Like most things in life, working from home is not always easy. You might have to deal with finishing up a project on a tight deadline, or you might be trying to get some much-needed peace and quiet for said project. But when your WiFi starts acting up and getting too slow for your liking, it can make those "working from home" days feel anything but productive.
The problem with WiFi is that it's ripe for interference when you're working from home. Between neighbors personal devices, cars, appliances, and even your own devices emitting WiFi signals, it can get pretty crowded in the airwaves. And when too many devices are clogging up airwaves shared by your router at once, it's bound to start causing some problems.
Luckily for you (and the rest of us working from home), it doesn't have to be this way. And fortunately for you, AccessAgility is here to help. AccessAgility has been a leading provider of WiFi discovery and analysis software for many years, and we have seen the same issues over and over again.
In this article, we'll go through some of the most common WiFi issues when working from home. We'll also review some best practices to avoid these issues in the first place.
Common Work from Home WiFi Issues
1. Can't get a strong enough signal to work efficiently
This is a problem that drives everyone crazy. A weak WiFi connection can interrupt your entire day, causing frustration and lost productivity. The main culprits? A couple of big no-nos: Placing your router in the wrong spot and choosing a wrong WiFi channel. If you're thinking, "But my WiFi is just fine!", think again. WiFi network signal bars can be increased by moving the router so that it is a line of sight connection devices.
Here are some ways to fix low signal strength:
Put your router in a place that is as far from the obstructions and as closer to devices that need WiFi as possible. That way, you'll actually get good reception over a wider area and not just within range of your WiFi device.
2. Speed issues and buffering videos
When watching videos on the Internet, video playback can be painfully slow because of buffering. What is buffering? It's when your bandwidth is overburdened by too much data being sent to a server at once and it can't keep up with it all at once. Sometimes, the server will start skipping frames. This is very noticeable in low-resolution videos, and can be a bit of an annoyance in other situations as well.
To avoid buffering issues, make sure that you're not overloading your WiFi network streaming video traffic. The best way to do this is to move stationary streaming devices like Apple TV and Roku TVs to a wired connection to your router.
3. Very strong signal but still speed issues
This problem is similar to the first one – but worse! Speed issues can cause buffering and lag in any and all video streaming. Check your Internet connection by plugging into your router with a wired cable. If the speed is much lower than what you are paying for, contact your Internet company to upgrade or troubleshoot to connection.
4. WiFi range isn't what it used to be
This is another problem that often goes hand in hand with range. When you first set up your home WiFi network, it might have seemed like you could connect anywhere in your house. But as you use it more often, you'll find that there are spots where signals are a lot weaker. That's usually because the walls or objects in between are blocking the signal of your router.
You can solve this issue by adding a WiFi repeater to your network. Repeaters will bounce the wireless signal off of surfaces that are in between your router and all connected devices. This way, you'll be able to connect more precisely and effectively.
A better solution for this problem is add a second WiFi router or switch using wired technologies like ethernet or power lines or ethernet over coax. This will offload some of the wired and wireless devices to the second router and also move devices closer to WiFi routers.
5. You have outdated router settings
That's right, it happens to the best of us. We all make mistakes from time to time. One of those mistakes is failing to update your router's settings. WiFi routers are regularly updated and improved with new security features and settings that are available online.
The best way to keep your router up-to-date is to keep tabs on the manufacturer's website. That way, you can make sure that you're using the latest and greatest security features. Your router company will update their models often, so make sure you have the most updated version for your needs.
6. You're running an unsecured / open WiFi network
This is one of the more common issues that people have with older equipment. If you're living in an apartment or own a building, and you never added a password/key to your WiFi network then their could be many neighbors piggy backing on your open WiFi connection and slowing down your Internet speeds.
7. You want a faster WiFi connection
For those of us who are internet junkies, there is nothing worse than having a slow internet connection. Even if you have a decent router, sometimes nothing can measure up to a wired connection. It's the fastest way to get online and will give you download speeds of up to 1 gigabit per second. Even if you don't have a home network, there are still plenty of restaurants and coffee shops that offer their own Ethernet connections.
8. Improve your WiFi with dual-band routers
The single biggest upgrade that you can make to your wifi network is getting a dual-band router. This is the best way to improve your connection and give you some additional security. You'll be able to use your network as two different networks at once, which gives you even more flexibility. Advance users typically create a network different network name for each band and assign low speed and IoT devices to the 2.4 GHz band and use the 5 GHz band for high speed WiFi Internet.
Another benefit is that dual-band or tri-band devices are almost always newer equipment and technology than single band devices and have more modern hardware and software that improves the stability of connections.
9. Why are my Internet speeds so slow?
Your speed isn't just a single number. Internet has an upload speed (from your device to the Internet) and download speed (from Internet to your device). Some Internet services packages have much lower upload speeds than downloads. While this wasn't a big deal many years ago now a days power users of Internet are sending large emails and using Internet for voice and video chats. These types of communications benefit from fast upload speeds.