No one has ever invested in an Internet connection with the expectation that it’s going to dip in performance, especially if you’ve specifically sought out what should have been a fast and reliable service.
Thankfully, in many cases, boosting your WiFi signal can fix the problem, and this requires a simple fix that will have you reconnected to the digital world in no time, says Matthew Campbell, head of SME and FTTH at Seacom. The most common culprit? The router.
In case you need a refresher: Internet service providers (ISPs) provide Internet access to your home. Your router then allows your smartphones, laptops and other devices to connect to the Internet. This can be done by using a LAN cable or over WiFi. Your WiFi connection can be affected by so many factors that are far beyond the control of the ISP.
“There’s nothing worse than a slow connection. Luckily, there are things that you can do to give your WiFi a boost without having to resort to extreme measures,” said Campbell.
7 factors that could influence your WiFi connection
1. The proximity of your device to the router itself will impact the speed and strength of your connection. The closer your laptop or phone is to your router, the stronger the connection will be, Seacom said.
“I recommend placing the router in a central point in your home to keep everyone connected. If that’s not possible, you may want to look for a network booster. These are devices that strengthen the signal, extending the range of your WiFi,” said Campbell.
2. The number of devices you have connected to the WiFi will also take its toll. Every little thing that is accessing your WiFi has the potential to affect the line.
“Running multiple online meetings, streaming resources for online learning, and then adding everyone’s phones and smart devices will slow down your connection. Before signing up with an ISP, determine what your needs are and ensure that you commit to a line that can give you what you need without compromising speed and reliability,” said Campbell.
3. Other home appliances can interfere with WiFi, including microwaves, cordless phones, poorly switched satellite dishes, baby monitors, and even garage door motors.
“Certain power sources can also impact your connection as well as other nearby networks. This is because most of these devices emit electromagnetic waves with frequencies around 2.4GHz, which is essentially the same as what your router uses, making it easy for signals to become lost or confused.
“Determining if this is causing WiFi issues is a process of elimination. Switch off certain appliances to see if it makes a difference, or simply move the router to a space that’s further away from interfering devices and see if the signal improves,” said Campbell.
4. If the programme or application you are trying to load keeps hanging, try loading a different website or app. Clearing your browser cache can also help to speed up website loading times. In some cases, you might think it’s your WiFi connection causing an issue, but it could be website related, stated Seacom.
5. Physical interferences, such as large walls and other structures, can obstruct your connection.
Think about it: walls block out different areas, and as such, can get in the way of your Wi-Fi signal. The size of your home will also play a role in this, especially if multiple rooms require connectivity. Speak to your ISP about ways that you can ensure seamless connectivity throughout the space.
6. Seacom recommended performing a speed test to determine the current speed experienced by your device. If this number is significantly lower than what you signed up for with your ISP, repeat the test using a LAN cable, it said.
“If the number still remains low, then contact your ISP and let them know. If the number increases, then the issue is most likely your WiFi router,” said Campbell.
7. When it comes down to it, the most obvious cause may be the culprit, a faulty router, the tech expert said. “To really check if the router is at fault, you can plug in another router and test the signal. If you don’t have a spare router, or can’t borrow one, many IT stores will test your router for you.
“A slow connection is one of the most frustrating things out there, and often, determining the cause is a process of elimination. Don’t be afraid to ask for help! You’re paying for a service and any ISP worth their salt will have the systems in place to ensure that your connection queries are addressed quickly and efficiently. So, if all else fails, get in touch and troubleshoot with the experts,” said Campbell.