What’s worse than trying to stream Game of Thrones and seeing the buffer wheel appear every two minutes? If it keeps it up, you’ll accidentally fall face first into spoilers on the internet.
Boosting your internet speed doesn’t have to mean investing in fiber optic cables or using your neighbor’s password. There are a few simple things you can do to boost the speeds of your Netgear router with little to no effort.
Here are seven ways to boost your WiFi speeds and protect yourself from spoilers (mostly):
1. Centralize and Elevate Your Router
Your router needs to be in the right place to work properly. For many of us, it’s located in an office, living room, or even in a cupboard. Unless those rooms are at the center of your house, your router is likely in the wrong place.
To rectify the situation and improve your signal and speed, put your router in a central area in your home and raise it up away from the floor.
The best place for your router is in an area that is as central as possible. You also want to keep it away from other electronics, especially anything that emits radio waves.
Keeping it in an open area away from walls is also helpful. Doing so prevents the waves from bouncing back towards the router rather than spreading out into your home.
Raising the router is also important because a Netgear router will send its waves down. Keeping it too close to the floor prevents you from maximizing the spread of the radio waves.
2. Change the Antenna Orientation
Most new router models include internal antennas. To make the most of them, be sure to use them the way they lay naturally. This means placing the router in its natural position.
In other words, if there are feet on the router, set the router on its feet. Don’t lay it down on its side. If the router has two sets of feet, feel free to set it on either side.
If your model uses adjustable antennas, you’ll want to lay them along the same plane. In this case, you’ll want to point straight up and the other to lay flat. This position maximizes radio reception.
3. Set Up an Automatic Reboot
It’s a basic IT maxim: when in doubt, reboot.
You’ll also likely have noticed that rebooting your router improves your speed. If you find your router loves a good reboot on a regular basis, set up a system to allow it to do so automatically.
Tomato or DD-Wrt firmware provides a timed reboot option for your router. Set it up to reboot overnight when you won’t miss it, and you’ll have better WiFi speeds all day.
4. Invest in an Amplified Aftermarket Antenna
The antennas added to the average router are enough to give you WiFi. They also have the added benefit of being omnidirectional, which means the router is easy to set up regardless of technical ability.
However, in some cases, the built in router is not enough to boost your signal if your WiFi conditions are less than perfect.
Replacing the existing antenna with a stronger antenna is often the way to go. Alternatively, you can add an additional external antenna to the router.
To get started, check out the router manufacturer’s website to identify the right additional antenna for the model you own. Be sure to buy an antenna that supports wireless N technology if your router offers it.
You don’t need any additional tools to upgrade existing external antennas. The process is as simple as taking off the old antennas and replacing them with the new one.
Note: if you’re unable to remove the original antenna, they aren’t replaceable.
If the antennas aren’t replaceable, move on to option #2: add an additional external antenna.
Check your router for an additional external antenna jack. The jack is designed to provide a simple connection for an additional antenna. However, you’ll need to make sure you order the correct antenna for your router type. So, be sure to look at the router manual before ordering a new one.
5. Buy a New Router
Older routers will be slower than new models.
The current WiFi standard is 802.11ac. If you want to maximize connectivity, look for a router rated:
These are best equipped to boost your speed and connectivity throughout the home.
Not sure what WiFi standard you’re running?
Check it in three simple steps:
- Click the WiFi shortcut found on the bottom of the PC screen
- Click on your connection
- Click on ‘Properties’ and your connection will be visible under ‘Protocol’
6. Update the Router’s Firmware
Just as old versions of an operating system slow down your phone or tablet, old versions of firmware impede a router’s performance.
Router manufacturers provide updates to their firmware on a regular basis to keep them competitive and promote performance.
The ease of this process depends on both the manufacturer and model of your router. Newer routers have a firmware upgrade button, which simplifies the process. If you’re running an older Netgear router, you may need to hunt down the firmware on the manufacturer’s website.
7. Switch Your Frequency
The most common frequency used on a Netgear router is the 2.4GHz band. By switching over to the 5GHz band, you’ll achieve better throughput, which translates into faster speeds.
Even if switching over doesn’t improve the real speed, it will at least cut down on the interference from all the other routers in the area on the 2.4GHz band.
Switching couldn’t be simpler. Check the administrator interface to see if your router offers the option for 5GHz. If so, turn it on and set up the network as you would.
Grow the Horsepower of Your Netgear Router
Now you’ve got seven simple tips in your arsenal to make the most of your WiFi by optimizing your router. Use them all together, and you’ll never buffer during your favorite shows again.
Do you have any tips for improving WiFi speeds and Netgear router performance? Let us know in the comments.