10 Ways To Improve Your WiFi Speed [Say Goodbye to Buffering]

Keelan Balderson
Keelan Balderson

Updated · Nov 11, 2022

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Wireless dead zones, the inability to stream, interrupted Zoom meetings, and browsing that’s slowed down to a crawl; A sluggish WiFi can be maddening in a world where most of us spend the majority of our time online.  

Luckily, there are plenty of tricks you can use to troubleshoot your network issues.

Here are the top 10 ways to improve your WiFi speed.

How to Improve Your WiFi Speed

To increase your WiFi speed:

  1. Reboot your router/modem.
  2. Adjust the router’s antenna or try a different location.
  3. Update your router firmware.
  4. Disconnect unnecessary devices.
  5. Change the Wi-Fi channel.
  6. Try a different frequency bandwidth.
  7. Control the bandwidth of applications.
  8. Get extenders for your Wi-Fi network.
  9. Upgrade your Internet plan.
  10. Get a new router.

10 Ways to Improve Your WiFi Speed

Let’s dive into the specifics.

1. Reboot Your Router/Modem (Power Cycle)

If you’re wondering how to make your WiFi faster, rebooting is the golden rule of any tech issue.

Restarting your model can occasionally improve slow speeds, fix connection problems, and most importantly improve wireless issues. Rebooting your router or wireless gateway will clear out its memory and give it a fresh start.

To reboot your router and/or modem:

  1. Unplug the cables from the modem.
  2. Wait for the model to fully power off. This may take 2-3 minutes. Leave the device unplugged for at least 30 seconds.
  3. Reconnect the power cables and the power.
  4. Wait for the Internet light to turn on and check if the Internet is working properly.

2. Adjust The Router’s Antenna Or Try a Different Location

The location of your router can affect WiFi speed. Ideally, the router should be placed in a central location to cover the signal as evenly as possible and at a certain height to utilize the antenna’s omnidirectional transmitting ability.

To maximize the signal’s strength and improve WiFi speed, it’s best to keep your antennas’ in a vertical position.

Also, keep in mind that  walls, furniture, and other objects can interfere with the WiFi signals. The closer you are to the router, the stronger the WiFi signal is.

If you’re looking to better understand how a router works, read our beginner-friendly guide on how to choose a router and how to boost its security.

3. Update Your Router Firmware

Router manufacturers are always improving software to squeeze out a bit more speed and improve Wi Fi functionality.

How hard– or how easy– it is to upgrade your router firmware depends on the device’s manufacturer and model.

Newer routers typically have the update process built into the administration interface. If you have one of those, you can update the firmware with the click of a button

Older models usually require a couple of extra steps:

  1. Visit the manufacturer’s website.
  2. Download the firmware file from the support page
  3. Upload the file to the administration interface.

For a more detailed approach, you can check out our thorough guide on how to flash a router.

4. Disconnect Unnecessary Devices

If you’re experiencing slow WiFi speeds, you may have too many devices connected to your WiFi network.

To improve WiFi performance, you might want to disconnect them from your network.

If that doesn’t fix the issue, you should consider looking outside of your home. Having an open network or a weak password might invite an unwanted guest or two. If your neighbor is downloading 4K videos while piggybacking on your network, your video chats and gaming sessions will suffer. 

In this case, improving home WiFi is just a matter of changing your password.

If you want to check who’s connected to your network, you can do that via the traffic analyzer on your router’s admin interface or with the help of apps like NETGEAR Genie, TP-Link Tether, or Xfinity xFI.

And while you're at it, you can also change the name of your Wi-Fi to confuse leechers.

Additionally, it's worth noting that being connected to a VPN will slow down your internet speed so make sure you disconnect it if you're not in need of it.

5. Change The WiFi Channel

If you’re wondering how to improve WiFi speed without having to disconnect any device from your network, you can try changing the WiFi channel.

If there’s nothing wrong with your WiFi device, the culprit for slow Internet speed is usually interference, especially for those who live in densely populated areas.

Most routers choose the channel for you but if a couple of the neighboring wireless networks are using the same channel, you’ll encounter signal congestion. 

Routers that are set to Automatic usually connect to the least congested channel, but older or cheaper devices might simply select a predefined channel, regardless of how many networks are using it.

Before you opt for a different channel, you should check whether the slow speeds are the result of a congested channel. If you’re using a Windows PC:

  1. Open the command prompt.
  2. Type “netsh wlan show all

This will show you a list of networks and the channels that are used in your vicinity.

If the Automatic setting isn’t working well for you, you can change it:

  1. Go to your router’s administrator interface.
  2. Select the basic wireless category.
  3. Select a channel manually.

6. Try a Different Frequency Bandwidth

If you bought a router that’s labeled as “dual-banded,” that means that your device offers both 2.4GHz and 5GHz support. The vast majority of routers that have hit the market in the last several years support both of these bands.

Picking the right band can help you to optimize WiFi performance. Which one is right for you depends on your distance from the router and the number of electronic devices you have in your house.

The 5GHz band provides better throughput. It’s faster and it’s less likely to encounter interference from other electronic devices because this frequency is not as commonly used.

On the other hand, a 2.4GHz band can handle obstruction better and its signal can reach much farther than a 5GHz one.

7. Control The Bandwidth Of Applications

Most modern routers come with Quality of Service (QoS) tools that let you control how much bandwidth your apps can use, which will increase WiFi speed.

For example, you can use these tools to prioritize video calls over file downloads. This way, your work calls on Zoom won’t drop just because you or someone else connected on the WiFi is downloading a big file from Dropbox. 

Some routers provide more space for personalization, like prioritizing different apps at specific times of the day, while others might have one-click settings, such as gaming settings, which will prioritize streaming.

You can typically find these under advanced settings in your network’s administration interface.

8. Get Extenders For Your Wi-Fi Network

If you live in a big house that a single router can’t cover or if your router needs to go around too many walls to reach you, you might consider getting range extenders.

Extenders act as repeaters and can significantly extend the range of your network. Instead of sending the signal directly to your device, your WiFi will send it to the extender, which will then rebroadcast it to your device. 

Your extender needs to be placed close to your existing router but also close to the area where you’re experiencing WiFi dead spots.

Some of the best Wi-Fi extenders can even help you create a mesh network so that you have a single, large, Wi-Fi network, rather than smaller separate ones.

However, the range extenders are an affordable solution that will improve WiFi speeds and the reach of your WiFi router.

9. Upgrade Your Internet Plan

If nothing you’ve tried seems to work, then it might be that your Internet plan doesn’t meet your connection demands, in which case the only thing you can do to improve WiFi speeds gets a better one.

Before you consider a new plan, do an Internet speed test to make sure it’s performing as it should. You should always do this by connecting your computer directly to the router via an Ethernet cable.

For reference, the global median internet connection speed is over 30 Mbps

If your bill matches the speed, but you still want faster WiFi at home, it might be time to reach out to your ISP and upgrade your plan.

If you happen to live in a rural area, make sure to check out our top picks for ISP options in rural areas.

10. Get a New Router

Getting the most out of your existing equipment is cost-effective, but making the tweaks we’ve outlined to improve Wi Fi speed will only get you so far.

If you bought your router years ago, it might be using the older, slower 802.11n standard. Older routers cap at fairly low bandwidth and some of them have short ranges. 

If your connection speed is still slow, you should consider getting a new router.

For those looking for a new router and an extra layer of protection, here are our top picks for the best VPN routers.

Bottom Line

If you want fast WiFi at home – regardless of whether you need it you should try some of these top 10 ways to improve your WiFi speed. Before you blame your WiFi, make sure you do an Internet speed test and check your router/model for any physical damage.

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Keelan Balderson

Keelan Balderson

A qualified journalist and longtime web content writer, Keelan has a passion for exploring information and learning new things. If he's not writing or pushing his own brands, you'll find him watching pro wrestling or trying not to rant about politics online.

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