Working from home has brought all kinds of changes to our lives. From our wardrobes to our beauty routines, we've had to make some unexpected adjustments. One change that you probably didn't expect? Trying to keep up with your WiFi.
Whether the entire family is learning from home, working from home or simply spending more time at home, more devices on your home network means you've likely encountered slow internet speeds, signal dropouts, slow connections and buffering.
Digital lifestyle expert Mario Armstrong joined the 3rd Hour of TODAY to share some tips, tricks and products that can help bring your signal strength up to par and solve some of the technical issues you might be facing at home. From learning how to check your bandwidth to learning how to configure your network strength, Armstrong has a solution for nearly every home WiFi obstacle.
Armstrong says the first thing you'll need to do is to check and see if you have enough bandwidth, which determines the volume of data you'll need for all of the devices using your WiFi network. To find that out, Armstrong recommends using this simple calculator that will do all of the work for you.
Next, you should get in touch with your wireless provider to determine if you're actually paying for as much bandwidth that you actually need and whether your router is in need of an upgrade. Armstrong notes that an old plan will leave you with slower speeds an outdated router might not be giving you as much bandwidth as you need. Thus, Armstrong says, it is best to buy the most bandwidth that you can afford and then see if you'll need to upgrade your equipment along with it.
Still not enough speed?
If you have enough bandwidth on your network but speed is still an issue, there are ways to find out just where exactly in your house "dead zones" are located. To help figure that out, Armstrong says you can check the speed using your laptop, or by setting your phone to airplane mode and then enabling WiFi on your device. You can use this speed checker from Fast or this version from SpeedTest in different rooms of your house to determine exactly where your speed is the slowest.
To increase signal strength, it's best to run an ethernet cable straight from the router to the most important devices in your home, so if you have a total of 10 devices, it might be best to wire at least three of them, so you can have a stronger, more stable connection for devices like your TV or a laptop for Zoom calls. The fewer devices on your WiFi network, the stronger your signal will be.
If you can't connect your device using a cable, you might want to consider moving your router to a more central location in your home (but avoid the kitchen).
Gadgets to get your WiFi up to speed
Upgrading your WiFi router can be an easy solution. Armstrong recommends this version from TP-Link that is equipped with WiFi6 technology that can help increase the speed and strength of your home network while allowing you to connect more devices. Setup is easy, so you'll have better coverage in a matter of minutes.
If moving your router to a different location in your home doesn't help increase your signal strength, you might want to consider purchasing an extender, which can be plugged into a wall outlet in your home. Armstrong says this extender from TP-Link is helpful for those who live in a smaller home or an apartment with one or two floors, and is easy to install thanks to the corresponding app that walks you through the process.
Armstrong recommends investing in a mesh network, which will help boost your signal to other areas of the house that might be receiving a weaker connection from the router. This WiFi router from Google can be set up using the Google Home app and provides up to 2,200 sq. ft of coverage with uninterrupted signal.
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