6 Tips for Optimizing Your Home Wi-Fi for Increased Work/School Demands

The pandemic has changed how we live, work and interact with each other, and no one knows exactly when things may get back to a semblance of “normal.” While families made the best of things and enjoyed some extra time together this summer, the beginning of a new school year is also bringing new challenges.

For home Wi-Fi networks, having families working and going to school remotely from home means more demand on bandwidth. One slowdown or interrupted connection can bring an entire household to a halt asking, “What’s wrong with the Wi-Fi?”

People tend to take technology for granted until it’s not working properly. We just assume that our internet and router security is going to be okay and that it will just work as it should without any problems… until it doesn’t.

If the extra demand has caused your Wi-Fi to slow down or you’re worried about the security of your business computer, we have several tips you can use for optimizing your home wireless network that can help it keep up with the increased traffic.

1. Update Your Router Firmware

We get messages on our computers to let us know when there’s an update waiting for the operating system or an application, but you’re not going to know your router needs updating unless you login to check.

Many people never log back into their router after they first set it up. This is problematic for two reasons:

  • They don’t apply critical security updates, so they’re more at risk of a breach
  • Their router doesn’t get needed updates that help it stay optimized

Updating your router’s firmware can mean applying feature updates that improve performance as well patching any security vulnerabilities.

2. Check with Your ISP to See if You Need a Modem Upgrade

Internet service providers are often updating their infrastructure and equipment to perform better. But unless you ask them, you may not realize you have an outdated modem that you can swap out for a faster model.

Call your ISP and ask if they can check your modem model to see if there’s a newer one available that can increase your speed and performance.

3. Place Routers High and Centrally Located

Sometimes the position of your router can be the main problem with getting good reception throughout your home.

You want to position your router centrally so it can reach the most devices with a clear signal. It’s also a good idea to place it as high as possible because things like solid, heavy furniture can interfere with the signal.

Other considerations are solid block walls which can cause a Wi-Fi to lose signal strength.

4. Use an Ethernet Cable Where Possible

The entire reason to use a Wi-Fi router is to make it easy to get online without a hard connection. However, if you happen to use a workstation that is close enough to your modem to connect to it through a wired ethernet cable it can mean a blazing fast connection and one less device fighting for the Wi-Fi bandwidth.

5. Use Dual Networks to Handle Traffic

Many routers will have two frequency bands, and if you know which one to use for which devices, you can optimize Wi-Fi connections for all of them. You first want to check your router and make sure both networks are enabled.

  • 2.4GHz band: Usually the slower of the two, but it handles long distances better. Use this for devices farthest from the router. It’s also typically used for IoT and mobile devices.
  • 5.0GHz band: This one has less range than the 2.4, but it’s faster. So, if your home office isn’t too far from the Wi-Fi router, using this network can deliver more speed and less congestion.

6. Use the Quality of Service (QoS) Setting

The QoS setting on a router is not one that many people know is there. What it does is let you prioritize which applications get to the head of the line when it comes to bandwidth.

For example, if you’re required to use Zoom daily for work while working remotely at home, you can avoid your teen’s Age of Empires game play slowing down your video conference by telling your router Zoom has priority.

When you log into your router, you want to look for a setting called “QoS Priority Rule List” or something similar. This will allow you to set up rules that designate which applications get the highest priority when it comes to your network bandwidth.

Here’s an example of how this works on NETGEAR routers.

Keep Your Home Network Safe and Optimized by Working with Cleartech Group

Is your family struggling with slow internet due to the increased demand? Cleartech Group can help you with QoS setup and other optimizations that keep your home network fast, secure, and reliable.

Contact us today to discuss your home network needs! Call us to chat at 978-466-1938 or reach out online.