Get the most out of your wireless connection by reducing electronic interference in your home, making sure your modem is functioning properly and by placing your modem in the best possible location.
Normal stuff you find in your home can interfere with your wireless signal. Interference is the most common cause of weak or dropped wireless connections.
Many common household devices can interfere with the strength of your wireless connection.
Examples: Cordless phones (2.4 GHz), cell phones, Bluetooth devices, televisions, dimmer switches, fans, fluorescent lights, copy machines, microwaves, treadmills, wireless surveillance systems, wireless speakers, wireless baby monitors, motion detector lights, garage door openers
Try turning off (and unplugging) electronic devices in your home. If that solves the problem (but you still need to use the devices), try moving your modem so it and the other devices aren't in the same line of sight. In some cases, you may need to separate devices by as much as 5 to 10 feet before you see consistent improvement.
If you live in an apartment complex, or other similar dwelling, it's possible to pick up interference from nearby networks. If that's what happening in your situation, changing your modem's channel might solve the problem. Many wireless networks operate on channel 6, but channels 1 through 11 are available.
Once you've made the necessary changes, restart your computer to see if your connection is strong and steady. If it's not, try adjusting your device's setup or relocating your modem.
Adjust your device setup
Out-of-date equipment and improperly installed software can impact your surfing speed and pleasure.
- Firmware upgrade -- A modem's network drivers and firmware can become old and obsolete. Check if there's an update for your device and then download the required software. (If your device is not listed, go to the device manufacturer's website.)
- Faulty modem -- Sometimes modems simply fail. If you're at wits end for what to do to improve your wireless performance, chat with us.
- Software glitch -- It's possible that a recent system upgrade, patch or other software fix may not be working as advertised. Sometimes new releases are a little "buggie" and cause unexpected problems. If you've recently upgraded your system, try uninstalling the software and/or visiting the vendor's website to see if others are experiencing similar issues.
When in doubt, relocate
Like they say in the real estate world, location matters. Sometimes simply changing where you put your modem solves the problem.
- Let it breathe — Depending on the brand, your modem has little vents on the top, bottom and sides. Those vents are there so the modem can get air. Help it out by placing it on a desk (or similarly hard surface) and make sure there are a few inches between it and the wall.
- Keep it cool — Electronics don't like to be overheated. Keep them out of direct sunshine, away from radiators and separated from other electronics.
- Change the scenery — Move things around so wireless signals don't have to pass through dense stuff like brick and metal.
- Higher is better — Finding a place for your modem that's higher up (e.g., bookcase, shelf, upstairs), gets you better coverage. Places that are centrally located are even better.
- Move 'em closer — While they need breathing space of a few inches, ideally, your modem and computer shouldn't be separated by more than a few feet. Also, pay attention to how far away your computer is from the modem. Your wireless network only extends so far. When you're on the periphery, the signal starts getting weak and can be intermittent. If you need to boost your signal range, consider installing a wireless repeater.
Tip: Physical barriers such as brick, walls, water, metal, reflective surfaces, windows and furniture can prevent wireless signals from effortlessly traveling back-and-forth between your modem and computer. Wireless signals need to be able to pass through stuff. If they can't, you end up with intermittent (or no) signal. To improve connectivity, try moving your modem (or the physical barrier). You may need to try a few locations to figure out what consistently works.
Did you know?
Cordless phones and microwaves can wreck havoc on wireless signals.
If you have a cordless phone, try unplugging the base and remove the handset battery. Now, see if your wireless network connection is stable. Sometimes, though they seem to be working just fine, cordless phones can be out of spec and not play nice with other electronic devices. If the problem continues, refer to your phone's user guide for troubleshooting ideas.
If your cordless phone isn't the source of the trouble, maybe the problem's -- in your kitchen. Next time your network connection drops, pay attention. Are you within a few feet of a running microwave? If so, put some distance between it, you, your computer and/or your modem.