What is affecting your Wi-Fi speeds and what can you do about it?

You recently got installed with the latest in Internet technology, and you are officially “Gigafied”, but what gives? Why are your speed tests not showing 1,000Mbps? If your home Wi-Fi doesn’t seem to be functioning as well as you think it should be, there are some factors which could be affecting your connection. Before you call Race or a professional, lets talk about some of the things you can try to optimize your Wi-Fi connection:

  1. Your equipment – Saving power can be a good thing, but when your computer is running on battery or “power saving” mode, it can affect your bandwidth. Check your computer’s settings and make sure your device is not in power saving mode, and try to stay plugged in as much as possible. Also be aware that your computer or device may not be capable of gigabit speeds. A lot of laptops have a cap of 100Mbps due to their chip set.
  2. Distance – while thick walls and obstructions can also be an issue, the distance from your router can be just as much of a problem. If you are trying to connect a large home, it might be a good idea to invest in a signal booster or secondary router. Here’s a rule of thumb: Just by doubling the distance between router and client you can expect throughput to shrink to one-third of its original value. A wireless repeater, which will set you back $20-$100, should boost your signal noticeably.
  3. Obstructions – Thick walls, large bookshelves and stairs can also affect your speed. Try to place your router in a central, yet unobstructed location for optimal results.
  4. Other networks close by – An area with a large amount of different Wi-Fi networks may suffer from poor signal strength because of all the conflicting transmissions. This may be the case in office buildings or apartment complexes. Try switching to a different transmission such as the 5.0 network that Race offers.
  5. Appliance interference – Did you know your microwave could be making your internet slow? That sounds strange, but it can be the case sometimes that household appliances operating on the same frequency as your router could slow down your Wi-Fi. Check to see whether your connection is stronger when appliances such as cordless phones, microwaves, and security camera are off.
  6. Who is the bandwidth hog? – Many people share their Wi-Fi with family members, roommates, or colleagues, but keep in mind that their internet activities could be affecting your speed too. If someone on your Wi-Fi network is hogging bandwidth by constantly downloading or streaming, this could be a reason why your connection has slowed
  7. Firmware or driver issues – An often forgotten problem (that is easy to remedy) is outdated firmware. Make sure your router’s firmware is up-to-date.  Expect bandwidth, feature set and resiliency to signals to increase with the first few firmware updates.

Keep in mind that Wi-Fi speeds won’t ever hit 1,000Mbps as most computers on the market are unable to handle the speed, but you should be able to consistently see speeds of 200-600Mbps depending on your gear and number of users in your home.

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