Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Maximizing your Router

Nine times out of ten, your router is just fine as is, but there are ways to ensure that you are maximizing your router's capabilities.

The first rule seems counter productive, but use wires whenever possible. A wired Ethernet connection will always be your fastest option. This means that if your computer is sitting three feet away from your wireless router, just connect them via an Ethernet cable, and save the wireless for your laptops and tablets.

Next, you will want to choose the best wireless channel. The biggest thing that slows down a wifi signal is OTHER wifi signals from other routers in your area. Most routers will default to channel 6 or channel 11. So those channels can get easily crowded. There's an easy way to check this if you have a wireless smart phone or tablet. Or I guess I should say, "There's an app for that".

 Wifi Stumbler

Simply pick the channel with the least traffic. You don't have to fully understand why picking channels likes this changes the strength of your signal, only that you want the least congested highway. You can change the channel in the administration page like we went over in the last post.

Another thing you can do is tweak your routers power Also in the admin page is a selection called "TX Power". Boosting it too much can have adverse effects so keep it around 70 mW. Going much higher can cause your router to overheat and even die. Some routers don't have this option at all.

Make sure to turn off all wifi devices while not in use. Those devices just sitting there doing there thing, running updates, calibrating with GPS, keeping you up to date on the weather, whatever, is still a transfer of information that is taking up a piece of your wifi highway.

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