your routers frequency
Your router comes with two standard frequencies, 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz. You are most likely using a 2.4GHz frequency when connected to your router as it is the most versatile at long distances although is slower than 5GHz. 5GHz is the faster option with one major downfall, distance. 5GHz frequency’s have an extremely short range and have no penetration so the router would have to be in clear sight and close to the device that you want to receive the best signal.
Most routers combine the frequencies to keep things simple but the two can be separated again in the admin panel for the router usually under wireless settings. We recommend that you use both frequencies in conjunction to avoid any dropouts if you leave the range of the router.
Reboot your router
The classic expert IT advice of turning it on and off does solve most problems even potentially your WiFi troubles. A reboot clears the routers memory and can jumpstart any new firmware updates to install.
To restart your router find a small hole usually on the back of the router which you may need a pin or similar object to press down and hold for a few seconds before releasing. Alternatively you can pull the plug on your router completely disconnecting it from any power.
If your router does start installing a new update then be patient for it to finish even if not all its services are available. Also ever intentionally disconnect it from any power while its updating as this could cause permanent damage to the device.
Wired connection will always be superior to wireless connections because there are no obstacles for the cable like walls or ceilings. They are also the best way to test your internet line speed.
If so far your internet is still very slow then we recommend testing your line speed. To do this use an ethernet cable and plug it in to the router and a device with an ethernet port like a laptop or desktop. Then use a website like Ookla to check your speed. Checking your speed multiple times throughout the day is the best way to make a fair test as certain times of the day will have peak times when there are lots of active people at once.
If you’re not reaching a speed that you think you should be, contact your ISP and explain the situation and give your test results to further your claim.
Change your DNS
The Domain Name System is used to convert domain names such as www.google.com to an IP address. Most likely your modem is configured by default to your ISPs DNS server, whose performance may not be the best.
Don’t worry though most routers let you change the default DNS which is one of the easiest ways to boost your WiFi speeds. If you do want to change your DNS there are a couple suggested public servers you can use such as Googles server (220.127.116.11) or Cloudflares server (18.104.22.168)
Purchase a better plan
More often than not you pay for what you get and depending on how much you spend you’ll receive an average speed. If your current plan just isn’t enough for your needs then no matter what you do you’ll never be able to improve it unless you pay for a better plan.
If you’ve been on the same plan for ages then maybe you should take a closer look and see if the speeds that the ISP provide is enough and if it’s time to get a better plan.
If you’re lucky or good at picking your providers then you may be in luck. Some providers offer loyalty schemes and you may get better prices for other packages they offer.
Purchase a better plan
If nothing else has worked so far then perhaps it has nothing to do with you and instead a fault on your ISPs side. If nothing that you’ve done has helped you should consider calling your ISP directly where they will attempt to find the problem and resolve it.
ISPs receive loads of calls everyday so getting through to them can be difficult at times, they might not be able to resolve the issue right away depending on the problem that they find so it might require some patience.
We hope this article has helped you in some way. If you’re still unsure of any of the points in this article feel free to call us at 01903 357002 or alternatively email us at email@example.com