Slow broadband speed is often blamed on internet service providers, but the problem is often closer to home.
Your internet service provider is responsible for the broadband connection from your router to their network, but they have no control over factors (such as those discussed below) that are associated with your local WiFi network and which can cause significant drops in broadband speed.
Single WiFi Frequency
Your WiFi router will be set to operate on single WiFi radio frequency which can provide a connection for only one device at a time.
Although there are some sophisticated electronics in your WiFi router that enable efficient use of that frequency by multiple WiFi devices, the fact is that more WiFi devices mean slower broadband speeds.
If all these devices are online at the same time then the speed drop will be significant, especially if more than one device is undertaking a data intensive task such as streaming video.
Foreign WiFi networks
Your neighbours will also have WiFi routers, some of which will be operating on the same WiFi frequency as yours and some on frequencies that overlap with yours.
Therefore, in addition to coping with multiple devices sharing a single frequency on your WiFi network, your router also has to cope with multiple foreign WiFi networks using the same radio frequency.
This is not a trivial task, just imagine trying to understand multiple radio stations operating on the same frequency!
In general, the more foreign WiFi networks that are within range of your WiFi network then the slower will be your broadband speed.
If you were the only WiFi device connected to your WiFi router and there were no foreign WiFi networks then your broadband speed should be reasonably close to the internet speed provided by your internet service provider.
However, your signal strength will drop as you move further away from your WiFi router.
When your signal strength drops your broadband speed will also drop.
If you have less than 50% signal strength on a WiFi network with several connected devices and several nearby foreign WiFi networks you cant really blame your internet service provider if your broadband speed is not what it should be.
However, there are some things you can do:
- switch to 5G WiFi
Until recently most WiFi routers and devices operated on the 2.4Ghz frequency. The 2.4Ghz frequency band is therefore very congested.
There is now a new WiFi standard that enables devices to use the 5Ghz frequency. This is not only less congested, but supports more WiFi channels and faster speeds.
The downside is that a 5Ghz WiFi signal does not travel as far as the lower 2.4Ghz WiFi signal.
Most routers supplied by internet service providers use both 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz WiFi. To take advantage of this you should ensure that all of your WiFi devices can use 5Ghz WiFi.
- optimise your router
If possible you should replace your WiFi router with a better router.
Unfortunately, this is not always possible due to internet service provider restrictions.
You should also try moving your WiFi router to a location that is away from sources of electrical interference and is central to the required coverage area.
- install additional wireless access points
The benefit of additional wireless access points is that they extend the coverage area and would be set to operate on a different WiFi frequency from that used by the main WiFi router.
This improves coverage and reduces congestion and therefore improves speeds.
Additional wireless access points can be connected to the main router by cable or using homeplug mains connected devices.
Please note that installing a repeater may be a simple way of extending coverage, but it is not a good way to improve speed as the data throughput is reduced by over 50% . This adversely affects speed.
- use wired connections, where possible
A wired connection to your WiFi router is always better than a WiFi connection even if your WiFi device is used close to your WiFi router.
If possible devices that use a lot of broadband data such as TVs and set top boxes should have a wired connection to your router.
This will benefit performance (eg fewer frame freezes) and higher picture quality (eg HD instead of SD) and will also ensure a less congested WiFi network for other devices.
Get In Touch
Click on the contact button to the left if you want more advice on how to improve the performance of your WiFi network or if you require expert assistance with any telecommunications or internet issue for your home or business.