YOUR WIRELESS NETWORK
- Add a Wireless Repeater/Access Point to extend the range of your wireless network. Of course, extending the wireless network without wires is “desirable” but this effectively cuts your bandwidth in half – whenever possible use a cable, which is dramatically faster and more secure!NOTE: The Repeater/Access Point should be the same manufacturer as your Router.
- You may need to replace your 2.4GHz cordless phones with either a 900Mhz or 5.8GHz style cordless phone due to interference.
- Choose your router and network adapters from the same company. Manufacturers usually have a proprietary “turbo” mode that only works when using both their router and network adapters. As a side benefit; your overall configuration is usually easier.
- Upgrade your 802.11a and 802.11b devices to 802.11g, which is much faster, and is backward-compatible with 802.11b devices.NOTE: A small one room environment (i.e. apartment, dorm room) with no future expansion should use 802.11a.
- If you are using 802.11g – do not allow 802.11b devices onto your wireless network. Your network slows down to talk with the slower devices!
- If you are using 802.11g – consider getting an MIMO antenna (which allows faster speeds at greater distances.)
- Whenever possible, connect computers using a wired connection! Yes, this is an “Anti-tip” because you’re not even using the wireless network – but a direct connection is dramatically faster and more secure!
YOUR WIRELESS ROUTER / ACCESS POINT
- If possible, place your wireless router (or access point) in a central location. Obviously, the closer you are to the access point; the better. But do not necessarily place the device on your roof (or up too high) – 4 to 6 feet off the ground is perfect.
- Move the router off the floor and away from walls, TVs, electronic appliances (microwave ovens), and metal objects (file cabinets). These will interfere with your network’s radio signals.
- Change your wireless channel. In the US and Canada wireless networks use channels 1, 6 (usual default), and 11. Avoid possible interference with neighboring wireless networks, by changing your wireless router’s channel and see if it improves signal strength or overall speed.NOTE: This doesn’t require any changes to your computer.
- Update your Router’s firmware. Most routers easily update their firmware directly from their software. Updates usually only add a new feature, or increase stability and security; but sometimes can improve performance.
- Try moving “around” the router’s antenna. Yes, I know this antenna is “supposed” to be omni-directional (meaning it broadcasts in all directions) – and moving it shouldn’t matter. . .but antennas can have strong and weak spots; wiggling the antenna can make a difference.
- Upgrade your router’s antenna. The antenna that comes with your device is low powered and omni-directional. Upgrade to a more powerful (powered) antenna. If your router is near an outside wall, get a high-gain antenna that focuses the wireless signals only one direction.
- Optimize Windows – But needless to say if Windows is running slowly, so will your wireless network.
- Apply all current Windows updates, and install and update AntiVirus & AntiSpyware software. OK, this doesn’t make your computer “faster.” In fact it can actually slow your computer down – but if you never get “infected” your computer will remain “fast!”
- If you’re not using Windows File Sharing – turn it off!
- Upgrade your wireless network adapter’s antenna. If your antenna is not “upgradeable,” you’ll be stuck purchasing a new wireless network adapter. NOTE: Portables with built-in WiFi usually have better antennas than the cheaper adapters that most portable own.
- Even though it’s more convenient to have a portable computer’s antenna horizontal – it should be oriented vertically (up & down).
- Update your Windows Wireless Network Driver. While Microsoft Update, is “supposed” to notify you of updates to your drivers – it’s best to visit the manufacturers website to double-check. Updates usually only add a new feature, or increase stability and security; but sometimes can improve performance.
- If upgrading a wireless network adapter, use an adapter card before using a (slower) USB adapter. USB should not be used simply because it’s “convenient” – but if there are no other viable method to upgrade from 802.11a – than use USB.
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