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Kim's column

Sick of slow Wi-Fi? Move your router

For how important it is, it sure is easy to forget about your trusty router that works 24/7.

Routers are crucial to sending strong, reliable internet to your devices, but when’s the last time you made sure it’s locked down from hackers? Tap or click for five essential router security settings to keep hackers out of your network.

Maybe your router is so outdated it’s not even getting critical security updates. That’s dangerous. Tap or click for some of the best options out there based on the size of your home.

You can buy the best router on the market, but if it’s in the wrong place, your connection will suffer. It can be tricky to find the best spot. I’ve got your back. 

Remember how your router works

Your router creates a network and manages traffic between all the devices in a network. It delivers packets of data from one network to another. It does this through radio waves that transmit the internet to different Wi-Fi devices throughout your house.

When trying to pinpoint the perfect spot to place your router, think about the obstacles that could get in the way. Walls, ceilings, furniture, and other physical barriers can weaken your signal.

Try to map the path of least resistance. Instead of putting your router in a cluttered room full of furniture, try to put it in an open space. Avoid metal, brick, and concrete if you can; they can block Wi-Fi signals.

TECH SMARTS: When your internet goes down, you need to reboot your router correctly. It’s not as easy as unplugging it and plugging it right back in. Tap or click for the right way to get the job done.

Pinpoint your most important spot

The ideal router placement depends on where you need strong Wi-Fi coverage.

If you work from home and sit on video calls all day, your home office is a great option. One place you absolutely don’t want the router is in your basement or attic. Go with a central spot on the main floor of your home.

Speaking of video calls, tap or click for 11 Zoom tips that will turn you into a video meeting pro. Don’t be that person talking while muted!

Place it as high as possible

It’s better to put your router up high because radio waves usually spread the signal downward. Mount or place your router as high as you possibly can. Mounting on the wall works great, or you can put it on top of a high shelf or another out-of-the-way spot.

If your router has antennas, make sure they aren’t pointing in the same direction. Remember that your router is shooting waves to every device in your house. Tilt them at different angles so they can reach other areas.

This isn’t an exact science; you don’t have to stop and think about precise placements.

SECURITY 101: Free check to see if criminals have hacked your router.

Keep it away from other electronics

Different devices emit unique waves that might interfere with one another. Keep your router a few feet away from other devices, including TVs, kitchen appliances, cordless phones, and Bluetooth-enabled devices.

You really need to keep your router far away from the microwave. It emits a 2.4GHz signal.

Now that your router is in the right spot, you should be cooking. If you’re still struggling with slow Wi-Fi, I have a few more things you can try. Tap or click for the best ways to fix your Wi-Fi problems.

Bonus Tip: Cyberstalking 101: How to stop online abuse

Check out my podcast “Kim Komando Explains” on Apple, Google Podcasts, or your favorite podcast player.

Online harassment victimizes 40% of Americans. Cyberstalking can happen to anyone — and it can damage every aspect of your life, from your friendships to your future career. In this episode, I sit down with cybersecurity expert Ricoh Danielson to create a defense strategy you can use to protect yourself from online abuse.

Listen to the podcast here or wherever you get your podcasts. Just search for my last name, “Komando.”

What digital lifestyle questions do you have? Call Kim’s national radio show and tap or click here to find it on your local radio station. You can listen to or watch The Kim Komando Show on your phone, tablet, television, or computer. Or tap or click here for Kim’s free podcasts.

Ask me your digital question!

Navigating the digital world can be intimidating and sometimes downright daunting. Let me help! Reach out today to ask your digital question. You might even be on my show!

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