Here’s how to optimize and safeguard your home WiFi

It’s not enough to have a home WiFi installed. It’s also important to know the tips and tricks to get the best speed out of your WiFi and keep your home browsing safe.

While this may not be an inclusive set of recommendations, here are some of the basic things you need to know in order to optimize your home WiFi:

Tip 1: Find the best spot for the router

Location, location, location! Where you place the router will determine if you get the best out of your home WiFi. Usually the central area of the house is the best spot for maximum coverage of the entire home.

Tip 2: Minimize obstructions

Obstructions like walls and doors affect the strength of WiFi signals. Signals travel better through wooden walls compared to concrete walls. Signals are even better in open space where there are no walls.

Tip 3: Minimize sources of interference

Appliances can interfere with WiFi signals. This includes cordless phones, microwave ovens and other appliances. Locate the router preferably away from these interferences.

Tip 4: Secure your network

If you leave your network open, you may not realize it but that weak signal you are experiencing may be coming from neighbors leeching off your WiFi. Secure it with a strong password (and that means NOT using a birthday, names, phone numbers or number series). My kids made up a sentence and converted that into a strong password made up of upper and lower case letters, numbers, and symbols.

Tip 5: Control the number of users, devices and bandwidth-hungry activities

How many devices access your home WiFi? If there are a lot of users at home, with most everyone downloading huge files, watching videos, or playing online games, chances are your internet speed will slow down. Think of your bandwidth as a highway. The more cars there are on the road, the slower you move and traffic builds up. Check the activities of all WiFi users at home. Some could be slowing down your internet. There are applications where you can prioritize bandwidth to certain activities. For example, you can prioritize bandwidth for work applications over online gaming (my kids will object if I tried to curb their gaming).

Tip 6: Use WiFi boosters or extenders

Some areas of your home may be dead spots and you may not get any WiFi signal. One way to solve this is by installing a WiFi range extender. The extender serves as an amplifier of your WiFi signal. If you do not want to spend for an extender, guess what! Your old wireless router can be used as a repeater. It may not give you the same speed as your new WiFi router but at least you can bring signal to those dead spots.

Tip 7: Find the right wireless channel

Netspot WiFi Analyzer

If your nearest neighbors also have WiFi routers, they could be interfering as well with your signal and degrading it. A WiFi analyzer app (there are free ones on the web) can help you look for a channel with the least interference.

Tip 8: Reset your router regularly

Yes, if internet really slows down frequently, you may want to reset your router. Once a day would be fine if the router is easily accessible but if it is located in a hard-to-access spot, daily is a pain. Once a week may suffice. There are many reasons why you would want to reset your router and it could be needed for older routers.

Here’s an article from Lifehacker I found that gives you several reasons to reset your router regularly.

I’m sure there are still other life hacks to boost your WiFi but I think I’ve covered the major ones. Want to share any tips you have tried that worked?


Images courtesy of Globe Telecom, Inc.

Tita Jane

Tita forever, geek forever!!! Loves gadgets more than clothes... First introduced to IT via punched cards and COBOL programming... IT auditor for over 5 years... IT consultant covering the financial industry for over 7 years... Now, a blogger and social media practitioner...and still covering the IT world, among other interests. And proud that all my kids are geeky as well. ~ Tita Jane Uymatiao

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