Buffering delays. Lagging video streams. Dropped Zoom calls. Sound familiar? Spotty WiFi coverage in your home can be a real bummer, especially if you’ve invested in high-speed internet from your service provider. Even when you’re signed up for the fastest speeds, the WiFi coverage in your home can impact the speeds of your devices. And that coverage is governed by your router. Follow these tips for setting up your router and banish buffering forever.
Router basics you need to know
A router is a device that transfers network information to connected devices so they can access the internet. It’s basically a traffic manager, directing packets of information to the correct devices in its network. It does this by assigning IP addresses, which are unique numbers that allow the router to identify each device and sort packets of information accurately.
Routers can be wireless or wired with Ethernet cables. Most households use wireless routers, and many are bundled with the modem into a single unit (sometimes called a gateway device).
Like computers, routers are governed by their hardware processors, storage capacity, and the software that runs them. A router using an older standard like WiFi 4 or 5 will be much slower than one with WiFi 6. The emerging WiFi 7 promises even faster speeds. If you have an old router, upgrading can significantly impact the coverage and speed you experience throughout your home.
WiFi router range can also be affected by where your router is located. Signals can be impeded by walls, furniture, microwaves, and even neighboring networks. Knowing where to place your router so it’s unimpeded is crucial to having good WiFi coverage in your home.
Best location for a home router
Your internet typically comes into your home through an outside wall, and it’s tempting to set your router there and call it a day. But this approach could leave you with many obstacles between the router and the devices it serves. To find the best place to put your router, consider the following:
- Central location: Avoid corners and remote rooms. Put your router in a hallway or main room where the signal won’t be obstructed.
- Open area: Stay away from walls, furniture, and appliances like microwaves. Even fish tanks and windows can impact your signal strength.
- Higher up: The router signal broadcasts down and out, so the higher you can put it, the better. Find a high shelf, mount it on the wall, or put it in your attic for the best signal.
Experiment with locations throughout your home to see where you get the best signal. Another option for improving WiFi coverage, particularly for multi-story homes, is a mesh network.
How a mesh network improves WiFi coverage
If you’ve placed your router in the most optimal location and are still suffering dead zones and slowdowns, consider adding a mesh network. Mesh networks place nodes or pods strategically throughout your home to extend the WiFi signal from the router, creating blanket coverage. The pods communicate with each other to optimize the signal and automatically switch devices to the best pod. With a mesh network, the signal reaches further into your house without degrading, so the gamer in your room above the garage will have the same speeds as the computer right next to the router.
Final tips for optimizing your router
Check your router settings regularly to make sure your firmware is updated. Updates can help improve security, speed, and coverage. And keep an eye on your WiFi channels. A WiFi analyzer tool can show you which channels are congested, and which ones are free and clear. Finally, consider upgrading to fiber internet to increase your internet speed and reliability. Quantum Fiber has multi-gig speeds up to 8 gig in some areas and 360 WiFiTM, a reliable mesh network solution that helps ensure WiFi connectivity throughout your home, no matter where your router is installed.
Content Disclaimer - All content is for informational purposes only, may require user’s additional research, and is provided “as is” without any warranty, condition of any kind (express or implied), or guarantee of outcome or results. Use of this content is at user’s own risk. All third-party company and product or service names referenced in this article are for identification purposes only and do not imply endorsement or affiliation with Quantum Fiber. If Quantum Fiber products and offerings are referenced in the content, they are accurate as of the date of issue. Quantum Fiber services are not available everywhere. Quantum Fiber service usually means 100% fiber-optic network to your location but, in limited circumstances, Quantum Fiber may need to deploy alternative technologies coupled with a non-fiber connection from a certain point (usually the curb) to your location in order to provide the advertised download speeds. ©2023 Q Fiber, LLC. All Rights Reserved. Quantum, Quantum Fiber and Quantum Fiber Internet are trademarks of Quantum Wireless LLC and used under license to Q Fiber, LLC.
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