Thursday, August 18, 2022

How to increase the speed of a Wi-Fi router

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The “last mile” problem is slowly becoming a thing of the past: speeds of hundreds of Mbps are not uncommon for modern providers. And all the more bewildering are the “brakes” of a video call in Whatsapp or the “freezing” of a video from Youtube at a similar “hundred-megabit” rate. Why the Wi-Fi speed can be many times less than that provided by the provider and how to increase it – in this article.

Improving the quality of communication
The speed in a wireless network is inextricably linked to the quality of communication. Don’t expect any acceptable speed with a single bar on the Wi-Fi indicator.

If the signal strength of your network is low, this problem should be dealt with first. It is possible that you are outside the coverage area. In this case, you should either just get closer to the router, or increase the network range .

Wi-Fi роутер TP-LINK TL-WR840N v6
Poor communication quality may also be due to band congestion. The 2.4 GHz frequency is used not only by most Wi-Fi networks, but also by many other gadgets: baby monitors, remote controls, wireless headphones, cameras, etc. If you have such devices, try disabling them.

Install Wi-Fi Analyzer on your phone , evaluate the load on the range by other networks.

If your network’s operating range looks like this, speed drops are inevitable.
We share Wi-Fi with neighbors correctly
Is the entire range “littered” with neighboring networks? Don’t be discouraged – the optimal location and proper configuration of the router can significantly increase the speed of the Internet even in conditions of strong air noise.

First, try to find out at what points the routers closest to you are located and take yours to the maximum distance from them, if possible, “fencing off” with capital walls. First, you will create a zone in which your network will be more accessible simply due to more power. Secondly, closely located routers “clog” each other’s signal even if they use non-intersecting channels – since they do not intersect only in theory, but in practice it is impossible to keep a broadband signal clearly within the range.

Look at the Wi-Fi Analyzer screen and find the least loaded channel in the range. Pay attention not only to the signal strength of foreign networks, but also to their number. The emerging desire to occupy the “empty” space between networks can lead to even more interference.

At first glance, it may seem that the best “place” for your network in this picture is channels 3, 8 or 9. However, on them, the new network will intersect with 4-5 existing ones, while on Channel 6 – with only two. In this case, channel 6 should be selected.
The channel width in high traffic conditions should be set to “Auto”, “20/40 coexistance” or generally “20”. Rigid width “40” is recommended to be set only in the absence of “neighboring” networks.

Why so, because the narrowing of the channel will reduce the speed by half? Because a twice as wide channel “catches” twice as much interference. Better reception on a “slow” narrow channel than constant interference on a “fast” wide one.

We are updating
The advice is extremely relevant if you use at least one network device manufactured more than 5-7 years ago. Internet speeds were then an order of magnitude lower and manufacturers (especially inexpensive basic models) did not bother to “squeeze” all the available performance out of the router. Many cheap routers of those years limited Wi-Fi speeds to fifty, twenty, or even ten Mbps. And sometimes replacing the firmware with a freshly downloaded one from the manufacturer’s website removes this limitation. In the same way, wireless adapter drivers should be updated – the network speed is always equal to the speed of the slowest client, so an old driver of some Wi-Fi card can “slow down” the entire network.

For older low-power routers, you can still recommend disabling encryption.

And so that security does not suffer, you can rewrite the MAC addresses of all clients and set the MAC filter based on them.

This will reduce the load on the processor of the router and – if it lacked performance – the transfer speed will increase.

Getting rid of weak links
What protocol is set in your router settings? Most likely “802.11 b / g / n” or, what is the same, “Auto”. This means that as long as there are devices on the network that only support 802.11n – for example, the router itself and a relatively new tablet – then the maximum data transfer rate will correspond to this version of the protocol – 150 Mbps. But as soon as some ancient smartphone with 802.11b enters the network, the speed of the entire network will drop to the maximum value for this version of the protocol of 11 Mbps. Moreover, the old device does not even have to enter the network – just try to do it. That is, an ancient smartphone does not have to be yours – maybe someone in a neighboring apartment gave their old phone to a child as a toy, and now it reduces the speed of your network by more than ten times.

What to do? Install support for 802.11n only. If at the same time some device “falls off” from the network … decide for yourself whether it is worth such a decrease in Internet speed.

If you have a dual-band router with the ability to work in both bands at the same time, be sure to turn on Wi-Fi at a frequency of 5 GHz. If this is not possible, try switching to 5 GHz, abandoning 2.4. At the same time, a lot of clients will “fall off”, far from all modern gadgets have support for this range, but with the remaining ones you will not complain about speed for a long time.

Although, who knows what speeds will be “in use” in five years?

We optimize clients
Sometimes the slowdown can be caused by too many clients loading the network at the same time. Suddenly began to “freeze” the video on the TV? It is possible that the torrent client on the laptop has just found a server with a “thick” channel and started downloading the file at maximum speed.

ASUS RT-N19 Wi-Fi router
Optimization can be done in two ways. First, by enabling and configuring QoS – traffic prioritization technology.

QoS (Quality of Service – Quality of Service), when supported on the router, allows you to determine which network activities have the highest priority. This will allow us to maintain the speed of these particular activities at the maximum – at the expense of others.

Well, the second way is to simply disconnect “extra” clients from the network. Look at the statistics in the router interface, count all the clients, determine “who is who.”

Do they really need the Internet?

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