It used to be the case that slow WiFi would leave users a little frustrated but they’d put their device down and go do something else.
This is no longer the case in 2019. Almost all of our electronic devices have WiFi access and with the expansion of IoT and 5G networks, this is going to skyrocket. With so many devices dependant on WiFi, we risk a painful experience and severely hindered performance is our WiFi is being slow. Let us have a look at what’s causing your WiFi to be slow, and how to fix it.
What Slows Down Your WiFi
Several factors can determine how slow your WiFi is so you should carefully review this list and use trial and error to see why factor or factors are having the biggest effect on your WiFi speed.
Where Your WiFi Router is Located
Your WiFi router should be placed in a central location on your property. This is because the router will send the signal out in all directions so if you place the router next to an exterior wall, approximately half of our WiFi signal will be flowing outside your house.
You should also check your router isn’t located next to other electronics or metal objects as this can also slow down WiFi speed. If your WiFi router is low to the ground and you experience slow WiFi in the upstairs rooms of your house, you should raise the router from the floor and put it in a higher location.
Too Many Users of Devices
If you have an older router, it may be struggling to keep up with the number of devices connected to it. Each device connected to your router will be taking a portion of the bandwidth, and this makes signal heavy activities like streaming HD video extremely slow or even impossible. Most wireless routers can theoretically accommodate around 250 devices being connected to it at any one time, however, in practice, this isn’t feasible. This is more of a hardware and software limit rather than a practical one.
Similarly, if too many users are connected your WiFi may be slow. This becomes more exaggerated if they are conducting high bandwidth activities like gaming or streaming videos.
How Slow is Your WiFi
You can test WiFi speed by performing a WiFi speed test online. A good WiFi speed test will tell you your download speed, upload speed, and the ping rate of your wireless network.
Your upload speed is the rate at which data is transferred from your device to the internet, for example, if you’re sending a file to a friend over email. Your download speed is the rate at which you pull data from the service to your device. Download speed is prioritized and is usually faster than upload speed because the majority of your online activity will fall into this category. Both are measured in Mbps.
The ping time is a measure of how responsive your connection is. A fast ping rate means your device got a fast response after sending out a request.
What is a Good WiFi Speed Test Result?
Most internet providers will offer WiFi download speeds of 50 to 150Mb, and often more. This often represents the highest possible speed which in reality you would only get by standing directly next to your router.
How good your WiFi speed is really depends on what you’re using the internet for. For example, you would only need 1 Mbps to stream a compressed MP3 file or for general web surfing.
You’d need about 1 to 2Mbps for streaming lossless music, streaming standard definition videos, and general web browsing. At 15 to 25 Mbps you can start streaming HD video without issues, and you’d need over 25 Mbps to stream 4K video. If you’re doing something very intensive like streaming 4K video whilst playing a 4K game and uploading large files you’d want over 50 Mbps.
You shouldn’t be concerned if your WiFi speed test is lower than your provider states but is still fit for the kind of things you use the internet for.
How To Increase Your WiFi Speed
If you’re looking to expand your WiFi access points in a large property or site, you can use a dedicated app to perform a WiFi survey which will give you an in-depth insight into any areas of channel interference and dead zones, as well as suggesting the best spot for access points.
At home, you can increase your WiFi speed by:
- Replacing your router: If you have an older router that is struggling to keep up you should consider replacing it for a newer one that can handle IoT stresses.
- Switch to 5GHz: Your router will have two frequencies, 2.4GHz, and 5GHz. Consider switching to 5GHz if you want increased WiFi speed in the room the router is in. This is because 5GHz is faster but works over a shorter range than 2.4GHz since it can’t penetrate walls very well at all.
- Test Your WiF Speed Online Multiple Times: Your internet speed can fluctuate throughout the day so you should repeat your WiFi speed test. If you test WiFi speed regularly it will help to identify times when WiFi is slower so you can analyze what is different.