Getting the Most out of Your WiFi Router

They live with us, yet we hardly ever pay any attention to them. Thanks to them, we laugh, cry, learn, and stay in touch with one another. WiFi routers are everywhere, and it’s hard to imagine the world without them. Despite their widespread use, most people have complained about the performance of their wireless router at one point or another.

Indeed, even the best wireless router can have trouble covering an entire house or office with a reliable WiFi signal. That’s why it’s essential to know how to get the most out of a WiFi router and have the right tools for the job. Trusted by countless IT professionals and casual home users alike, NetSpot is one such tool.

NetSpot’s forte are WiFi network analysis, site surveys, and network troubleshooting. With NetSpot, you can make even a budget WiFi router perform just as well as routers way above its price range, just like you can use it to make a high-end router perform to its fullest potential. NetSpot is simple, powerful, and available for free.

Selecting the Best Wireless Router

If you believe that all routers are the same, you’re wrong. There are many good reasons why you should consider leaving the router you got from your internet service provider behind and buying a new, better one instead.

It used to be that internet routers did almost nothing else besides connecting a single computer to the internet. Modern internet routers are different. They provide wireless internet access to smartphones, tablets, smartwatches, and internet-connected home appliances. They are highly secure, feature USB ports for file sharing, and support all the latest wireless standards, such as 802.11ac, which offers about 3x the bandwidth of the older 802.11n standard.

Some routers even broadcast on two frequencies simultaneously. Such routers are called dual-band routers, and they support both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands. Why’s that important? Because the 2.4 GHz band tends to be very cluttered. In some residential areas or apartment blocks, dozens of wireless routers may broadcast a wireless signal on the same channel, making it difficult for electronic devices to collect the right data packets amidst all the noise.

Routers also offer different ranges. You may have seen routers that look like scary cyber-spiders, with antennas protruding in all directions. You better believe that routers like this have better range than much smaller routers with built-in antennas.

Older routers that support only the 802.11n standard can accommodate only 30 concurrent clients. Newer, 802.11ac routers support almost 100 simultaneous connections, making them much more suitable for crowded office spaces and public-facing businesses.

Software updates are vital when it comes to wireless routers. Cyber attackers release over 390,000 new malicious programs every day, and old, unpatched routers are one of their prime targets. Router manufacturers have to make the same kind of business decisions as all other companies, and they can’t afford to support old products indefinitely. That router your internet service provider gave you 5 years ago could be vulnerable to a wide range of dangerous cyber attacks, many of which could cost you your privacy or a bank account. Why risk so much when you can purchase a new router and stay safe?

Before you purchase a new router, always make sure to check wireless router reviews to see what others have to say about it. There’s only so much you can learn about a product from specifications and product descriptions. Reliability and real-world performance take some time to evaluate.

Don’t Blame Your WiFi Router

Before you say “my WiFi router is no good,” consider what else could be affecting the quality of your WiFi signal and your internet speeds.

First of all, double-check that your wireless network is encrypted. Sometimes a router loses power for a long time and restores to factory defaults. This can happen without your knowledge, leaving your WiFi network accessible to anyone. It goes without saying that your internet speeds will be abysmal when the whole neighborhood is leeching off you. These days, the WPA2 (Wi-Fi Protected Access 2) is recommended as a much safer alternative to the older and much less secure WEP.

Second, make sure that your internet service provider is delivering the advertised download and upload speeds. Just because your contract says that you should be getting 20 Mbps download speeds, it doesn’t mean that you’re actually are. NetSpot’s Active Scanning feature allows you to quickly and accurately test your network’s connection speeds.

To use the feature:

  • Start a new network survey project
  • Load a map of your area or create a new one
  • Scan your area
  • Look for a blue Active Scan indicator
  • Go through the available visualizations to see your upload speed, download speed, wireless transmit rate, and other useful metrics.

Last but not least, make sure the computer you’re using for the testing is in a good working order. The cause of your slow internet speeds could be a malware infestation or some background processes. A simple restart often does the trick, but many serious issues can only be solved by a complete reinstall of your operating system.

Best WiFi Router Optimization Strategy

The most effective way how to optimize the performance of your router is to find out the ideal spot where to place it. NetSpot’s Survey Mode allows you to create a visual map of the wireless strength in your area and see where the signal is the strongest and weakest. Use this information to decide whether it wouldn’t be best to place the router elsewhere. With NetSpot, you can quickly verify the result and adjust your course of action. Even though NetSpot is loaded with useful wireless troubleshooting features, it doesn’t take long even for someone with limited computer experience to learn how to use it. Download NetSpot right now to optimize your router and increase your internet speeds.

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