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Dealing with Wi-Fi's biggest problem: Interference

Wi-Fi Router

Keep your Wi-Fi lights green, and your home happy.

We have all heard of it by this point, and it is the way of the world. Wi-Fi. It’s the invisible ally that allows us to binge Netflix, shop for the perfect pair of shoes, and connect us to work from anywhere at any time. Wi-Fi is pretty much the norm these days. Sometimes, however, the ally turns enemy — especially when Wi-Fi slows to a crawl. Slow Wi-Fi signal can leave even the calmest person ready to throw their router out the window. But before you call a professional, let’s talk about some factors which may or may not be affecting your Wi-Fi.

Distance from the router

You may think that a router in an unobstructed space should be able to connect to the internet easily, but at larger distances this is not the case. The further away from your router you get, the weaker the Wi-Fi signal. Therefore, the best option is to place your router as close to your devices as possible, but this is only practical if you have one main area where you tend to use your devices. Otherwise, you should place your router near the center of your home. After all, Wi-Fi broadcasts in 360 degrees.

Wi-Fi Bandwidth Hogging

Many people share their Wi-Fi with family members, roommates, or colleagues, but keep in mind that their internet activities could be affecting your speed too. Internet speed slowdowns will occur when a large number of people try to connect to the internet at the same time. These often happen during peak activity hours, such as after work hours when everyone gets home and tries to connect to the web, or participating in bandwidth-heavy activities like gaming and streaming Netflix. Downloading large files can also take quite a toll on your Wi-Fi performance. Sometimes this can’t be avoided — OS updates can be huge, for example — but if you are running tasks that aren’t urgent, try pausing them.

Your Neighbors Networks

The truth is that in our modern world, many households have their own Wi-Fi networks, and in an area with a large amount of different networks, Wi-Fi may suffer from poor signal strength because of all the conflicting transmissions. This can be problematic in a house, but even more so in housing complexes and apartments where there can be many routers within close proximity. Channel overlap is mostly an issue for routers that can only broadcast at 2.4 GHz, or with devices which can only receive a 2.4 GHz wireless signal. Why? Because there are only 14 channels to broadcast on. Two routers broadcasting the same channel at the same frequency can cause Wi-Fi interference issues. Which is why it’s important to pick a good channel in your router settings. Modern routers can choose channels automatically, but sometimes it’s better to investigate and find the best channel yourself.

While Wi-Fi may feel like the future, remember that wired network connections still have a lot of advantages over using Wi-Fi. If you want a more reliable connection with faster speed, and no interference problems, a wired network connection is still the most reliable option out there

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