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These days, access to a reliable Wi-Fi signal can feel as crucial as having basic electricity or plumbing. In fact, a recent study conducted by Kelton Research and commissioned by Google found that 28 percent of people don’t think they could last a single day without Wi-Fi. But in that same study, a whopping 81 percent of people said they have experienced issues with their Wi-Fi at home. So why is something so essential considered such a hassle?
Luckily, there are some simple strategies to maximize your home Wi-Fi network to avoid slow loading times or grumbling when you’re trying to get online. Here are a few tips for making the most out of your Wi-Fi.
Place your router as centrally as possible.
Wi-Fi signals get weaker the farther away you go from your router, so if you keep your router by the front door, your videos might load more slowly if you’re trying to watch them by the back door. So if you can, place your router as centrally as possible within your home, though this may not always be possible depending on where your internet provider brings in the connection. And if you don’t mind your router sitting on the counter top, keep it out in the open. If you can avoid hiding it by a bookcase or filing cabinet, you can really help boost your Wi-Fi signal.
Consider a mesh network.
A mesh network is a group of routers that wirelessly communicate with each other to create a single, connected Wi-Fi network over a large area. It allows you to have multiple sources of powerful Wi-Fi throughout your home, not just one from the main router. Having a mesh network solves the problem of having the router just relegated to a corner in the house. We created Google Wifi as a mesh system because having multiple points work together to create a seamless single network provides consistently strong coverage for all connected devices in every room of the house.
Make sure your router is up to date.
If your existing router is more than three or four years old, check to make sure it supports 5GHz Wi-Fi signals. Some older routers only support 2.4GHz signals, which can make your devices much slower. Think of it as having a car that isn’t fast enough to drive on the freeway. Upgrade your router to at least an 802.11ac system so you can also use 5GHz frequencies, which are like the autobahn of Wi-Fi. (There are more lanes, and higher speed limits.)
Always, always make your network password-protected.
Having an “open network” without a password might seem convenient, since there’s no need to remember a complicated password. But if you do that, anyone even driving by your home could join your Wi-Fi network and compromise your network, devices and data by accessing your drives or slowing down your network. Choose a strong password that’s tough for anyone to guess, but easy for you to remember.
Create a separate Wi-Fi network for guests.
If you have kids at home, or just get a lot of guests, chances are you’ve handed out your Wi-Fi password a lot. Setting up a guest network creates a second Wi-Fi network in your home so your guests can have a great experience while your own devices stay secure and private.