These days we rely on our home Wi-Fi networks more than ever. Our home Wi-Fi networks still power our laptops and desktops, but they also allow our tablets, smartphones and other devices to connect to the Internet. We also rely on our Wi-Fi networks to bring us streaming movies and TV shows, and when performance slows down so does our entertainment.
If you are tired of seeing that dreaded buffering icon when watching your favorite shows, you need to look at the most common reasons Wi-Fi networks slow down and what you can about it. Here are three important things to investigate when your home Wi-Fi network slows to a crawl.
#1. Are the Neighbors Stealing Your Wi-Fi?
Wi-Fi theft was a much bigger problem in the early days when most routers had minimal security or none at all, but it is still an issue. Many home users never change the default passwords embedded in their routers, so it does not take much to crack the code and steal their signals. If you never changed the password on your own Wi-Fi router, now is the time to do it.
Even if you have strong security on your Wi-Fi router, it is possible someone has cracked your password and is right now stealing your signal. Programs like Wi-Fi History View or the aptly named Who Is On My Wi-Fi app can help you detect intruders and freeloaders on your network. If you do find a Wi-Fi thief, you should change your password immediately and strengthen your overall network security.
#2. Does Your Router Need a New Home?
Even the best Wi-Fi router may have trouble covering a large area or dealing with multiple devices. If your Wi-Fi signal is not as strong as it should be or you have multiple dead spots in your home, moving the router to a more central location could help.
Walls and other structures can interfere with the signals coming from the Wi-Fi router, so you may need to experiment with a number of different locations until you find the right one. If you have a large home, you may also want to install a few Wi-Fi signal boosters to improve performance and speed up your connections.
#3. Do You Need a New Router?
If your router is several years old, the best way to boost your signal may be to buy a new one. The technology behind Wi-Fi routers has been changing fast, and running your network on outdated equipment could slow your signal and cause endless frustration for yourself and your family.
Wi-Fi routers with the “N” designation used to be considered state-of-the-art, but these days “AC” routers offer better security, faster performance and a host of other benefits. If you have already tried relocating your router and banishing Wi-Fi thieves, buying a brand new “AC” router may be your best course of action.
It was not long ago that having a Wi-Fi network in your home was a rare luxury, but in these days of streaming video, ubiquitous devices and always-on Internet connections a good Wi-Fi network is almost a necessity. If your own Wi-Fi connection leaves a bit to be desired, it is time to do some research and see what is slowing down your signal.