COLUMBIA, Mo. - With the upcoming holiday season, more online shopping, movie streaming and gifts of new phones and tablets can bog down your wireless internet connection. ABC 17 News worked with an expert to get the tips and tricks on how to beat those slow wireless speeds.
There's no question that interruptions from sluggish wifi can be frustrating. For Columbia photographer Vicki Winton, it can more than double her work time.
“What could only take me three or four hours could end up taking me eight/nine hours,” Winton said.
Winton said she notices varying wifi speeds during different times of the day.
“If you’re not getting fast enough speeds, it’ll take too long to save,” Winton said. “And when I’m doing work for a client and I’ve got a thousand wedding images that I’m going through, I need to be moving quick.”
Her family also notices slower speeds in the game room downstairs. To see how to fix these and other common issues with slow wifi, ABC 17 News teamed up with Socket Field Technician Adam Buchmeier to walk through Winton's home.
First, Buchmeier says check your router.
“We try and put it in a central location where everybody hangs,” Buchmeier said.
Buchmeier said trying to hide your router from plain view in places like a cabinet or closet can inhibit your signal.
“The people on the devices are trying to get access to that and it’s kinda like you’re just shutting a door on it. So you know it works out better if it can be out.”
Second, check your signal and channel.
To do this, you can download one of the many “Wifi Analyzer” apps available in the App Store for iPhones or Google Play for Androids.
ABC 17 News walked through Winton's home with the app to find the weak spots in her wifi's span. The signal strength changed from room to room.
For weak spots like Winton's game room downstairs, Buchmeier recommended wiring a cable from the router to an access point closer to that area of the house.
The app can also show which wifi channels your neighbors are using so you can adjust accordingly.
“So it looks like a lot of people are on Channel 1 or 2, you know those low channels,” ABC 17's Lindsey Berning said.
“Right,” Buchmeier said. “You’ve got multiple people on Channel 1. There’s one, two, three, four, and it varies.”
Buchmeier said multiple people on the same channel could slow down your wifi speed.
Third, check your old devices.
It's a small but important step, especially if you are adding new phones or tablets to your household.
“The older devices can slow down the speed going to the newer ones,” Buchmeier said. “So if you get a new tablet and it’s got an AC adapter in it and it has the capability of really going you know a nice speed, you might shut off your old tablet that’s trying to pull n or g.”
If all else fails, you can also try unplugging the cord from the back of your router and plugging it back in. Buchmeier said that will clear out “junk” in the router from things like power surges and give you a brand new IP address.
Of course if you are still having issues with your wifi, you can always call your wireless internet provider.