7 Tips to Get Better Wi-Fi Performance for Working Remotely
With home-working becoming the mandatory norm for a lot of us in this unfortunate global climate, people are finding themselves struggling due to poor Wi-Fi performance. We’re placing (probably) unprecedented demands on our home Wi-Fi: in one household alone there could be two or more people running remote meetings and accessing VPNs; kids streaming school lessons or accessing learning material; and everyone using the Internet for online gaming, watching TV series, or using YouTube for home workout videos. Compared to the usual evening-only spike in demand for download speeds, this is a lot for a home system to handle.
Whilst there may be some factors that are out of our hands, such as ISP (internet service provider) issues, there are some simple steps to take to make the most your home network and get the best possible performance.
So here are our 7 top tips for improving WiFi performance while working from home:
1. Before doing anything, test your current download speed to get your baseline. Go to your ISP’s website and run a speed test using their tools. Failing that, you can use Google’s inbuilt speed test by simply Googling ‘speed test’. For two people working from home we recommend a minimum of 10Mbps.
2. Ensure that your home router is as physically high as possible and not obstructed by furniture or electrical appliances as this can interfere with Wi-Fi signal.
3. The external antenna on your router must be facing in the same position – we recommend pointing directly upwards.
4. Try to set up your workspace with your router in mind if you are using a Wi-Fi connection. Walls and other solid material degrade the signal and will cause a slower speed, so move your router close to where you work (where possible), or try to limit obstructions. Run another test to see if you’ve improved your download speeds simply by improving the signal strength from your router to your devices.
5. If signal is still poor, your ISP may be having an issue. Plug an ethernet cable from the router directly into your laptop and run another speed test. This will tell you if your connection into the home is strong, and where the signal degradation is happening.
6. A quick resolution if you are having issues here is to turn your home router off, wait 20 seconds, then turn it back on. Classic, right? Restarting a router (like a PC) clears its RAM cache. This can fill up if turned on for too long and will cause the network to run slower. If a connection is lost between it and the exchange, restarting the router reinitiates the authentication to the session. If, after turning your route off and on again, performance does not improve then it is likely that your ISP is having problems – more than likely due to the high demand put on them from a surge in home workers.
7. Wi-Fi calling is a great feature for anyone living in places with patchy or inconsistent cellular coverage. It enables you to have voice calls from your mobile through your Wi-Fi. Not all carriers offer this functionality, but if they do it could be a lifesaver for many of us living in more remote areas. You don’t need to pay anything extra, it’s all set up through your mobile settings. If you’d like guidance on how to enable Wi-Fi calling look here for iOS and here for Android.
Bonus tip for advanced users…
Use an app on your phone to check which Wi-Fi channel your home router is on and compare it with your neighbours’. If they are on the same channel, interference will increase. By default, a lot of manufacturers place their routers on channel 36 on the 5GHz band – change this to 44. On 2.4GHz, try changing this to 11 (or stick to either 1, 6, or 11).