How many times have you sat down to watch something on Netflix or another streaming
service only to get a notification halfway through the movie that your internet connection is too
weak to continue? It can happen more frequently now than it did a few years ago because
you’ve added a few devices to your home.
Everything that connects to the internet eats up just a little bit of the speed of your WiFi network.
There’s only so much data and information that WiFi routers can support. You might notice a
buffering problem while watching TV if the kids are playing video games online. Combine
streaming games and movies with all of the little things from Alexa devices to doorbells, to
phones, computers, and tablets, and the WiFi signal becomes overwhelmed. It isn’t going to
magically begin offering faster speeds.
If you’re not getting the speed that you need there are a few things you can do to improve your
home WiFi and keep everything playing at once with no buffering.
First, it might not be your WiFi router but your modem and internet provider. Check there first by
getting on the internet on a computer and bypassing the WiFi router. Connect the computer to
the modem directly using an Ethernet cable, then go to speedtest.net. See if it matches what
you’re paying for on your internet bill. If speeds are slower, contact your internet provider and
ask them to take a look.
Place your WiFi router as close to the middle of the house as possible and away from other
appliances that can cause interference.
Next, check the WiFi signal of the router by connecting to WiFi on a phone and run the speed
test again. Do this in several rooms of the house. If the test shows drastically slower speeds, the
router may be to blame. WiFi technology has improved drastically in the past few years so if
you’re using a router that’s 5 years old or older, you may need to upgrade to a WiFi 6 router for
If you still need to do it download the app for your router. You can see all of the devices
connected to it and shares the signal. You may see 20 devices online and 50 others that will
connect when they’re turned on such as gaming systems, streaming devices, computers, and
phones. Most router apps allow you to give some devices higher priority while all of the other
connections share the remaining signal.
The app also controls updates. Make sure your router has the latest software, not just for speed,
but regular security updates. I suggest turning on automatic firmware updates. You should also
restart the router every couple of months at least. More often if you’re having trouble with it.
If you’re still getting buffering or poor connection notifications while watching TV, you may want
to pick up a mesh network of routers.
You place these around the house and they improve the signal in areas and rooms. Or pick up a WiFi extender that plugs into an electrical outlet and connects to the primary router to extend the signal.
And there’s a common mistake people make with these extenders. They place them in the room
where they want the signal boosted. Instead, place them about halfway between the router and
the room that needs faster WiFi. If a bedroom TV isn’t getting a fast enough signal to stream
Netflix, you’ll probably notice a difference when you connect it to the extender’s signal.