As we all shelter-in-place and work from home more, figuring out how to make your internet faster has become a necessity.Wi-Fi dead zones around the house is largely up to you. To help, we've put together some suggestions on ways you can troubleshoot, and hopefully improve, the quality of the Wi-Fi inside and outside your place.
Be sure to also check out our guide to securing your home Wi-Fi network , our guide to the new Wi-Fi 6 standard , and our gear guide for working at home .
Updated May 2020: We've added a bunch of new tips and buying advice to this guide.
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1. Move Your Router
That router in the closet? Not a good idea. Walls, cupboards, even bookshelves can potentially dampen your Wi-Fi signal. Physically moving the router can make a real difference to the speeds you get and how far its wireless transmissions can reach. The perfect spot will depend on your home, but try not to hide your router in a corner, or under a cupboard, or inside a drawer—the more central and prominent it is, the better. For more info, read our guide to where to put your router for the best possible home Wi-Fi .
If you're not sure how to find these settings, check the documentation that came with the router, or run a quick web search using your router's make and model.You should be using WPA2 security to guard access to your router, which essentially requires every new device to submit a password to connect.
You might need to apply some creative cabling to get your router in a better place, but it's going to be worth the effort for the end results. The goal is to get your main devices—consoles, laptops, and so on—as close as possible to your router. Devices that don't need quite so much bandwidth, like smart thermostats, don't have to be a priority in terms of physical proximity.
If you don't have a flat surface near the best spot, you can mount your router halfway up a wall. If possible, keep it away from other devices that use electromagnetic waves; that includes baby monitors, wireless keyboards, and even microwaves.
2. Use an Ethernet Cable
We sometimes forget: wires still exist! You don't need Wi-Fi. A wired connection to your router is usually preferable to a wireless one. It's faster and more stable, and can't be affected by other devices or large fish tanks. The downside is, of course, that it limits where your devices can be, and it's less convenient overall.Still, for devices that need the fastest internet possible—a gaming console or a streaming box, for example—it's often well worth the effort to run a wire. The router will have a handful of Ethernet ports to spare, so all you need is a cable.
But early data shows that most US broadband providers, and many elsewhere, are standing up to the surge in internet traffic generated by the many people stuck at home amid the Covid-19 pandemic.Dane Jasper, CEO of the San Francisco area broadband provider Sonic, says the company has seen a traffic increase of around 25 percent.
To do a really tidy job and avoid having wires trailing across your floor, you'll need to deploy some cable management. Wall brackets like these ($14 for a pack of 40) keep the Ethernet cable fixed to the walls. If you have several cables running the same direction these wall mounts ($13 for a pack of 50) work well. For one or two gadgets, it can be worth the extra setup.