With these tips you can do something about that.
Modem and router
No Internet without a modem and router.
- A modem translates the signal your operator injects through cable, ADSL or fibre into a signal that your PC, smart TV etc. can read, thus ensuring the Internet connection.
- The modem transmits the Internet signal to the router which distributes that signal across different devices.
The modem and router functionalities are often combined in one single device.
Place your modem (which generally also includes the Wi-Fi router) in the best spot.
The best spot is:
- Central: the further away you are from the transmitter, the weaker the signal;
- As high as possible;
- Away from obstacles: the signal circulates better when the modem is situated on a cleared spot. The walls and doors are also obstacles between you and the modem that transmits the Wi-Fi signal;
- Away from other specific devices: electronic equipment operating on radio signals, such as baby alarms, weather stations, cordless telephones ..., can interfere with your Wi-Fi signal. Make sure there is a minimum distance of 30 cm between such equipment and your modem. Better still: switch them off if you use the Wi-Fi connection.
Change the frequency band
Another Wi-Fi channel can result in a bigger Internet range. Three frequency bands are currently available to transmit Wi-Fi signals:
- 2.4 GHz (2400-2483.5 MHz): this frequency band is used a lot, so that there is much traffic on this network. This sometimes results in a slower connection. By contrast this band has the advantage that the signals travel further and penetrate obstacles such as walls, floors ... more easily;
- 5.0 GHz (5150-5350 MHz and 5470-5725 MHz): in general this network is more stable because there is less interference from other equipment. Considering the available bandwidth this band allows for a much bigger capacity compared to the 2.4 GHz. This band is supported by most, but not all receivers. Moreover, this frequency band has the disadvantage that the distance the signals can travel is smaller than in the 2.4 GHz band. The higher the frequency band, the more difficult it is for signals to penetrate through obstacles;
- 6 GHz (5945-6425 MHz): This frequency band provides a higher bitrate, a shorter response time and better management of the connections in case of a high density of users, as for public hotspots. To fully benefit from its use, compatible equipment is required however. (more information)
Change the Wi-Fi channel
Wi-Fi routers distribute the signal across various devices. In principle they automatically select a channel for the Wi-Fi network. However, you can improve the Wi-Fi signal by selecting a channel manually, e.g. if the neighbours are using the same channel (which could interfere with your connection).
The 2.4 GHz frequency band has 13 channels with a bandwidth of 20 MHz. Choose another channel in case of interference.
The 5 GHz frequency band has 23 channels with a bandwidth of 20 MHz. The channels above 5.47 GHz (with numbers starting from 100) are the most powerful, but they are not suited for all types of equipment. These channels can be combined in order to obtain 160 MHz (two channels of 160 MHz maximum as this frequency band is divided into different sections).
The new 6 GHz band is divided into seven channels with a bandwidth of 160 MHz and 14 more traditional 80 MHz channels. Here compatible devices (and routers) are required as well.
The available Wi-Fi channels can be scanned and measured with specific software, such as a “Wi-Fi Analyzer” for Android, or “inSSIDer” for Windows and “Network Analyzer” for iOS.
On your operator’s website an explanation is given on how to select a different Wi-Fi channel.
Could my equipment be the cause of the problem?
Older tablets, PCs, smartphones ... slow down your Wi-Fi connection. Avoid connecting your Wi-Fi to devices that are older than 5 years. Not only will the Wi-Fi work slower for this device, it also has an impact on the performance of other, more recent devices that use the Wi-Fi.
If you want to use older equipment anyway, do not connect it to the Wi-Fi, but use an Ethernet cable instead (at least Cat. 5 or 6). In any case an Ethernet cable will offer a faster and more reliable connection than Wi-Fi for any device.
Before buying new devices, you should also check whether they at least support the Wi-Fi 5 standard (802.11ac) and maximum the Wi-Fi 6 or 6E standard (802.11ax). The recent Wi-Fi 6E uses the same technology as Wi-Fi 6 but makes use of the 6 GHz band and allows for more broadband connections at the same time.
Attention: the Wi-Fi 6E frequency bands in Europe differ from those in the United States so always check whether the equipment is indeed suited for use in Europe before your purchase.
Do not simultaneously connect too many devices to the Wi-Fi either, in order not to overload the network; if necessary opt for “wired” Internet and use an Ethernet cable. If that is not possible, you can use an Ethernet adapter, which will then enable you to connect an Ethernet cable by way of a USB port.