Living with a slow or spotty Wi-Fi signal can basically ruin your life, robbing you of everything from Spotify music to Netflix films.
The bad news is it might actually be your fault if your home network is failing to deliver the goods.
Many of us position our routers badly, configure them wrongly – and don’t give them a chance to deliver decent speeds through the home.
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Here’s a checklist of Wi-Fi hacks which could boost your speed.
Get a bit DIY
This month, a study showed that a 3D printed ‘reflector’ covered in aluminium foil could vastly improve Wi-Fi signals in the home.
But you don’t need to own a pricey 3D printer to try this DIY approach: there’s various ways to build a reflector, using cardboard and foil (and lots of YouTube videos showing you how).
It works because it ‘bounces back’ radio signals which could otherwise be disappearing uselessly outside your home.
Change the channel
It might come as a surprise to learn that your Wi-Fi network even has a channel, but it could be affecting your speed, especially if you live in a building with several people using Wi-Fi.
You can change via the router’s admin menu (often accessed by connecting an Ethernet cable to the router and typing 192.168.1.1. Into the browsser).
Keep trying different ones until you get a faster speed – the one that gives you a good speed is usually the one your neighbour isn’t using.
Many routers are set to ‘6’ automatically, so if you’re in a crowded block of flats, this can sometimes deliver a decent boost.
Move your router into the open
The ‘classic’ position for a router is in a corner, often behind a sofa, or underneath a desk – understandable, as the things aren’t exactly pretty.
But if you’re looking to speed up the signal, it’s best to have it elevated off the floor.
Don’t put it next to a window, and keep it as far away from walls you share with a neighbour’s house as possible
Thick walls are bad news for high-frequency, low-power Wi-Fi signals, so try to ensure your router isn’t sitting right next to one.
Make sure it’s plugged into the ‘right’ phone socket
Make sure your router is plugged into the ‘master socket’ where the phone line enters the house – otherwise the signal could be being degraded by your house’s wiring.
Move your router away from other electronics (and the Christmas tree)
The classic ‘office’ set-up with a PC and next to a phone and a router underneath the desk isn’t going to do your signal any favours.
Everyday electronics such as Christmas tree lights can also interfere with Wi-Fi – as they have unshielded wires which could (in theory) mess with radio waves.
Ensure your router isn’t near anything which could interfere – including the TV.
Change your network’s name
If your wireless network came with a default name – ie ‘NETGEAR’ or ‘WIRELESS’ – change it.
If there’s another nearby that has the same name, all PCs, phones, can get confused and try to connect to both.