1. Have you tried turning it on and off again?
Don't worry, we can also hear our mum's voice in the back of our minds telling us to do this... But Sometimes our Modems, NBN connection boxes and Wi-Fi routers really do need a good old fashioned reboot to start running smoothly again. Make sure to double-check your product manual before you do this as each connection technology has its quirks and works differently.
To do this properly, you not only need to turn it off and on again but ideally, you should unplug it from the power and wait 30 seconds. This gives the capacitors inside, which store a very small amount of power, enough time to discharge and fully shut down the device.
Once you connect it back to power and start it up, its standard reboot process should make sure everything is working smoothly again.
2. Update your router's firmware
Not only will you be safer and more secure from cybercriminals, but this might also solve your problem! Usually, on the bottom of your router, you will find the information on how to access its settings menu. No menu is always the same, but you should find a notification telling you to update. You'll lose connectivity while it updates, but this should only take a few minutes.
3. Where's your router located?
To get the most of your connection, Wi-Fi routers work best when they're in a clear line of sight. Aim to place your router out in the open about 1.5 to 2 metres from the ground.
The best spot is usually where you most use the internet, such as your lounge room. However, your router placement will be restricted to where your internet connection port is.
Common Wi-Fi blockers are:
- TVs and other digital devices
- Fridges and other washing machines
- Books if closed in around the router
- Fish tanks
- Floors between storeys
4. Gear up to improve your signal
Some home layouts mean you can't get Wi-Fi everywhere, no matter where you put your router. That's why Wi-Fi extenders exist!
Wi-Fi extenders pick up and pass on a Wi-Fi signal, but they may use a different network name and password than what is set on your router. You need to manually switch between them as you enter areas where the signal for each is stronger, or set it up as an automatic connection on your devices.
5. How are your uploads?
If you're one of the few who is still connected through ADSL, or if your NBN connection isn't that good, you might want to check how much you're uploading.
'Uploads' refer to the data that you're sending out to the internet. Examples of this include sending out messages, emails, or updating your Facebook status.
ADSL generally has pretty low upload speeds that can't keep up with how much our modern devices rely on uploading data to the cloud. This can be a bit frustrating to track which apps and programs are sucking up your upload speeds, but keep an eye out for anything that keeps syncing or updating in the background. These include apps such as Google Drive, Dropbox or Onedrive. In your phone app settings, you should be able to disable certain apps from background downloads.