How to Upgrade Your Home Wi-Fi and Get Faster Internet

Most routers now use dual band technology, broadcasting at the 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequencies. If your router settings allow you, you might be able to prioritize one or the other for certain devices—the 5GHz band will get you a faster connection to the internet, though it has a shorter range than 2.4GHz.

4. Install an Extender

If messing around with your router settings seems too daunting, and you have a few dollars spare, invest in a Wi-Fi extender or repeater. These devices plug into a spare wall socket, connect to the wireless internet getting beamed out by your router, and then extend it further.

They’re simple to set up, easy to use, and can instantly get rid of Wi-Fi dead zones in your house. The extended or repeated wireless signals won’t be as strong as the ones coming straight from your router though, so again positioning is important—try and use these devices to connect up gadgets that don’t need a huge amount of bandwidth.

You’ve got plenty of options to pick from: take a look at the Linksys AC1900 or the Netgear EX7300, for example. Make sure the maximum supported Wi-Fi standard (e.g. 802.11ac) matches that of your router, so that you get as speedy a connection as possible.

5. Use Your Electrical Wiring

An alternative to extenders is a powerline kit—you might never have realized it, but digital signals can pass through electrical wiring, and powerline devices are designed to take advantage of this. Several manufacturers make powerline networking kits, including Netgear and TP-Link.

It works like this: You connect a powerline plug up to your router and then put the plug into a wall socket. Add another powerline plug in any other room in your house, and it can then provide a wired or wireless connection to that room. There will be some drop in speed, but it’s a simple and effective option.

Unless your home is particularly old, it should have electrical wiring that supports this, but it’s best to buy your kit from a retailer with a robust returns policy, just in case. As always, check out the reviews in advance of buying any kit, just in case any known incompatibility issues get flagged up.

6. Go Wired Instead

A wired connection to your router is usually preferable to a wireless one—it’s faster and more stable, and can’t be affected by other devices or large fish tanks. The downside is, of course, that it limits where your devices can be, and it’s less convenient overall.

If you’ve got a device that needs the fastest internet possible—a gaming console or an streaming box, for example—then you might consider putting in the time and effort to establish a wired connection directly from your router. The router will have a handful of Ethernet ports spare, so all you need is a cable.

To do a really tidy job and avoid having wires trailing across your floor, you’ll need to deploy some cable management (brackets to keep the Ethernet cable fixed to the walls, for example). For one or two gadgets, it can be worth the extra setup.

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