How to Improve Wireless Broadband Speed

Today many people use wireless routers at home for convenient access to the internet without running cables all over the house. Most are unaware that wireless connections are much less reliable than wired connections and slow broadband may be caused by a problem at home rather than with the ISP service.

If you are using wireless broadband then it's worth trying to connect your PC to the router by network cable and run the speed test. If you find that your connection is faster on wire than on wireless then you have a problem that you should be able to fix without switching broadband.

Problem with Interference from Other Users

Wireless connections work on frequency bands called channels. One of the reasons that Wi-Fi is slow could be that the channel you are using is also being used by your neighbour's wireless router and causing interference. To find out what channel you and your neighbours are using download Netstumbler. {link to open in new tab}Use this simple free utility to see whether you are sharing the channel with other people. One thing to note is that channels are overlapping so it isn't good enough to simply use another channel. You should try to use a channel that has no overlap with your neighbours.

The graphic below shows that a channel can interfere with up to 8 other channels. For example, channel 6 interferes with channels 2 to 10. If your neighbour is using channel 6 you should choose 1 or 11.

Problems with Windows Configuration

Other problem with your wireless broadband might be that your wireless card on your PC may not be optimized for high speeds. The default settings in Microsoft Windows are not configured for higher network speeds (even Windows 8 default settings are not optimized for speed). To test and fix this use TCPOptimizer. Move the speed slider to your desired speed (the speed you expect to get from your ISP), change the radio button to optimal speed and press Apply. After the computer restarts you will notice the speed improvement.

Check that Your Wi-Fi is Not Being Used by Other People

It is very easy for people to use an insecure wireless Internet service without the knowledge of the owner. Apart from the obvious security risk (these users are now trusted members of your network) this usage will slow down the connection speed. An unprotected connection may lead to hacking that allows other users to find out your personal information, such as bank details.

Check your Wi-Fi network by visiting 'My Network Places'. There should be a picture of a padlock next to the name of your network. If this is absent then you need security. We recommend that you install Wi-Fi Protector. This is a free program that has many features that we recommend to keep you secure. The significant feature here is the easy to use analysis of your Wi-Fi security and also any other Wi-Fi connections that you use (coffee shops, airports etc.).

If you discover that your Wi-Fi is insecure then you should configure your router to use a secure password. A wireless encryption key is normally used to make hacking (the term used for someone gaining illegal access to a network) more difficult. Use WPA2-AES because this offers the best security.

Speedup Wireless Connection by Using a Better Aerial

If you are using Wi-Fi at home and experience speed problems then you should consider getting a better aerial. This is normally a few inches tall and is connected to your router. A longer aerial will improve the signal and increase the range of your Wi-Fi. Buying a longer aerial can increase the signal strength by 30-50%.

You can also think of using a wireless access point. This is an additional router that acts as a repeater to extend the reach of your wireless signal.

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