Does your Wi-Fi make your daily grind move in slow motion? Unreliable connectivity, poor signal strength and slow data transfer are a few signs that it’s time to take action. Get into the fast lane with our list of simple but effective ways to boost your Wi-Fi signal.

1. Move your router

Your router’s location could be weakening your Wi-Fi signal. You might be surprised by the objects in your home or office that can disrupt Wi-Fi performance: concrete walls, metal objects, wireless devices, and heavy-duty appliances, to name a few. 

Place your router in an open area away from any possible disruptors or obstructions, as well as in a centralized location to ensure an even spread of signal. You could also elevate the router above floor level, on a high shelf, to further boost your coverage. Another useful adjustment is to keep your router antenna pointing upwards.

2. Reboot your router

Routers are essentially mini-computers, complete with a motherboard, CPU, memory, local storage and software. Just like a computer, a router benefits from an occasional reboot, which clears short-term memory, resolves IP address conflicts, and keeps the overall system running smoothly. 

Some routers have built-in modems, where only one device needs to be plugged in for the reboot process. Other routers connect to a separate internet modem, so you will have two devices to unplug. 

To reboot your router:

  1. Unplug your router and modem.
  2. Wait at least 30 seconds.
  3. Plug your modem back into the power outlet first.
  4. Wait at least one minute.
  5. Plug your router back into the power outlet.
  6. Wait at least two minutes before using.

3. Check your frequency

Your router uses radio frequencies to transmit internet connection to your wireless devices.  If you have a dual-band or tri-band Wi-Fi router, consider switching to the 5GHz frequency rather than 2.4 GHz to speed up your Wi-Fi.

With 5GHz, you’re guaranteed to have a faster Wi-Fi experience as well as less interference from other networks and devices. However, there is one drawback to switching to 5GHz, since it doesn't have a very far reach. In larger spaces, or those with more solid objects, 2.4 GHz frequency may be best.

To switch your router to 5GHz:

  1. Login with the admin username and password.
  2. Select Settings.
  3. Select Wireless Settings.
  4. Switch the 802.11 band from 2.4 GHz to 5 GHz.
  5. Select Apply.
  6. Restart your router to lock in the new settings.

4. Update your router

When did you last update your router? Updating to the newest firmware available can significantly improve Wi-Fi signal. You will need specific information such as the IP address, and the admin username and password, all of which are usually on a sticker on the router. 

To update your router’s firmware: 

  1. Open a browser and connect to your router’s network.
  2. Enter the router’s IP address in the browser’s search bar.
  3. Log in with the admin username and password.
  4. Select Firmware Update or Router Update.
  5. Wait for the router to install the new firmware.
  6. Make sure not to disconnect the router or interrupt the update.

If your router is an older model, you may not be able to update as easily. Instead, you’ll need to go to the manufacturer's website, download a firmware file from the support page, and upload it to the administration interface.

5. Change your wi-fi channel

Routers have several channels from which they can broadcast Wi-Fi signals. Many routers automatically select a default channel for you. Not to be mistaken with frequencies, channels can easily become congested if too many neighbouring networks are using the same default channel. Clearing up this signal congestion can speed up your Wi-Fi. 

If you’re on the 2.4GHz band, we recommend sticking to channels 1, 6 and 11 because they don’t overlap with other channels. The 5GHz band usually uses non-overlapping channels. 

To switch to a less congested Wi-Fi channel: 

  1. Sign on to your router as Admin.
  2. Select Settings.
  3. Select Wireless Settings.
  4. Go to Channel.
  5. Select a new channel to try out.
  6. Save the new settings.
  7. Wait for your router to restart.

Check in periodically and consider switching channels again, since channel congestion can change over time.

6. Secure your network

If your Wi-Fi network isn’t password-protected, or if your password is too easy to crack, uninvited neighbours could be on your Wi-Fi, using up your bandwidth. You're also risking unwanted access to your personal information. Your best bet is to set a strong WPA2 password to prevent an overload of users on your network. 

To set a new Wi-Fi password: 

  1. Go to your web browser and enter your router’s IP address in the search bar.
  2. Sign in with your admin username and password.
  3. Go to Settings.
  4. Select Change Router password.
  5. Type in a new password.
  6. Save the new settings.

7. Increase your range

If your main issue is limited Wi-Fi signal range, invest in a device that increases your coverage area by rebroadcasting your network signal. These are called Wi-Fi repeaters, extenders or boosters. They’re very similar devices, with the main difference being that most extenders and boosters also amplify the signal before rebroadcasting it, while repeaters simply duplicate the existing signal. 

Another option is to consider a mesh Wi-Fi system, which is often more expensive but more effective than an extender. The mesh system uses a main router as well as several nodes, or box-like routers. These can be placed all around your home or office to form a strong, unified network and enhance your Wi-Fi.

8. Upgrade your router

If you have exhausted all options and your Wi-fi still lags, it may be time for an upgrade. Older routers can have problems with low bandwidth, limited range, outdated firmware, and more. Upgrading to a higher quality router may be just what you need to boost your Wi-Fi signal.

Could it be your computer?

Another possibility is the issue may not be your network at all, but rather your computer. Whether you’re using a Mac or PC, your computer may be using outdated or low performance hardware that may benefit from an upgrade.

The Bottom Line

At Crucial, we know strong Wi-Fi connections are crucial (pun intended!), especially with so many of us now working from home. It often takes only a few small changes to make your Wi-Fi faster and more reliable.

The opinions expressed in these articles are those of the individual authors and not Micron Technology, Inc., its subsidiaries or affiliates.  Upgrading your systems and components can cause damage to the system or components, including potential data loss.  Micron is not responsible for any damage or harm, including data loss or system interruptions, that may occur.  All information is provided “AS-IS” and neither Micron nor the author make any representations or warranties with respect to the information provided.  Neither Crucial nor Micron Technology, Inc. is responsible for omissions or errors in typography or photography. Micron products are warranted as provided for in the products when sold, applicable data sheets or specifications. Information, products, and/or specifications are subject to change without notice.  Micron, the Micron logo, Crucial, and the Crucial logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of Micron Technology, Inc. Any names or trademarks of third parties are owned by those parties and any references herein do not imply any endorsement, sponsorship or affiliation with these parties.