How to Improve Speed of a Slow Wireless Network

by David Lipscomb

Although slower and less secure than a traditional wired Internet connection, there's no questioning the enhanced freedom and flexibility a Wi-Fi connection affords. However, there are numerous appliances and construction materials in your home that are more than happy to block your wireless bliss. Additionally, improper placement and settings of your wireless router can prevent maximum performance. Making free or inexpensive tweaks to your router and following simple placement tenets often make dramatic improvements to wireless network speed.

Locate your router in a centrally located place on the uppermost level of your home. Place the router on a table or desk. Wi-Fi signals from omnidirectional routers travel sideways and down.

Invest in a dual-band router, operating in the 2.4 and 5 GHz ranges. By using a router that operates in both Wi-Fi bands at the same time, you help ensure all of your devices work while using the lesser-used higher band to sidestep congestion from other Wi-Fi users in your area.

Switch your router's channel to 1, 6 or 11. These are the standard channels used by modern Wi-Fi systems.

Avoid corner placement of your router, unless you are attempting to increase wireless coverage to a nearby outside location.

Do not place your router close to a hot water heater or large structural beam. Dense water and metal block wireless signals.

Press the indented reset button for 3 to 5 seconds on your router using a paperclip or pen. This might alleviate your local network's congestion. Simply resetting the router's microprocessor often solves many slow speed issues.

Right-click on your Internet connection icon in your system tray. Click on "Repair" to reset your computer's wireless adapter.

Select wireless "N" or "G" when possible as your computer's defaults. Wireless "N" offers up to 300 megabits per second speed, with wireless "G" up to 54 Mbps. Older wireless "b" caps at a mere 11 Mbps.

Limit cordless phone and microwave oven usage when performing speed-intensive online tasks. Many cordless phones operate in the same 2.4 and 5 GHz wireless range as Wi-Fi routers. Microwave ovens radiate interfering signals. If either is in operation while you're online, you will experience a speed drop.

Add a wireless bridge to increase range. These boosters add a little cost but prevent gaps in Wi-Fi coverage in larger spaces. These are ideal for getting your signal further outside or in hard-to-reach spaces in your home.


  • Use the highest level of security your hardware supports. WEP is the default for most routers, but is easily defeated by intruders. WAP and WAP2 offer high levels of security for your wireless network.

Items you will need

  • Wireless bridge

About the Author

David Lipscomb is a professional writer and public relations practitioner. Lipscomb brings more than a decade of experience in the consumer electronics and advertising industries. Lipscomb holds a degree in public relations from Webster University.

Photo Credits

  • Creatas Images/Creatas/Getty Images