How to Optimize Your Wi-Fi Setup for 2021

The world is in an ever-evolving state of change these days. Technology, in particular, is always driving advancement and innovation forward. And yet, in spite of all of the groundbreaking creativity, it can still feel impossible to get a steady internet signal. Whether you’re trying to work from home or watching Netflix at the end of the day, flaky Wi-Fi is a pain in the neck.

If you have consistent struggles with your Wi-Fi, you’re not alone. The question is, why isn’t Wi-Fi better yet, and what can you do to improve your own connection?

Common Wi-Fi Shortcomings

The side effect of bad Wi-Fi is almost always the same: a sporadic, limited, or even nonexistent internet connection. While the results may be consistent, though, the reasons for Wi-Fi connectivity issues can vary. 

For instance, even two decades into the 21st century there is still a plethora of different factors that can cause your Wi-Fi to give you trouble. A few of the most common of these issues revolve around:

  • Distance: If you’re too far from a router, you’re going to have a lagging signal.
  • Elevation: If your router is low to the ground, it will struggle to send internet throughout your home. 
  • Physical materials: Concrete, brick, and even wood and drywall can interfere with the strength of your Wi-Fi signal.
  • Hardware: It doesn’t take long for a brand new router to become an outdated model. 
  • Software: Even if your router is new, if it isn’t kept up-to-date with the latest firmware it can fall behind the times.
  • Antennas and cables: If an ethernet cord or coaxial cable is loose, it can make Wi-Fi sporadic. In addition, a weak or ineffective antenna can be flaky as well.
  • Bandwidth: While bandwidth is increasing in many areas, so is the need for faster internet. Multiple devices and the rise of the smart home have increased the simultaneous draw on many a Wi-Fi signal.
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There are many reasons for your internet connection to struggle. These are some of the most common ones as the issue relates to your Wi-Fi, in particular. 

Ways to Upgrade Your Wi-Fi

Of course, understanding your Wi-Fi issues is only half of the battle. Knowing how you can eliminate them is equally important. So, without further ado, here are a few of the best ways that you can upgrade your Wi-Fi setup.

Reposition Your Router

Sometimes it’s best to start with the easy options. If you haven’t rebooted your router yet, make sure to do this first. If that doesn’t solve the problem, consider adjusting the position of your current unit before you invest in new hardware. A few suggestions to do this effectively include:

  • Making sure the router is as high as you can get it — even mounted on the wall if possible.
  • Adjust the antenna so that they aren’t all pointing in the same direction.
  • Avoid areas with a concentration of other electronics or thick walls blocking the signal.
  • Select an area for your router that is as central to your home as possible.
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Proper positioning is ground zero for a good internet connection.

Add an Extender

If you find that you’re still having issues, consider upgrading just part of the unit — namely the antenna. You can replace a router’s antennas in a couple of different ways. 

Some providers create wireless range extenders that allow you to add to the native range of the base unit. Other antennas are directional in nature. These focus the “beam” of the Wi-Fi in a particular direction.

Talk to Your Internet Service Provider

Another option is to talk to your internet service provider (ISP) to ensure that the problem isn’t on their end. While slow Wi-Fi speeds are typically on the user end, there are times when the issue resides outside of the home.

An ISP should be able to run a speed test right while you’re on the phone. They can check to see if the upload and download speeds you’re getting are in line with your internet plan.

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Use a Can

If you’re feeling MacGyvery, there’s one quick fix that you can try with minimal cost and effort. Take a page out of the 90s antenna-boosting playbook.

All you need to do is get an aluminum can and cut it in half in the vertical direction. Then attach these to your Wi-Fi antennas and see if it boosts the signal strength. Whether it works or not, this is one option that you’ll need to share on Facebook.

We live in a technologically marvelous era. Everything from smart cars to 5G is constantly pushing us forward. And yet, it’s still easy to find yourself stymied by a poor internet connection. 

Slow Wi-Fi can ruin a night spent trying to relax in front of the television. It can also hamper an otherwise productive day of remote work. It can even undermine the capabilities of an expensive smart appliance or digital device.

If you’re suffering from bad Wi-Fi, it’s important to do something to fix your situation. From repositioning your router to creating a mesh network, adding an extender, checking with your ISP, or even tracking down an old soup can, there are plenty of options. Start with the easy stuff, like rebooting your device, and work your way through the list from there. You’ll be glad you did the next time you fire up one of your devices and find that you’re not sitting, waiting for something to buffer.

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