7 ways to maximize your Wi-Fi network

When everyone’s home, a few tweaks here and there can make a difference

Mother working from home while holding toddler, family in background

With everyone in the household converging online – for work, school, entertainment, and connection – the demands on your network have likely never been greater. Having several devices online at once can take a toll on your home internet connection’s speed.

Oftentimes when you experience slower speeds, it’s the Wi-Fi in your home. Here are a few simple steps to help your network meet your needs.

1. Do a speed test

A speed test establishes your network’s base functionality line. Viasat customers can get the best results with speedcheck.viasat.com. It will give your more diagnostics than standard tests, including Wi-Fi quality. Run tests in home locations where internet is most commonly used.

If your test indicates you have “good Wi-Fi” at the location where you want to use the Internet, you’re all set; there’s no need to proceed with the tips below.

2. Check your router’s location

If your router is in a closet or cabinet or otherwise obstructed, its signals likely aren’t dispersing to maximum effect. Place it in an open, ideally central spot in your home – as high as you can get it. You may need to get a longer ethernet cable if the modem isn’t movable, but it may well be worth the effort.

3. Hardwire if Wi-Fi is a problem

The best way to get good speeds is to be close to the router. If you can, switch from wireless and connect via an Ethernet cable. This won’t work with things like phones or tablets of course, but for a laptop or desktop that doesn’t move much, it can be a great solution.

4. Consider switching bands

Wireless network equipment mostly uses radio signals in 2.4 GHz band or 5 GHz band. If you want a better and a longer range for your devices, use 2.4 GHz. If you need higher speed and could sacrifice for range, the 5GHz band should be used.

5. Use less crowded Wi-Fi channels

Your wireless router connects to your devices using a signal with a limited number of channels, and can suffer interference from an adjacent Wi-Fi network.

Free tools like Network Analyzer Lite, Wi-Fi Analyzer, Wi-Fi Stumbler, or NetSpot can show if your channels overlap with someone else’s.

6. Disable other wireless ‘zombies’

Wireless printers, TVs, Rokus and other devices already connected by Ethernet may be broadcasting a Wi-Fi signal for no benefit, causing unneeded congestion.

Check the settings on devices connected via Ethernet and turn their Wi-Fi to “off” or “disabled.”

7. Add additional access points

If none of these changes make a significant difference, add one or two access points to an existing router. Investing in a mesh routing system isn’t a bad choice either, but it can be tougher to install and get right.