9 Wi-Fi Speed Hacks for L.A. Dwellers (and beyond!)

September 28, 2015

7:00 pm

Living under the sunny skies of Los Angeles comes with many perks, but fast Wi-Fi isn’t always one of them. You’d think in a town where heavy hitters like Google, Yahoo!, and Microsoft have a base of operations, the Wi-Fi speeds would be better than ever. Unfortunately, L.A.’s large population makes the competition for Wi-Fi signals and channels fierce. If your Wi-Fi isn’t as fast as you’d like it to be, there are some things you can do to cut through the crowd and boost your speeds.

Here are nine Wi-Fi speed hacks to help you go from sluggish to swift.

1. Location Matters

Don’t block your router. Its signal needs to reach every Internet-connected device in your home. The router sends out signals omni-directionally, so the closer it is to obstacles like walls, the harder it will be to get a good signal throughout the house.

Ideally, you want the router as close as possible to the devices you use most. The more centrally located your router is, the better the signal will be.

2. Go on Lock-Down

Don’t leave your Wi-Fi network vulnerable to uninvited guests. Secure your network so that neighbors can’t hop on and drain your signal.

Passwords are your first line of defense, but not just any password will do. Use a secure password that is long, impersonal, and uses a variety of letters, numbers, and symbols so it can’t be hacked easily.

3. Upgrade

Sometimes the best way to boost your speed is to upgrade your equipment or Internet package. Take a look at how many people and devices are using your Internet connection and make sure your package provides enough speed to keep everyone happily online. If you could use a little more speed, do a little research and use the comparison tools available to find a provider who can make it happen.

If your plan isn’t the problem, check your router. Some routers can’t support a large number of devices. Obtaining faster Wi-Fi speeds may be as simple as trading out your old router for a newer model that can handle more devices and uses a faster, less-congested frequency.

4. Reboot

If your signal freezes from time to time and you have to reboot the router, you can take preemptive action to stop those frustrating disruptions.

Keep your router happy by rebooting it before it has a meltdown. Use a standard outlet timer and set it to reboot the router automatically once a day. This will keep things running smoothly and should eliminate a Wi-Fi failure in the middle of your favorite show or game.

5. Change Channels

Routers use channels to transmit the Wi-Fi signal. If you live in a crowded building, there are probably multiple routers competing for the same channels. One of the best ways to get better speed is to find a channel no one else is using.

Use a tool like WiFi Stumbler to find a less-crowded channel. WiFi Stumbler scans nearby channels and networks and identifies the best ones for you to use.

6. Shut Down Bandwidth Hogs

Some programs and games use so much bandwidth to function that they clog up the connection.  Video chats, streaming services, and online games are among the biggest offenders.

Use a network bandwidth monitor to discover which applications use the most bandwidth and manage their use. Prioritize the most important programs to ensure that they get the bandwidth they need.

7. Knock Out Interference

When you live in close proximity to others, nearby routers can cause interference. Household appliances like cordless phones and microwaves can also interfere with your Wi-Fi signal.

You may not be able to avoid neighboring routers, but you can do something about the interference in your own home. Make sure the router isn’t near the microwave or the base for the cordless phone. You can also minimize interference with a dual band router.

8. Try a Lower Setting

It seems counter-intuitive, but more power isn’t always better. Higher power settings generate additional noise and reduce the router’s sensitivity. Maximize your router’s performance by using a lower setting.

9. Get Creative

For those who love to tinker, there are some DIY hacks you can try to boost the power of your router. Most involve a metal item applied to your router’s antenna.

The Windsurfer tin foil antenna hack is the most common, but you can also use a kitchen strainer or an old beer can to enhance the antenna and boost the router’s signal.

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Cosette is a freelance writer and digital lifestyle expert with the goal of helping readers simplify life and work using affordable tech tools and apps. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, biking, snowboarding, and traveling.

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