6 ways to get better Wi-Fi

About The Author

CNET Editor

Craig was sucked into the endless vortex of tech at an early age, only to be spat back out babbling things like "phase-locked-loop crystal oscillators!". Mostly this receives a pat on the head from the listener, followed closely by a question about what laptop they should buy.

Flaky Wi-Fi? You may not have to buy new equipment; just tweak your existing set-up.

Let's explode a major misconception first: buying a new router with fancy new wireless technology won't necessarily get you better speeds. Whatever equipment is connecting to, it also needs to support that fancy new wireless technology, effectively eliminating most smartphones, consoles, media streamers and a good swathe of laptops, too. If your phone only supports 802.11b/g, then 802.11ac ain't gonna help you much.

It's also worth ignoring the big number on the box. No single client will ever see the advertised 300/450/600/750/900/1300Mbps, as that's the total capacity of the router for all connected devices. Actual speed per device will vary massively, depending on the environment, capability of the wireless receiver and antenna configuration inside the device. To give you an idea of best-case scenario, the fastest speeds we've measured on 802.11n 2.4GHz, 802.11n 5GHz and 802.11ac 5GHz are 139Mbps, 205Mbps and 537Mbps, respectively. 802.11ac is awe inspiring, but barely anything is available yet that can actually receive that signal.

So, let's see how you can improve your current situation with minimum spend.

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logon5 posted a comment   

I made a cantenne the size of undergroud water pipe and now I can goto china or mars or wii(not urnus yet. not that deep)


PetterM posted a comment   
United States

Sometimes all you need is a few changes in the way you have routed a wifi network, and you can see a huge difference in the connectivity of your home of work wifi network.


ScottN1 posted a comment   

We had chicken wire in the walls at our old place and that killed all wi-fi. So beware, your house might be working against you too.


NicholasA1 posted a comment   

How do you change your router from 20MHz mode to 40MHz mode. There is no explanation anywhere.


WilfredV posted a reply   

Find the Router IP address and alter the settings on the relevant tab


Rebelstorm posted a comment   

The best way for me to get faster internet, is to move in with my Mother, they are installing the NBN in her street. :-O I'm on the edge of 2 Exchanges, need I say more.


trebor83 posted a comment   

Now if you can just look at ways of getting someone to upgrade a suburban telephone exchange so that I can actuall get ADSL...


DarrenH4 posted a comment   

Yeah tried switching to 40mhz from 20mhz and now my modem's speed has crashed by 75% and won't come back...GREAT THANKS!


GeorgeM4 posted a reply   

um that has nothing to do with your MODEM.


137 posted a comment   

Its useful but need more information

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