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When you cut the cord, your Wi-Fi connection becomes as important to your entertainment needs as your streaming subscriptions. The speed and availability of your internet connection can be the difference between enjoying your favorite show or spending the afternoon mumbling curse words at your computer. This is why we’ve put together some basic Wi-Fi and router hacks that may help you stop buffering and start relaxing.
If you’re trying to run three computers, two laptops, four phones, and all of your Bluetooth devices with a router that belongs in the paleolithic era, then you’ve found your problem. The more efficient your router is, the better the signal is going to be. It’s really that simple. This doesn’t mean that you need a $300 commercial router, but make sure that the model you choose has the ability to keep up with your internet needs.
Parents with teenagers already understand just how connected kids are nowadays. Between phones, tablets, and personal laptops, your Wi-Fi is working overtime. When too many devices are demanding access to your personal network, it’s going to slow things down. The same can be said for innocuous IoT appliances and technology. Try creating a separate network for the other people who live in your home, and prioritizing your device. Some internet services allow this. Otherwise, you may just have to choose a “blackout” time when you need to have the internet all to yourself.
Most routers have to be installed, and this means that their software needs to be updated periodically. If you have a router that’s been doing a fantastic job and suddenly starts slowing down, check the brand’s website for updates and see if this fixes the issue. It’s also important to keep up with software updates on your home devices. This can improve connectivity and stops those pesky pop-up reminders that annoy everyone and disrupt your streaming.
When in doubt, hop on your primary home computer and try clicking on the troubleshooting option that’s available. This can help you test your connection, check the router function, and figure out where the problem is. Even if it doesn’t fix it, this can at least give you some idea of what you need to focus on. It’s also beneficial to check out the FAQs or troubleshooting section of your router or internet provider’s website.
It’s safe to assume that if you place your router in a room far from your devices and put a couple of walls between yourself and the signal, it’s not going to work correctly. Your router is going to be directly connected to the internet feed. This is the same whether you’re dealing with satellite internet, broadband, or a more advanced system. When you have your internet hooked up, make sure that it’s being placed in a central location close to where you’ll be using the internet the most. It helps if it’s up relatively high and doesn’t have anything directly in front of it. Avoid placing it next to mirrors, metal surfaces, concrete walls, and microwave ovens. Most routers get tucked in the corner of a room, but finding a more open area can help improve weak signals. Most wireless routers can send a signal for 150ft indoors and about 300ft outdoors without obstructions. If you have a larger home, then you may want to look into a wireless repeater. This is a small device that can extend your signal.
When all else fails, try unhooking the router and rebooting the entire system. Sometimes this can help eliminate the problem. Most of us think of it as a mysterious method akin to kicking the car when it doesn’t start. There’s some science behind the router thing, though. Rebooting the router allows it to refresh the connection and to run correctly. However, this doesn’t actually solve systemic issues, and the problem will probably come back later.
If the obvious fixes aren’t working, it may be time to check your network’s security. You need to make sure that you have your internet connection set to “closed” and protected with a unique password. Change this about once a month to make it harder for hackers (or really inconsiderate neighbors) to gain access. If the problems continue, call you internet provider or visit your online account to check for devices that are tapping into your internet without your permission.
Then, there’s always the embarrassingly obvious fixes that all of us are guilty of missing from time to time. If you’ve ever been desperately searching for your phone while talking on it, then you understand. Make sure everything is plugged in, hooked up correctly, and that you’re attempting to access the right channel (check your service provider and router for this).
If you’ve ever experienced a unique connection problem, have any tips, or additional questions, feel free to share them with the NoCable community below! Subscribe to our newsletter for more great info on all things cord cutting.
Patricia Howard is a freelance journalist and Netflix enthusiast from rural Indiana. She has a bachelor's degree in communication with a concentration in journalism. When Patricia isn't writing, she enjoys catching up on her favorite shows with her husband and seven children.
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