KIM KOMANDO

5 common mistakes that are slowing down your Wi-Fi

Jan 15, 2023, 5:45 AM
(Pexels Photo)...
(Pexels Photo)
(Pexels Photo)

If only the calendar flipping over to a new year erased our tech problems. You can do a lot to make your digital life easier in 2023.

Start with clearing your inbox. You deserve to hit zero at least once. Tap or click for the quick way I do it.

Sick of tech companies invading your privacy? Take action! Apple, Google, Amazon, and Facebook always listen unless you change these settings.

You don’t need to struggle through yet another year of bad Wi-Fi. These simple, fixable mistakes might be the reason your connection stinks.

1. You let freeloaders use your network

Do you know exactly which devices are using your connection? If your Wi-Fi isn’t password protected, you need to fix that. Tap or click here for instructions on finding your router’s password and changing it.

Or your password is easy to guess, and someone is mooching your internet.

On a Windows PC, Wireless Network Watcher scans your network and shows you the IP address, MAC address, name and manufacturer of the computers, tablets and smartphones it detects on your network.

As soon as you boot up Wireless Network Watcher, you’ll see all the detected devices on the list. You should be able to recognize the connected devices. For example, you might see devices from Apple and Amazon Technologies when using an iPhone and Amazon Echo.

On a Mac, Who Is On My Wi-Fi will show you who’s accessing your Wi-Fi. You’ll have to do a little investigating to figure out some of the connected devices. Look for the description and manufacturers.

Don’t panic if you don’t recognize a device. Look around your house to see which appliances, TVs, tablets, laptops, and smartphones are accessing Wi-Fi.

Read through the list to make sure you recognize everything. You know somebody is connected without permission if you see devices you don’t recognize.

2. Your router is old or in the wrong place

Using a router that’s years old? It might be hamstringing your connection and putting your security at risk.

Choosing a new router is tricky, so I did the hard work for you. Check out my recommendations below.

● Best router on a budget for a small home.

Affordable option foramedium-sized home.

Best budget mesh system for medium and large homes.

Powerful mesh option for a lot of users in large homes.

There’s also the matter of where to put your router. Don’t stick it on the floor in a closet or far away from where most internet use happens.

Try to put your router near the center of the room to have the fastest speeds. It would be best if you also placed it as high as possible, on a shelf or even mounted on the wall. If your router has antennas, point them in different directions.

Other devices can impact your router, too. Keep it away from cordless phones, Bluetooth speakers, microwave ovens, and baby monitors.

3. You don’t pay for enough bandwidth

You may not require blazing internet speeds depending on how much you do at home. You’ll be OK with lower speeds if you’re streaming content on one device and primarily checking email and social media from your phone.

If your home is full of smart and connected devices, you need enough bandwidth to support them.

Here are some general guidelines to get started:

● If you only have a few devices connected to your Wi-Fi and use your network primarily for web browsing, a plan with 10 Mbps should be enough.
● If you watch many videos and download tons of media, 25 Mbps should be good for you.
● For lots of high-quality streaming and online gaming, you’ll need 100 Mbps or more.
● You’ll do well with 500 Mbps for simultaneous streaming, online gaming, and downloads on many devices.

Keep an eye on your data cap. Your ISP may throttle your speed or even charge you for exceeding the cap if you go over it.

4. You never change the channel

Moving to a different channel for your router is an easy tweak to up your speed. This step is beneficial if you’re tuned to that 2.4GHz frequency. Moving from one channel to a less crowded one may help speed things up.

Try using a Wi-Fi scanner to check the optimum 2.4GHz channel for your area or the least used channel.

For Macs, Apple provides the free tool Wireless Diagnostics. Hold the Option key while clicking on the Wi-Fi icon on the right-hand side of the menu bar, then choose Open Wireless Diagnostics.

For Windows, download NetSpot Wi-Fi Analyzer. Similar to the Mac’s Scan tool, this application will instantly give you information about the Wi-Fi signals in your area, including the channels they utilize.

Tap or click here for direct download links to more Wi-Fi analyzer apps for iPhone or Android.

5. Kids are downloading a bunch of gaming updates and videos

When you’re trying to join a video call for work, the last thing you want is your kid downloading a colossal game update in the next room. This eats up a lot of bandwidth, and you’ll both end up frustrated.

To make things run smoother, schedule updates and big downloads for 1 a.m. when everyone is asleep or should be.

Need help getting the kids on board with tech rules? I can help. Tap or click to download my Tech Contract for parents and kids to sign.

What digital lifestyle questions do you have? Call Kim’s national radio show and tap or click here to find it on your local radio station. You can listen to or watch The Kim Komando Show on your phone, tablet, television or computer. Or tap or click here for Kim’s free podcasts.

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5 common mistakes that are slowing down your Wi-Fi