How to Fix Bad Wi-Fi for Free

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So you pay for high speed internet service, but it doesn’t seem very fast at all. This may be your Wi-Fi connection, not your internet service provider.

While there are several inexpensive ways to improve your wireless connection (new routers, improved antennas, signal boosters), here are a few things to try before you spend the money.

Move your wireless router

The first step is to try reseating your modem. If you don’t know which box it is, take a look at your current internet configuration. Is there one box or are there two? If there is only one box, it means that your modem, which receives the Internet connection from your provider, and your router, which broadcasts the wireless connection in your house, are combined.

If there are two enclosures, find the one with the antennas coming out of it. It may have a brand such as Linksys or Netgear or TP-Link: it is your wireless router.

Either way, you want to move the modem/router combo or standalone router to the most central location possible in your home, for example, your living room, perhaps behind the TV.

And try to get it out in the open if possible. Routers aren’t always fun to look at, but putting one in a closet or behind closed doors can weaken the signal.

Edit Connections

In the Wi-Fi settings section of your computers, phones and tablets, check if you have two different networks. Some routers send a signal ending in “2.4 GHz” and a signal ending in “5 GHz” or “5” and “2” or “5G and “2G”, respectively.

They are two different wireless bands. The older technology – 2.4GHz – is a bit slower but has a longer range, so if you’re having trouble connecting from the furthest corners of your home, try setting these devices up to connect to the 2.4 GHz connection.

Conversely, if you are having issues with gaming or video streaming, check if the affected devices are connected to the 2.4GHz signal and reconnect them to the 5GHz signal instead. As long as the devices are close enough to pick up a strong signal, the 5GHz connection should be faster.

Upgrade your router software

You probably don’t regularly check for updates for your router, but they can really make a difference in speed and stability. They can also provide important security upgrades.

For this, you will need to access your router settings, which can be done through a web browser. To find out how to access the settings menu, search Google for the name of your router’s manufacturer followed by “firmware update”, which will provide you with step-by-step instructions.

For instance, here is the result i got when searching on Google “TP-Link Firmware Update”.

The process described on TP-Link’s support page should be quite similar to that of other router brands. You may need to download the firmware for your model, go to router settings and upload it to the administrative section. Other times, routers can pull updates directly from the router settings so you don’t have to download new software first.

And if you have a router/modem combo, which is often the case if your service provider is one of the big cable companies, there’s usually an automatic daily or weekly check for new firmware.

However, if you rent equipment from your supplier and have had it for a while, check with them to see if you are eligible for a free equipment upgrade. Comcast has even an online tool you can use.

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