In decades past, your Internet connection ran to a single room of your home via an Ethernet cable. Now you need a capable router to get more from your Internet-ready devices including tablets, smartphones, laptops, game systems, and even your TV.
Wi-Fi is certainly the best way to send your high-speed Internet throughout your home, but in many homes, wireless routers seem slow and limited. Here are a few easy ways to get more from your home's wireless network.
1. Make sure you're using up-to-date Wi-Fi technology. Most of your gadgets can use a type of Wi-Fi called 802.11g, often abbreviated simply as Wi-Fi G. If you haven't bought a wireless router in a few years, your current router might not support this standard, which will probably lead to some noticeable speed issues.
Many computers and newer devices support newer standards called Wireless N (or 802.11n) and 802.11-2012. Both of these standards offer faster access speeds and more than double the range of the older standards.
To put it simply, look for a router with Wireless N or 802.11-2012 support to take full advantage of your Internet connection.
2. Get an antenna. If you live in an area with a lot of signal interference or if you have a large house, your Wi-Fi might drop out in certain rooms regardless of your router strength.
To fix the problem, you can get a cheap Wi-Fi antenna for about $30-$40 that will boost your router's range substantially. This won't improve your access speeds, however.
3. Look for interference. You might have dozens of neighbors if you live in a major city, in which case you'll likely experience some Wi-Fi issues as all of the routers in your apartment building compete for the same channels. It's like everyone broadcasting on the same radio frequency -- it gets hard for your computer and other devices to figure out where to listen.
To prevent this, check your router's manual for instructions on changing your access channel. This is way easier than it sounds and should help you improve your home network access in only a few minutes.
Other devices such as microwaves, cordless phones, and baby monitors can also interfere with your Wi-Fi. Consider moving these devices around or changing their settings away from 2.4Ghz to improve reception. If you're a parent, you can always use a high-tech baby monitor that uses your home network to transmit video and audio for better peace of mind and a more reliable Wi-Fi system.
Don't be afraid of your home's wireless network. You don't have to mess with many settings on your PC to dramatically improve your Internet connection, and if you've got a lot of Internet-ready gadgets, making a few simple changes will yield fantastic results.