Improving Wireless Connectivity
Wireless connectivity issues are the most common support questions we get. Many people think they have a slow internet connection, when what they really have is a slow wireless connection. Here are some tips on improving wireless connections…
First step is to determine your internet connection speed from a computer hard-wired via Ethernet. You will need a computer with an Ethernet port, plus an Ethernet cable. Attach your computer to any available Ethernet port on your router then run a speedtest. Perform this test when there is no other traffic on your network.
Some computers do not have Ethernet ports, and at least one router (Apple Airport Express) does not have an Ethernet LAN port. If this is the case for you, you can query the actual connection speed of your modem or router by one of the following methods:
- • Query the DSL modem or router directly. If you are using one of the SmartRG routers we provide, look here.
- • Use the PHLO+ Dashboard to monitor your connection speed.
Keep in mind that the modem sync rate is always going to be 10-15% faster than what any speed test website will show.
Now that you know what speeds are possible, try running the speedtest from a wireless-connected computer (preferably the same one used before), and see what the difference is. If the results are more than 25% slower, your wireless is slower than it should be. Here’s what you can do about it (listed in estimated order of effectiveness):
- Connect via Ethernet. A wired network connection will always be the fastest and most reliable network connection. If you have stationary devices, such as desktop computers, smart TVs or streaming media devices (Roku, AppleTV, etc), connect them to your router with an Ethernet cable. This is especially true if you like streaming movies to your TV. Streaming media smoothly takes a consistent network connection, which is often not the case with wireless. It may involve an initial investment to have an Ethernet line installed, but once you do you never have to worry about it. If you would like a reference for a local wiring contractor, let us know.
- Add an access point. An access point connects to your existing router via Ethernet, and will amplify the wireless signal. Modern access points support dual-band wifi networks, and are generally stronger than the built-in wireless signals of the DSL modem/router. If the access point can be placed in a central location you will have the best luck in covering all parts of your home. LMi.net offers our Always-On-WiFi service if you would like us to install and guarantee complete wireless coverage everywhere in your house.
- Use a Powerline Bridge. NetGear makes a line of devices that can transmit Ethernet connections over the electrical wiring in your house. You attach one unit to your router via Ethernet, and also into a nearby AC outlet. Use the second device in another room, which can be an Ethernet connection, or a wireless access point. LMi.net does not provide technical support for these products, but many of our customers have used them with success.
- Upgrade your router. Sometimes just getting a stronger wireless router can help. Today’s top end routers support 5Ghz transmission frequency (most routers use 2.4Ghz), as well as the latest 802.11ac wireless networking standard. These routers general sell in to $100+ range. LMi.net usually has dual-band routers in stock – ask us if you are interested.
- Use a wireless repeater. If you can’t use one of the above methods, you can get a device that picks up the wireless signal, and then re-tranmits it. This works well in situations where the repeater can be placed between where the main router is and the location where you want connectivity. You need to pick a spot that does already get a reasonably strong signal to place the repeater. LMi.net sells the SmartRG WE65ac Extender if you want to get one from us.
- Change your wireless channel. Sometime there can be intererence with other wireless networks in your immediate proximity. You can sometime get improved results by just switching to a less congested channel. See this posting for details.