| By Michael Lasky |
Over time, your home or office WiFi has probably lost some of the zip it had when you first set it up.
Interference from surrounding WiFi networks is one of the most-common causes of degrading wireless performance, but there are relatively simple steps you can take to get back that missing bandwidth.
Start with the simple, inexpensive cures
When I moved into my current home and set up a wireless network, my router broadcast a signal so strong I could browse the Internet in every room. That changed as neighbors and nearby businesses added their wireless networks. Many of these new networks subscribed to ATT’s uVerse for broadband, TV, and telephone, a service that included a powerful 802.11g wireless router. (To my knowledge, ATT was the only local Internet service provider that provided a wireless router.)
The combined interference from the many neighboring networks had a huge impact on my once-robust bandwidth — to the point where working on the Web was painful in any room but the one housing my router.
Fortunately, by following a few remedial steps, my WiFi is now faster than ever. The easiest and least-expensive fixes are well-known but often still overlooked. I’ll start with those.
- Move the router: Changing your router’s location can move it farther from both outside and inside interference, and it can let your WiFi signals move through interior walls more easily. I bought a 10-foot patch cable (about three bucks at Amazon.com) and moved my router away from the PC. That improved the signal considerably, but it was still not at its original strength.
- Change the channel: 802.11 b,g, and n routers can send out their signals on 11 different channels. Most routers default to channels 1, 6, and 11 because their frequencies have the widest separation from each other.