Slow Wi-Fi is the worst. Your email won’t refresh. Your movie freezes mid-scene. Your new app is stuck in downloading limbo. You see that apologetic little message about how your browser “timed out” and you should “try again later.” Gee, thanks for that.
Many people just wait. Wi-Fi is moody, they think. Just give it time.
Often, the issues linger for days, even weeks. In this case, the culprit could be the router itself. If you have not updated the firmware in your router, hopefully a hacker hasn’t taken root. Attacks using routers are on the rise. Don’t let your router be one of them. Click here to take this crucial step now.
Then, try these three simple tweaks to stop the buffering.
Before you begin
First off, you have to get into your router’s “administration console.” This step may sound intimidating, but the console is where you manage your router’s settings. You find this console using your computer, tablet or phone.
Here’s how to get in: Make sure your device is connected to your router, either wired or wirelessly. Open a web browser and type in the router’s IP address. Common ones look like 192.168.1.1, or 192.168.0.1, or 192.168.2.1.
Where do you find your IP address? Click here for a site that conveniently lists IP addresses for almost all router makes and models.
Once you have that number, type the router’s IP address into the browser. You’ll be prompted for a username and password. If you have not changed the default credentials, I suggest you do that now. Someone nearby may be using your router without your permission and this might explain why your connection has been slow. Click here to learn how to change the login and password on your router.
Look for a section called “Wireless Settings” or “Advanced Wireless Settings.” Here’s where the magic happens.
1. Check your bands
Wi-Fi routers come in all varieties, and their signals vary. A new router should at least support 802.11n, also known as “N routers.” These devices are theoretically capable of speeds up to 600 Mbps, which is much faster than older 802.11g models and should keep up with your internet needs.
The past few years, a newer protocol, 802.11ac, which is even faster, has become the standard. AC routers have theoretical speeds of up to 4.5 Gbps and have newer technologies like beamforming and the utilization of eight streams, a significant step up from N routers.
Soon, an even newer protocol called 802.11ad, or WiGig, will be standard. WiGig is capable of theoretical speeds of up to 8 Gbps and can operate in the higher 60GHz band. In fact, 801.11ad/WiGig routers have started to hit the market.
Speaking of bands, newer routers usually have multiple band capabilities. By utilizing dual or even triple bands, you can keep older devices that only support the slower G specification on the 2.4GHz band and newer N or AC devices on the beefier and speedier 5GHz band.
This is essentially like having multiple routers in one. Click here to see how setting up separate Wi-Fi bands for your gadgets can boost your speeds.
It’s a good idea to separate G, N and AC gadgets since mixed mode routers usually are slower and the 2.4 GHz band used by G gadgets is congested. Some AC routers even have triple bands that let you separate G, N and AC gadgets on your network.
Knowing all this, if your router is a few years old, it’s probably time to buy a new one. Click here to check out the best routers you can buy right now.