The Mouse Trap
–by Janis Weber
PUBLICATION DATE: Oct 01, 2020
Get Faster Speeds
We’ve all seen this happen one way or another. We’re tucked cozily on the sofa, popcorn in one hand, remote in the other, hoping to binge a much-hyped show on our favorite streaming service. Intro credits roll. So far, so good. Then it happens; the dreaded buffering circle rears its ugly head, again.
So, we check the connection on other gadgets. Uh-oh. The phone browser isn’t loading, Alexa is dead and the whole network is down. These sudden network hiccups caused by spotty home Wi-Fi have got to go!
There are plenty of reasons a Wi-Fi keeps slowing down (at the most inopportune times, too). It could be signal congestion, physical location, firmware issues, hardware limitations or maybe the space is just too big for the router’s coverage. Checking for the router’s latest firmware should be the first troubleshooting step. Updates are critical for everything from the computer to installed software and applications, so you should update at least once every three months.
Did you know common appliances like cordless phones, Bluetooth speakers, microwave ovens and baby monitors can impact Wi-Fi network speed? This is particularly true with older routers that can only operate on the 2.4GHz frequency, and interference from other appliances can cause slowdowns and unpredictable connectivity; especially if these appliances are near the router.
The next tweak to do is select the channel of your router; especially if you’re currently using the 2.4GHz frequency. The app helps you see where your router stands compared to everyone else’s, so if need be, you can manually switch channels. How to change channels depends on the brand and model of the router. Refer to the manual to find it. Each router is unique. You can actually “Google” your model for instructions.
For Windows, try downloading the free Wi-Fi utility, Acrylic Wi-Fi Home. This application will instantly give information about the Wi-Fi signals in your area, including the channels they utilize. As you now know, too many devices sharing the same network can slow things down. So aside from setting up parental settings to protect kids from trouble on the web, put them on a separate network so their devices don’t negatively affect the connection. You can do this by setting up a completely different Wi-Fi router or by simply enabling your router’s “Guest Network” option; a popular feature for most routers.
Aside from protecting your network from unauthorized bandwidth usage, which could slow down your network without your knowledge, did you know the type of wireless security you use could impact your overall speeds, too?
If your network is Open (no security) or is using WEP, change the security setting immediately. Obviously, an open network will make it easy for someone to steal your Wi-Fi, and the older WEP security is easily hacked, so avoid it at all costs. Go with the WPA2 encryption for your Wi-Fi network. For an extra layer of protection, disable any “remote management” options on the router.
Sylvania Senior Center Classes
New classes with be held as soon as the center reopens. Check the SSC newsletter and website for the most current information. Included will be Windows 10 Computers Basics, Facebook, Microsoft Word, Google Docs and iPhone/iPad. If you have a topic and know some folks who are interested, call the Senior Center and ask for Susan Jennelle at 419-885-3913. Limited seating fills fast so call ASAP to reserve a spot. We are considering an Excel Club. Interested? Call the SSC.
I make house calls (I enter with a mask)
I will come to your home or office and help you with almost any predicament including repairs, upgrades and general software or hardware issues. I can be your resident “Geek.” I have an endless amount of patience and knowledge with years of experience. Give me a text or call at 419-290-3570. Do not forget to sign up for my free newsletter at OhComputerTraining.com. Subscribers will get a copy of this article plus added hints, tips, and trusted/valuable web-links.
BACK UP YOUR COMPUTER’S DATA TODAY – Critical action!
Janis Weber, B.A., owner of Ohio Computer Training & Support, is a professional computer adjunct instructor. E-mail any specific questions or comments to JwPCtutor@Gmail.com
or call her for assistance at 419-318-9112.
Private tutoring and repairs are just a phone call, text or email away.