4 Reasons Your Wi-Fi is Slower Than It Should Be

Published: April 21, 2017 - 9:00am EDT

Woman stressing about slow Wi-Fi

Is your Wi-Fi at home painfully slow? Not sure what could be causing your home Internet to run slower than it should be? If so, you’re in the right place. In this article, we’ll going to tell you about four common causes of slow Wi-Fi, and give you some tips that could help solve the problem and speed your Wi-Fi up a little.

Here are four common reasons why your Wi-Fi might be running slower than it should:

1. Your router might not be in an optimal position in your home.

Ideally, your Wi-Fi router should be as close to the middle of your home as possible. Obviously it’s not always an option to place your router right in the center of your home, but try your best to get it as close as possible. Having your Wi-Fi router in a central location in your home will help your Wi-Fi signal to get to your devices with less obstruction.

Think of the Wi-Fi signal your router emits as a beam of light spreading from where it is located; the things closest to the router are going to be the most brightly-lit, and therefore, get the best Wi-Fi signal. As you move farther and farther away from the router, the light becomes more dim. This also applies to multiple levels in a home, so try to keep your router on the main/middle-most floor, rather than on the top floor or in a basement.

How to fix it: Relocate your router to a central area of your home to prevent obstruction.

Moving your wireless router to an area as close to the middle of your home as possible will help to avoid the signal being blocked by other objects, walls, etc. Try to keep your router away from other electronics that may interfere with it’s broadcast signal.

2. Signal congestion: too many Wi-Fi signals or connected devices can cause interference.

If you live in a busy area with lots of neighbours close by, or an apartment building with other people living above and below you, your Wi-Fi could be slower because there are other wireless Internet signals in the same broadcasting range as yours.

Other electronic devices can also cause interruptions to your Wi-Fi signal, especially if your router is an older model. Wi-Fi signals broadcast at a 2.4GHz frequency, and some other electronics (including microwaves, Bluetooth devices, and Christmas lights) operate at frequencies around 2.45GHz, which is close enough that they could potentially interfere with your Wi-Fi signal. Try to keep your router away from other electronics to limit interference with your Internet signal.

How to fix it: Find a better wireless channel to avoid interference.

Like we mentioned above, if you live in a busy area or an apartment building, your neighbours’ Wi-Fi routers may be interfering with your own simply because they’re broadcasting signals on the same channel. You can change the channel of your Wi-Fi network though, learn how to do this by reading this article, or by watching this video.

If that doesn’t work: Control your use of programs that use up your bandwidth.

Using programs like online video games, video streaming services, or downloading large files like pictures and videos can really hog your bandwidth. For example, if someone in your household is playing a game online, and another is trying to watch Netflix, the Internet is going to run much slower for both people. Especially if you have an older router, this can really slow down your Internet.

Multiple programs running

We have articles about the data usage of Netflix and Hulu if you’re interested in learning how much data they can use up. Try not to have these types of programs running on your network at the same time to avoid seriously slowing down your Internet speed.

3. Wi-Fi thieves – your Internet security settings might not be strong enough.

If you have a simple or easy-to-guess password (or no password at all) on your home Wi-Fi network, the cause of your Internet being slow could be that other people that live near you are accessing your wireless Internet. The more devices that are connected to and using the same Wi-Fi network at once, the slower the Internet speed will be.

Try to put a complex password on your Internet connection to prevent other people from accessing it. Check out our tutorial on how to change your Wi-Fi password to learn more, and make sure you are properly securing your Wi-Fi, as there are potential safety concerns associated with this as well.

Change computer settings

How to fix it: Change the password on your Wi-Fi network to something more complex.

Make the password on your wireless network something that is too complex for your neighbours to guess. You don’t want just anyone to be able to use your home Internet. 

4. Your Wi-Fi router or the device you’re using to access it might be old or outdated.

As you can probably guess, if you have an older router or an older smartphone, tablet, or computer, it might not be able to run as fast as newer models that are now available. Newer Wi-Fi routers have increased bandwidth (a wider range of frequencies to use for transmitting signals), which can help to make your Internet run faster. Also, newer smartphones and computers have better processors, meaning they can process information and execute tasks faster than older devices.

How to fix it: Replace your Wi-Fi router with a newer model.

The cause of your slow Wi-Fi could be just that your wireless router is getting old. Replacing your router with a new one could help to speed it up. A couple you might want to consider are the TP-Link AC3150 Wireless Router ($149.99) or the less expensive ($64.99) TP-Link AC1200 Wireless Router (these both have great reviews on Amazon!) There are also tons of options available to order from online stores like Amazon or BestBuy.

 

That’s it for this article about reasons why your Wi-Fi might be running slowly, and our tips for what you can do to improve the speed of your Internet. Check out our free Wi-Fi course to learn more about wireless routers and how wireless Internet works.

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