Here are 10 tips to pep it up…
WiFi is one of the most important developments in the evolution of the internet—no one wants to be tethered to a desktop PC—but it’s also one of the most frustrating. If you’re plagued by slowing speeds, bad areas, and other WiFi problems, here are 10 ways you can power up your WiFi.
One of the best ways to make sure your network is as fast and reliable is to use up-to-date hardware. Wireless A, B, G, and N are older wireless standards, with wireless AC being the most current technology you will need today.
If you’re streaming more and more HD video to devices like Chromecasts or smartphones, having a wireless AC connection will alleviate video stuttering or buffering thanks to its ability to move more data at a faster rate than the older N standard. Coming out next year is AX, (due out later in 2019), so you won’t have to worry about updating your wireless tech for a while if you’re already caught up. With more smart devices like light bulbs and switches scattered throughout the office, a strong WiFi signal that can propagate throughout your office is essential. But if you’ve only got one basic router (or the one provided by your carrier), and don’t feel like learning how to convert your second one into a repeater, consider purchasing a wireless mesh network system from Metropark. We have several really cool options for you.
Routers may be ugly, but that doesn’t mean you should hide them in some closet. If you want the best signal, you’ll need it out in the open, free of any walls and obstructions. If your router’s optimal location is a space without a table or flat surface, check to see if you can wall mount it either using its pre-installed mounting holes or a third-party mounting bracket. Point the antennas perpendicularly and elevate the router if you can. Make sure it’s in the center of your office, so you have the best coverage possible throughout your office.
Routers are often confined to particular locations based on where your Internet connection enters your office and connects to your modem. You can alleviate the issue with some longer Ethernet cables and a few cable clips to hold your cable against the wall and out of the way.
If you have other businesses close by, their routers may be interfering with yours and causing the signal to degrade. Wireless routers can operate on several different channels, and you want yours on a channel with as little interference as possible. Use a tool like Network Analyzer Lite or WiFi Analyzer to find the perfect channel in your office. You can always have Metropark help find the right channel as well as solve other interference concerns.
Other routers aren’t the only thing that can cause interference. Cordless phones, microwaves, and other appliances can screw up your WiFi signal as well. Buying a dual band router can help with this, but you can also buy cordless phones on other bands too. If you don’t want to buy new hardware, you can always try moving your router further away from interfering appliances, too.
There’s more than one way to protect your WiFi connection from prying neighbors or malicious attackers. A combination of simple trickery and the proper password protection will keep most of the would-be thieves away.
Cloaking is an effective measure to keep your data-mooching neighbor off your internet connection But always remember that the more tech-savvy users can use free network scanners to find it with relative ease.
If they can’t see your WiFi network, they probably can’t connect to it. You can keep prying eyes away from your router by hiding its SSID (the name of the WiFi network) and forcing everyone who wants in to type it manually. You can toggle the SSID broadcast option in the firmware settings of your router. While your SSID is hidden, it won’t show up if you’re setting up new devices or scanning for a connection on your smartphone; you’ll have to enter it yourself.
In terms of password protection, your router’s default administrator username and password should be changed immediately!!! Also, store it wherever you keep the rest of your passwords. In addition, you should enable WPA2 password protection on your WiFi network. It’s encrypted, making it more secure than the older WPA or WEP security protocols.
If someone in your office regularly video chats, plays online games, torrents files, or uses services like Netflix, they may be hogging bandwidth and making the internet slower for everyone else. Luckily, you can use something called Quality of Service—or QoS for short—to reign in those bandwidth hogs. With QoS, you can prioritize certain applications (say, video chat) over others (like video games) so the most important applications get the bandwidth they deserve. This is somewhat advanced, so you may wish to have Metropark engineers help you with this.
Nearly all routers, usually those with adjustable antenna, use twist-off antenna with RP-SMA connectors. You can buy RP-SMA antenna extension cables, or even a directional antenna to boost your WiFi’s performance. This can be a long shot however.
Another great way to extend your range is to hack your router and install the DD-WRT firmware. Not only will it give you a ton of great security features and other enhancements, but it gives you the option to boost your transmitting power. This can be dangerous for your router, but most routers can handle an increase up to 70 mW without causing any issues, and you’ll be able to access your network from much further away! Again, this is just for the advanced hackers.
If that still doesn’t help, you’ll need to get a range extender for your office. They aren’t super expensive, but if you don’t want to pay for another piece of hardware, you can actually turn an old wireless router into an extender with the aforementioned DD-WRT firmware. Note that you may not be able to get as fast of a connection through your extender, but if you just can’t seem to get WiFi on the edge of your office, this’ll get the job done on the cheap. You could also connect one router to another via Ethernet cable and create another access point in your office. Metropark won’t recommend or support this option, but in a pinch it may be a good solution.
If you’re one of the many folks that has to reboot their router every so often so it doesn’t drop out, there is a solution. You can run a few tests to make sure the problem isn’t caused by heat, old firmware, or excess downloading, but an easy way to solve the problem is just automatically reboot it once a day or so. You can do this with DD-WRT or just a regular old outlet timer. When you’re done, you shouldn’t have to reboot your router so often (which is great if your router’s all the way up in the ceiling).
After going through these tweaks, you should find that your WiFi is faster, more reliable, and more secure than ever. If you’d like a Metropark Engineer to assist with increasing your WIFI please call our support desk or your sales account rep.