There are no arguments that WiFi is one of the biggest and the most critical developments in the internet’s evolution.
Thanks to it, we could finally move on from the dial-up modem internet.
However, WiFi connectivity has its limitations too. One of the most common complaints we hear from users is that their internet speed suffers from time to time, which leads them to ask, “How do I speed up my WiFi?”
If the speed of the internet you have opted for is rather slow, to begin with, then there is nothing much you can do other than to upgrade your internet plan.
On the other hand, if you do have a high-speed internet connection but still suffer from slow speeds, then you have come to the right page.
In this article, we will talk at length about speeding up your WiFi connection, but that’s not all.
We will also talk about several other topics related to the WiFi and internet to give you a general idea about this remarkable invention.
Let’s dive in!
The internet has been an extremely important source in fields like science, education, development, design, research, and many more.
This is a tangible entity that mainly relies on physical infrastructure to connect one network to other networks.
The term “Internet” was coined for the first time through networking by JCR Licklider back in 1962.
Initially, he called it Galactic Network, which was used first to interconnect a set number of computers to access data and programs.
Ever since then, the DAPRA concept came into existence, and then finally, the ARPANET, where the first host computer got connected.
ARPANET was primarily used as a networking technology for the first electronic mail message service. It later became to be called the Internet, which works on multiple independent networks.
On the 24th of October in 1995, a resolution was passed by the Federal Networking Council (FNC) that proposed the term “internet” with various other members of the internet as well as the intellectual property communities.
The resolution that was passed stated that the internet is a global information system that is linked logically by a global unique space address that is based on IP (Internet Protocol) and supports communications by using TCP (Transmission Control Protocol).
This resolution also states that the internet provides users access to all the services publicly or privately for all communications.
From that point, with all the evolution and the technology that came after, the whole concept of networking has changed entirely.
It is followed by peer-to-peer, client/server models, and many others that allow the users to connect their personal computers to a network.
This followed with telephone wires, physical cables, devices of networking, WAN, LAN, and several others that created a whole new generation of the internet that distributes the networks globally.
Nowadays, you will find different kinds of connections such as wired, wireless, 2G, 3G, and 4G that, overall, increases the capacity of the network.
At present, there is testing for 5G networks as well.
Since the internet is so vast, it only goes without saying that even the number of its connections is also quite a few.
Each of these connections uses different hardware, and their speeds differ from each other too. With the advancement of technology, internet connections are only becoming faster, and therefore, need the right hardware to handle those changes.
Let’s briefly talk about the different kinds of internet connections.
This is the most common internet connection from the ‘90s to the early 2000s. The dial-up access is quite cheap but very slow.
Typically, a modem connects to the internet when the computer dials a particular phone number. The analog signal is then converted into a digital signal through the modem, and then this signal is sent over a landline service by a telephone network.
Since this relies on a telephone connection, the quality varies and, in most cases, the connection is always poor.
The telephone lines often interfere with the speed that will only range between 28kbps and 56kbps.
Since the telephone line is used to access the internet, the telephone itself will remain inactive in that period.
DSL, which stands for Digital Subscriber Line, is a kind of connection that is always switched “on.”
This connection uses two lines so that your phone does not remain inactive when it’s connected to the computer.
Additionally, there is no need for a phone number to dial to connect to the internet. DSL offers a varied range of speeds.
Depending on the service you have opted for, you will get speeds anywhere between 128kbps to 8 Mbps.
Internet connections are provided through cable modems, and these operate over cable TV wires.
You will get different kinds of speeds depending on whether you are downloading or uploading the data transmission.
Using a cable connection will undoubtedly offer you a higher bandwidth over DSL and dial-up connections. The speeds typically range between 512kbps and 20 Mbps.
The cellular connection is wireless and accesses the internet through your phone.
The speed entirely depends on the provider of the service. Presently, throughout the world, you will find 3G and 4G connections.
The 3G connection offers speeds around 2Mbps while 4G is up to 100Mbps. However, in reality, it does not cross over 21 Mbps.
A satellite connection uses the satellite in the Earth’s orbit to access the internet.
This kind of connection often provides a delayed connection compared to other kinds of connection as there is an enormous distance that the signal needs to travel from the Earth to the satellite and back.
The range of speed is typically around 512kbps and 2Mbps.
Wireless connection, more commonly referred to as WiFi, does not use any cables or telephone lines to connect to the internet.
Instead, this connection uses radiofrequency. Similar to DSL, the wireless connection is also an always “on” network and can be accessed from anywhere.
Now that you have a better understanding of the different kinds of internet connections let us exclusively talk about wireless connections moving forward as this is the most commonly used internet connection today.
There are multiple types of connections that are present behind the Wi-Fi label and all of them mean something practical when it comes to you using them.
This applies to whether you are connecting to the internet via the WiFi at home or even at the office.
WiFi isn’t just a wireless internet, but it is a type of wireless connection in itself.
So, even though the two terms—wireless internet and WiFi—are used interchangeably, these two are not the same.
It is important to note that not all WiFi connections are wireless internet connections, and this applies the other way around too.
Rather, all the WiFi networks and even WiFi-labeled equipment are different in that they meet a very specific standard that is set by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers or IEEE.
The standard WiFi connection is known by a number that you must have read on almost all routers, 802.11.
Any wireless network that is genuinely based on WiFi will run on this very equipment, which is approved by the non-profit organization called the WiFi Alliance.
The 802.11 standard has multiple types under it too. This is referred to by the WiFi Alliance as the different generations of the 802.11.
For instance, you will notice that there are multiple letters placed right after the number, such as 802.11a, which shows that that particular product is certified and operates at a 5GHz frequency band and will offer you a maximum bandwidth of 54 Mbps.
We will talk about the standard of wireless technology in more detail further below.
A wireless router that transmits radio signals for WiFi networks will provide you with two different types of encryption for the data that is sent across the network.
These are known as WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access) and WPA2 (Wi-Fi Protected Access 2).
According to Microsoft, these are encryption methods that will provide you with far more security than the old method, which was known as the WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy).
Even among the WPA and the WPA2, there are two different subtypes.
One of them is recommended for just personal or home use, wherein all the users who use that network use the same SSID and the password, whereas the other is a type that is recommended for business use, wherein the user has their password.
As mentioned above, we often tend to think or relate the word WiFi to the internet, but not all WiFi networks are meant to be connected to the internet.
People tend to use WiFi networks that are non-internet based specifically for businesses that need to use a system wherein they can connect all of their office equipment such as scanners, smartphones, printers, every single computer, and all the other devices.
Thus, altogether eliminating the need for hundreds of wires.
On the other hand, the WiFi networks that are used to connect to the internet, especially the ones that are public WiFi hotspots, such as the ones you would typically find on a plane, coffee shop, or even a supermarket, are not frequently encrypted.
Hence, you always hear the warning not to send sensitive information while you access the internet on public networks.
At present, there are currently three different types of Wi-Fi technology.
These include 802.11b, 802.11g, and 802.11n. Let us discuss each of them below.
Commonly referred to as Wireless N, this was created and designed as an improved 802.11g and the amount of bandwidth it can support.
This was achieved by making use of more wireless antennas and signals, also called MIMO technology, instead of just a single one.
The 802.11n standard is capable of providing speeds anywhere between 300 Mbps and 450 Mbps.
The 802.11n is also known to offer a far better range and coverage in comparison to the older WiFi standards as it has a better signal intensity and is also backward compatible with 802.11b/g gear.
- Far more significant bandwidth improvement when compared to the previous Wi-Fi standards
- Offers a broader range of support across the devices and also the network gear
- The 802.11n is a bit more expensive to implement than the 802.11g
- The use of multiple signals could potentially interfere with other nearby 802.11b/g-based wireless networks
Back in 2002 and 2003, WLAN products began to support a newer WiFi standard called the 802.11g that had newly emerged on the market.
The 802.11g was known at that point to combine the best of 802.11b as well as 802.11a.
It is capable of supporting bandwidth up to 54 Mbps, and it uses a 2.4 GHz frequency, which could offer a great range.
The 802.11g is backward compatible with 802.11b, which means that the 802.11g access points will also work with the 802.11b wireless network adapters and the other way around.
- This is the least expensive option
- This WiFi standard is supported by almost all wireless devices and network equipment that is still in use to this day
- This is the oldest and the slowest standard that is still in use
- The entire network has to slow down to match any 802.11b device present on its network
The IEEE expanded on the first 802.11 back in July 1999 and created the 802.11b specification. The 802.11b supports a theoretical speed of up to 11Mbps.
However, only a realistic bandwidth of about 6Mbps (TCP) and 7Mbps (UPD) should be expected out of this.
The 802.11b uses the same 2.4 GHz unregulated radio signaling frequency as the original 802.11 standards.
You will notice vendors opting for this particular frequency as it significantly lowers their costs of production.
Since this has an unregulated frequency, the 802.11b can easily incur interference from cordless phones, microwave ovens, and other devices that work on the same 2.4 GHz range.
However, if installed at a safe distance from these devices, then the interference could be avoided altogether.
- Significantly cheaper to operate compared to other connections
- The go-to choice for household connections across the globe
- This WiFi standard offers a very limited bandwidth
- Many users are concerned about security issues
Now that you have a better understanding of the WiFi bandwidth, the letters will no longer seem confusing to you anymore when it comes to the types of WiFi routers.
Then again, you will yet find some other confusing terms such as selectable, two-radio, and dual-band.
What do these mean? Let’s talk about them in detail.
Single Band vs. Dual Band
You may have noticed we have mentioned frequencies such as 2.4GHz and 5GHz.
These wireless connections operate on two bands, and those two are the ones that are used all over.
As mentioned earlier, the 802.11b and 802.11g are both standards that work on a single band, which is the 2.4 GHz band.
On the other hand, the newer ones, like the 802.11n, are known to work on both — single as well as the dual-band — and therefore has the capability of offering 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequencies.
Routers that operate on a single band can only operate on a 2.4 GHz frequency. Dual-band routers, as their name suggests, can work on both the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz frequencies.
Dual-band routers are also referred to as two radios and are available in a “selectable” or “simultaneous” model.
You will find the 2.4 GHz frequency is used by several wireless devices, which include microwave ovens and cordless phones.
These devices are also responsible for causing interference to gadgets working on the same frequency as mentioned earlier.
For this reason, opting for a 5GHz band is a better choice as it is guaranteed to offer you better coverage and performance as well as offer less interference.
Single WAN or Dual WAN
Another option you must consider, especially if you are running a company, is to choose between single or dual WAN.
All the routers in the market offer users a single WAN port that connects your whole company to the internet.
However, if you find yourself in a situation where the port fails, it could potentially affect your whole business in that you will lose access to any other office, and the employees won’t be able to work remotely.
Having a router with a dual WAN port will ensure that it provides you with reliable connectivity by giving you a second link to connect to the internet, which is perfect for businesses that cannot afford any network downtime and those that run on several applications.
All wireless routers’ performance varies from each other depending on the standard they possess. The 802.11b is the lowest standard whereas the 802.11n offers the highest standard.
It is important to note that while you may be tempted to take the highest standard wireless router, doing so may only make sense if you have a high-speed internet connection.
What this means is that even when you have an 802.11n standard router, if your internet speed is just 2Mbps, then the router will do you no good when it comes to the speed.
Routers come with a set of security to keep the user safe from any malware or suspicious internet activity.
Most routers have the standard WEP security, and some take it a step further and have WPA and WPA2 security levels.
Some routers even can offer users decent access controls. Having access control on your router will allow you to set a limit for internet usage for a single day.
It will also allow for guest access as well as the ability to make multiple SSID, which is an important security measure for a small business.
While the speed of WiFi and internet both have significantly improved over the last several years, there are often when you will find your WiFi being extremely slow without any proper issue.
Just hang out at Starbucks for a while, and you will know exactly what we are saying.
Thankfully, a lot of these issues are quite common, and the way to deal with them is quite simple too.
Let us discuss in detail the ways you can correct common WiFi connectivity and speed problems.
Slow Internet Connection
We are in an age where we are all used to fast internet speeds almost everywhere in the world.
However, there are times when both wired and wireless networks tend to get bogged down.
So, if you find your internet connection is working slower than usual, there might be a reasonable explanation for it, and even the way to fix it would not be complicated.
Cause: Router Is Hidden or Too Far Away
One of the most obvious problems that affect the speed of the WiFi is the distance of devices from the router.
Since routers are not the most attractive electronic item to look at, people tend to keep them hidden far away, which means that you are unlikely to get a good amount of signal strength that is essential for a stable internet connection.
The further away the router is from you and your device, the more unreliable the connection will become.
Fix: The solution to this problem is extremely simple. All you need to do is be close enough to the WiFi router.
Alternatively, you can also consider moving the router to another room if you find that there is a lack of connectivity.
If you feel that the issue is far more persistent, then it would be wise to put the router up on a higher shelf or so.
Keeping it up high in a central location in your house will allow little to no interference from the radio signals coming from other devices running on the same frequency.
If that does not work too, then perhaps it is time to purchase another router along with a set of powerline network adapters that will help extend your network.
Cause: Not Enough Bandwidth
Another reason for a slowdown in the internet connection is the lack of bandwidth.
You will particularly notice this as you are around a bunch of people connected to the same wireless network and who are constantly on their phones and laptops.
Most video and audio streaming apps consume a ton of data. With that, the internet spreads thin and gets shared across all the devices.
Fix: Begin by disconnecting all the devices that are active on the wireless network.
If you find multiple devices use the same internet to stream videos from YouTube or Netflix, while another is trying to play a game on the computer, you could try to connect one or more of these devices directly on to the router with the help of a Cat-5 ethernet cable.
This cable will free some of the wireless bandwidth.
However, the underlying issue may also be that you don’t have a fast enough internet connection, to begin with.
There could also be a possibility that some are leeching off your internet.
To prevent this from happening, ensure that you have set up security measures for your wireless network and don't share the password with everybody.
Cause: Interference Issues
You will find that in crowded areas, there is a constant interference issue.
When people set their wireless router up, they tend not to change the settings much.
This means that all the default wireless channels, like 1, 6, and 11, are selected, which automatically become crowded.
Fix: Thankfully, with the newer models of wireless routers, it is possible to automatically select the least congested frequency when you reboot the router.
You can find this by logging into the admin panel in your router and manually selecting a different channel.
In addition, if your router has a 5GHz frequency, then choose to enable the 2.4GHz as well. Choose to keep the 5GHz channel open for all of the critical connections.
Cause: Out-of-Date Router
Over the last decade, there has been a significant change in wireless technology.
The newer standards of wireless routers have been put in place, and thus the speeds are much faster than before.
Many places in the world today also have fiber connections.
Several devices need internet which you would not even think of including TVs, speakers, printers, refrigerators, lights, and many more.
So, the problem could be an outdated router.
Fix: Wireless technology is changing at rapid speeds. So, it is wise to upgrade your router every two to three years.
Doing so will eliminate the possibility of any limitation with your router and can also help avoid several issues altogether.
Cause: Too Many Users During Peak Times
You find internet speeds going very slow during crowded areas at peak times, especially in urban areas.
Fix: The only solution to this problem is to try and work around a schedule where the crowd is smaller, or avoid using the internet during peak hours.
This is a very common problem in cities all over the world. In some cases, you will have little to no internet connection too if the area is very crowded.
When There is No Internet Connection
Cause: Problems with Modem and Router
Periodically, you will find that there could be some glitches, which would result in either the modem or the router (or even both) completely stop communicating.
There is no explanation for this. It is very random and does happen to everybody.
Fix: The best way to deal with this problem is by pulling the plug from the power socket.
Simultaneously disconnect the modem from the router as well and wait for about a minute or so before you restore power to both of them.
Cause: Service Outage
Depending on where you live and how strong your internet connection is, you could have your internet completely dropping.
This will not be due to a hardware issue, but mostly due to a service outage.
Fix: Unfortunately, in a case like this, there isn’t much you can do.
You can either go to the nearest spot where they offer a WiFi hotspot, or get in touch with your internet service provider and make them aware of your issue.
An issue like this happens from your internet service provider’s end, and only they can fix the issue for you. Until then, all you can do is wait.
One thing that is worse than having no internet connection is an extremely slow internet connection.
There are a few easy steps you can take when you want to speed up your WiFi connection, and these include:
Reposition the Antennas
Your wireless router will come with either internal or external types of antennas.
If you have more than one external antenna, then position them perpendicular to each other instead of vertically or horizontally.
The antennas play an essential role when it comes to sending out radio signals.
Set Up Wireless Security
While this is very obvious for some, there are plenty of people who do not set a password for their wireless routers.
Not only this could prove to be a potential threat to users in that network, but it can cause massive slowdown thanks to all the users who are trying to leech off the internet from the open network.
So, be sure to apply security measures when you first set up the router.
Switch to 5GHz
The internet has come a long way in the last few years, and many have high-speed internet connections today. This means that they have also invested in a high-quality router.
What many people don’t realize, though, is that their routers come with a dual-band system and that they can opt for both a 2.5GHz and a 5GHz frequency.
This will eliminate the possibility of any interference from other devices.
Use Powerline Network Adapters
If you live in a very large house that is multi-story, then there is no possible way you could centrally position the wireless router.
The next best solution to this issue is using a powerline network adapter.
These adapters work in almost all modern construction by utilizing the electrical wiring that exists inside the walls.
Simply plug in an adapter, which is near the router, and then connect it to the ethernet cable.
Plugin the second adapter in the room or in the area where you want the coverage.
Then, you can use one more ethernet cable to connect directly to your device or even into the internet port of another router.
Having a slow internet connection can be frustrating, and sometimes the issue behind these can be very trivial.
Hence, knowing how to speed up your WiFi is imperative to avoid these situations altogether.
The list of causes and solutions we have offered above is going to be of great use to you in times of such issues with your wireless router.
Furthermore, even the easy tips on speeding up the Wi-Fi router is guaranteed to make a difference if you feel your internet speed is lagging.
Then again, if all the solutions we have offered make no difference to your internet speed, then you must speak to your internet service provider to fix up your internet for you.
After all, that is their responsibility.