Slow WIFI speeds

A lot of devices nowadays that connect to the internet are smaller and more portable. As you want to be able to use them in numerous locations, it means that they are typically enabled with the option to connection to a wireless network. Whether that be at home, if your office or even whilst eating your breakfast in McDonalds.

WIFI is taken for granted and as much as some people need to know, you just search for a suitable wireless network on your device, enter the requested wireless key and then you are online and up and running.

Did you know… A small patent used in WIFI today was originally created for a whole different purpose at the time. It was used in an experiment to detect exploding mini black holes the size of an atomic particle.

The standard
The IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) set the standards when it comes to this. This means that if a company was to create a router then it would have to use a standard so that all WIFI capable devices could connect to it.

They created the standard of 802.1.1 for WLAN (Wireless Local Area Networks).
When purchasing a router, you may see on the box that is says 802.1.1 and then mentions dual band or dual frequency. This refers to the fact that the WIFI signal can be transmitted either through a 2.4Ghz frequency or the 5Ghz frequency.

The idea behind having both these frequencies available is because the 5Ghz option will allow a faster speed of data transfer but there are limitations with that such as a short range so it is only suggested to use it whilst you are in the same room as the router. Also, a lot of network cards within the devices such as laptops do not have the latest hardware and so can only discover the 2.4Ghz option.
2.4Ghz has a larger range that it covers but the data speeds they send across can be slower in terms of speed.

There is also the factor that wireless networks are susceptible to interference. Lots of facts come into play that may cause issues such as a microwave, flashing Christmas lights, additional wireless devices and sometimes random things like an old TV or a treadmill.

There is also the factor that when you turn on a router, the channel that you are using to communicate on is typically set to “Auto” meaning that the router will do a quick check at that time and choose a channel of 1-13 to communicate on and send data back and forth to the router. Now if your neighbour is using the same channel then it means that there may become a build up in traffic on that channel and you may have to wait your turn to send/receive which will show itself as slow speeds or WIFI disconnections.

The best thing to do is to go into your router settings and change the wireless channel. You can access the router settings by going into its default gateway through a browser, typically with a 192.168.*.* number and then logging in with a default username (usually admin) and a password. Most routers have this information on a sticker on the router.

Then, if you have a smart phone, download an app called “WIFI Analyser”. It is a free app and it will do a scan and inform you of which channels in your area have the least amount of data traffic on and then in accordance, you can change your router channel to that number it suggests. This will certainly help in the first instance and then if necessary and you are trying to cover a large area, you can always introduce a wireless booster.

Wireless is great technology but it will never be as fast nor as stable as a cabled connection so if you have the opportunity to connect your device to a router using an Ethernet cable then this would be the recommended option.

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