Few things are worse than being in the middle of a Zoom call, and the other attendees start yelling, "You're breaking up!" "Your picture froze!" "You sound like you're under water!" All three of these afflictions are more than likely due to a slow WiFi connection. So what can you do about it?
The first thing you should check is your WiFi speed, I use a free site called SPEEDTEST.net. There you can see the time it takes between sending a request and receiving a response (called Ping), the time it takes to upload data (Upload), and the time it takes to download data (Download). Download is what most people focus on to see how "fast" their internet speed is in a particular spot in the house. If you're checking SPEEDTEST.net on your phone or a laptop, try moving from room to room to see how each location fares. Speed is measured in Mbps, or Megabits per second.
Next, look at how many Mbps you are paying for with your internet service provider (ISP). If you're paying Xfinity for 150 Mbps, and you're only getting 20, you're either far away from your router or there a lot of devices in your home eating up all of the bandwidth. On the other hand, if you're paying AT&T for 25 Mbps, and you're getting 20, then you're doing alright. If you're only getting 2 or 3 Mbps in the room where you use it most, then it might be time to upgrade with your ISP or look at some of the following options:
1. Make sure your router is located out in the open, as opposed to under a desk or in a cabinet. You want as clear of a path as possible for the signal to travel. Placing it high on a shelf, or at least on top of the desk is a good start.
2. Upgrade your router. Do you have an all-in-one modem/router provided by your ISP? Many times, these devices aren't as good as having a separate modem and router. Buying your own router can be a big boost in performance, plus you will no longer have to pay for renting your ISP's router.
3. Look into getting a mesh router system. This is a router that is built to work with little satellite nodes around your house to keep a strong signal throughout. Is it the same as a WiFi signal extender? No. Signal extenders create a separate network in a different part of your house. Once you fall out of range of one network, you switch over to the other one. They are typically less efficient and slower than mesh routers. Mesh routers, while more expensive, keep you on one network all throughout your house and are more seamless, efficient, and faster.
4. Try these other options: You could always move your computer and router closer together. Likely, though, you want to be able to work in your cozy den downstairs and don't feel like moving. Also, you're router isn't likely to be easy to relocate from where it's connected to the wall. And finally, you could try running a long ethernet cable from your router to your computer. But where's the fun in that if you're partial to keeping your mobility?
If you try the steps above, you'll have more information that will help you find the right solution. You will likely discover one of the options is easy and very effective. If you have questions about how to fix your WiFi performance, or need help in setting it up, please contact me.