How to Turbocharge your WI-FI

Poor Wi-Fi performance is as inevitable as death, taxes and people yelling “Kitna deti hai” when buying cars. But it’s something that can be remedied easily…

How to Turbocharge Your WI-FI

1 Place your router sensibly

Think. Don’t shroud your Wi-Fi source in lead. Even a closed door can attenuate the signal, so keep it high up and ensure the signal has an obvious escape route. Also, put it somewhere central, lest you lose half your signal to the world outside.

2 Big up your antenna(e)

Changing the antenna stalks on the router and receiving gadget can stabilise and improve Wi-Fi. The likes of TP-Link do upgrade antennae from about 500 each – money potentially well spent.

3 Repeat the signal

A Wi-Fi repeater extends your network by acting as a new starting point for transmission. Netgear’s WN3000RP (5402, netgear.com) is a big-name option, but smaller brands can be had from about 1500 .

4 Go back to 2.4GHz… or change up to 5GHz

Modern 802.11n Wi-Fi operates on both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequencies. While 5GHz tends to be less congested, it’s not so hot at navigating walls. A switch to 2.4GHz in the router settings (see below) could make a big difference to your range.

5 Change the channel

Most routers come set up using the same frequencies, and with population density now rivalling that of sardines in a crushed can, interference is an issue. Here’s how to find the least congested signals and speed things up.

a) Download inSSIDer (free, metageek.net) to scan the airwaves and find out which channels local Wi-Fi networks are using. Click ‘stop’ mid-scan to see a graph of activity. If your network’s in a congested spot, changing channel should help.

b) Hook up to your router via Ethernet and type its IP address (often http://192.168.1.1) into your browser. This should take you to a menu screen where you can change the router’s settings. Type in your password (search online if you don’t know it) and navigate to find the channel it’s using; choose one the graph says is uncongested. Save changes: your router should reboot, and its performance should improve.


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