New Holiday Devices? Time to Adjust Home Wi-Fi
by Leslie Meredith, TechNewsDaily Senior Writer
December 30 2011 04:25 PM ET
New holiday devices can quickly overload home Wi-Fi and slow browsing to a crawl.
CREDIT: Securedge Networks
If you received new Wi-Fi connected devices for Christmas, it may be time to adjust your wireless router. When more devices are battling for their share of a single Wi-Fi signal, the Internet can get really slow.
Playing online video games often uses a big piece of household bandwidth. You may notice that while someone is off playing "Call of Duty," your Netflix movie stutters and stops. Short of adding a second line of service, you can make adjustments to the current router to improve reception.
- Give all of the devices in your home equal access to the router by placing it in the center of the house. Main floors are usually the best place for the router. Keep it off the floor and away from metal surfaces and outside walls.
- Put the router next to big, stationery Internet-connected items like a smart TV and gaming console. Connect the Wi-Fi hog and the router with a cable, leaving more of the wireless for portable devices.
- Change the router's setting from multi-mode (g/n) to n only. iPad 2 users reported increases in download speeds from less than 1 Mbps to 16 Mbps by making this switch. New devices will be Wi-Fi "n" compatible, but if you also have older devices that run on previous "b" and "g" standards, look for a QoS (quality of standard) or MMS (multi-media services) setting in your router's setup menu that will offer the faster speed for your new devices and still work with the older ones. Check the owner's manual for your router model for specific directions.
- Add a wireless repeater halfway between your router and your furthest device. For instance, place a repeater at the bottom of the stairs leading to a basement media room or at the top of stairs leading to second-floor bedrooms.
If you're still struggling with slow connections " href="/cms/articles/3550-app-lets-ipad-users-paint-time">slow connections because of too many devices, consider upgrading to a high-bandwidth router. Save your old router and use it as a repeater.
Also, check with your service provider to see if there are limits on the number of devices that can feed off one router. Clearwire caps its service at eight devices, which could quickly become insufficient for a connected family and require some schedule juggling.