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Here’s 5 reasons why your WiFi Internet is slow and how to Improve it

Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN) or better known as WiFi is very popular nowadays and you can get connected almost anywhere; at home, at work, in schools, airports, hotels and even in cafe and restaurants.

WiFi is primarily used to provide internet access to any devices connected to a WiFi network and its major advantages include compatibility with almost every operating system, smartphone and game device, printers and more.

Most WiFi networks today transmit at the frequency of 2.4 GHz or 5GHz with the 5Ghz frequency offering much faster speeds. In general, 2.4Ghz gives you the best WiFi coverage but not the fastest speeds while 5Ghz network gives you the fastest WiFi speeds but not the best coverage.

Technically, WiFi standards such as 802.11ac (also known as Wi-Fi 5) works solely within the 5GHz frequency range and can support up to 8 spatial streams, with data transfer rates of between 433Mbps and 1 Gigabit per second. It also uses the MIMO technique introduced in 802.11n, an older standard. MIMO is Multiple Input Multiple Output where multiple transmitters/receivers operate simultaneously at one or both ends of the WiFi link allowing maximum Internet speeds over the WiFI networks.

A newer WiFi standard called 802.11ax, better known as Wi-Fi 6 promises to be a gamechanger. WiFi 6 is specified to operate between the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz frequencies (specifically between 1 and 6 GHz), with speeds theoretically in gigabits.

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But you are not going to get super-fast WiFi speeds if you don’t optimise your WiFi coverage – this responsibility is on you.

Just because you pay for the fastest package from your internet service provider (ISP), it doesn’t mean you’re actually going to get those speeds over WiFi – since WiFi is a public space and ISPs have no control over it.

If your WiFi network isn’t performing up to your expectations, there are many things that you can do to improve the situation.

Here’s 5 reasons why your WiFi Internet is slow and how to Improve it:

1. Distance from Your WiFi Router

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The further away you are from your WiFi router, the weaker the signal you get on your smartphone/laptop/PC – this also means you get slower Internet speeds or completely no signal in Deadzones.

For obvious technical reasons, WiFi routers don’t have the same transmitting power as cell towers, as per regulatory requirements. Cheap WiFi routers may even struggle to provide full WiFi coverage to a relatively small home – let alone an entire house.

The cheapest and fastest way to fix this is to invest in a Mesh WiFi system, for the best WiFi coverage.

You can determine the reach of your WiFi router by downloading and using a Wifi Analyzer app on your smartphone.

2. WiFi signal Obstructed

When you first sign up for a fixed broadband connection, the technician will normally set up the WiFi router at the place where the broadband or telephone line comes into the house. It’s tempting to just leave everything where the technician set it up – but it’s unlikely that this is an optimal location to have your WiFi router – and this affects your day-to-day WiFi Internet experience.

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WiFi signals can be partially absorbed or blocked by various obstacles and objects, including walls, furniture (cabinets/bookshelf) and home appliances (TV, microwave). This would impact especially your 5Ghz WiFi network since higher frequency signals can’t penetrate solid objects nearly as well as lower frequency signals (2.4Ghz).

If you have a dual band router, its best to turn on both 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz networks at the same time, so you get to enjoy the best of both WiFi signal.

Place your WiFi router at a suitable area, preferably at a central location in your Home and as high as possible to maximize coverage or install a Mesh Wi-Fi system.

3. Interference with other Electromagnetic Devices

Since WiFi signal is a radio frequency, it interferes with other electromagnetic devices such as mobile phones, microwave, walkie talkies and other electronics.

Your WiFi network could also be interfering with your neighbour’s WiFi network if both WiFi networks are using the same frequency channel. This is a common issue in densely populated areas and in condominiums/apartments. The solution is simple: find out which WiFi channel is occupied the least and switch to it. You will need to access your WiFi router manually to change these settings – look up for instructions online or contact your ISP. If your WiFi router is set to pick the channel automatically, simply restarting the router should do the trick (for faster WiFi speeds).

4. Upgrade your Router and your WiFi Devices

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Routers vary significantly in functionality and price. The WiFi router provided by your ISP is designed for casual and light usage, such as video streaming, light gaming and surfing the net.

However, if you have a big home and there are many people and devices using the same WiFi network, it’s time to upgrade the WiFi router (with more advanced technology such as MIMO and WiFi-6), or you could install Mesh WiFi to manage the load.

Using an older smartphone or an old laptop might also affect your WiFi experience.

5. Bandwidth hoggers

Sometimes, the problem is not with the strength of your WiFi signal but with the capacity of your internet connection. Video chatting or streaming on multiple devices can bring even a strong WiFi network to a crawl. It’s important to manage bandwidth hoggers and prevent them from taking up all the bandwidth from everyone else.

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If there are many people/devices using your Internet connection, you need a faster broadband plan with speeds such as 500Mbps or 800Mbps, for the best experience.

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Sign up for unifi Fibre Broadband now from RM79 a month – Worry no more as your unifi Installer will provide Wi-Fi assessment and advise you on the best Wi-Fi coverage solution to address the issue of Deadzone in your premise.

Here’s what to expect:

  • Registration: Order your preferred plan and receive your order number.
  • Confirmation: Receive a call for installation details
  • Installation: Relax while you wait for your unifi fibre broadband installation

Start here.

 

This article is brought to you by unifi.

As the nation’s enabler of connectivity, unifi champions the delivery of positive experiences to all Malaysians, from all walks of life, through products, services, and technologies that enable meaningful moments for everyone.

This brand promise calls for a shift in attitude and approach that focuses on designing our customers’ experiences based on the values that define them as people. This spirit propels our evolution as an organisation and solidifies our commitment to constantly facilitate digital adoption and create a converged lifestyle for all – across different backgrounds and income groups. This is our way forward to serve Malaysia and transform it into a truly Digital Nation.

About Kugan

Kugan is the founder of MalaysianWireless. He has been observing the mobile industry since 2003. Connect with him on Twitter: @scamboy