When struggling with poor Internet performance at your house, maybe your ISP isn’t always the issue? Your WiFi router is another critical component that plays an important role in ensuring your Internet connection remains fast and reliable.
Routers are now required to work Harder
With smartphones, tablet computers, Internet-enabled appliances, and more all competing for the same home Internet connection, the poor old router must work harder than ever before. This is especially true considering all the video streaming or online gaming that takes place in the typical 21st Century household.
If your Internet speed tests low, hook up a computer directly to your Internet modem, bypassing the router. Run a quick HTML5 speed test to verify your Internet connection tests as fast as it should. If so it may be the router causing your slowness in your Internet speed especially if you are noticing any extra buffering or choppy performance when streaming video or audio. Fortunately a quick reset of your router may clear the issue.
Make Sure your Router is up to Date
Additionally, you need to make sure your router supports the 802.11n wireless standard. If you purchased the router in the past 2-3 years, you should be fine, but make sure the router has the latest firmware installed. If it doesn’t support the “N” wireless standard, get a newer model. Insist that your ISP replace an older router if they provide the hardware as part of your Internet service.
Newer dual-band routers support the 5 GHz carrier frequency in addition to the standard 2.4 GHz. If your household does a lot of video streaming, the 5 GHz signal might be the way to go for the best possible streaming performance. The 5 GHz handles interference better which might be important if you are in an apartment complex or a condo.
Many higher-end routers even allow you to run both bands simultaneously, so you can use the 5 GHz band for rich media streaming and the 2.4 GHz band for basic email and Internet browsing.
Ultimately, knowing how to test your Internet speed both with and without the router is a great way to help diagnose any bandwidth issues before they adversely impact your streaming experience.