Inside Tech: 4 ways to boost your wi-fi

Posted by Karen on Apr 28, 2016 12:00:00 AM
"I really wish my internet was slower" said absolutely no one ever in the history of language. This is why we’ve thrown together a list of simple tricks that you can follow to boost your wi-fi connection. Do they work? Oh, I don’t know they are only backed up by a little thing called science, so yeah? Has science ever been wrong? Yes, I don’t think so somehow. Firstly, let’s do some background work on wi-fi because I’m not sure what it is. It turns out that wi-fi waves are radio waves, not too different from the electromagnet waves you pick up with your smartphone. Whereas these waves can be hundreds of metres in length, wi-fi waves are just over 10 cm long, which to me, seems like an odd design choice. Anyway, what this means is that your signal gets weaker the further it gets from the router resulting in a poorer connection. But listen, can we combat this strange phenomenon? Yes – and what’s more we can do it in the only way that our target audience truly understands – by using Lord of the Rings references, obviously.

4. You shall not pass-word!

Clearly Gandalf was referring to Balrog when he uttered his most celebrated line in The Fellowship of the Ring. However, I like to think that he was, perhaps subconsciously, projecting his beef out on Balrog unfairly when really he was annoyed about those (famously sneaky) hobbits stealing his wi-fi password and hogging all his bandwidth back home in The Shire (I don’t know I’ve not seen it).

Anyway, what G-dog should have done is secured his router with a WPA password as without one it can be really easy to hack. If Gandalf was here right now I would tell him to head over to this article courtesy of Life Hacker and learn how to protect his wi-fi connection going forward.

3. The One hot spot

We all know that Frodo absolutely loved having The One Ring on his finger. However, whereas he was getting really sick powers in the form of invisibility, his hobbit mates were regularly losing out. Wouldn’t it have been better for everyone if The One Ring was put somewhere else? Like in fiery depths of Mount Doom for example.

This same logic applies to the placement of your router. Wireless routers shoot out a signal in all directions at once creating a sphere of connectivity. This connectivity sphere can easily be breached by walls and ceilings, whilst metal objects cause interference too. So what you want to do is strategically position your router in the centre of your house, or as I like to call it Middle Home, for maximum effectiveness and maximum signal.

2. 12 angry dwarves

Anyone remember that scene in the first Hobbit movie when the dwarves head over to Bilbo’s house and cause a real ruckus? Of course you do, it’s the best scene in the film. What you may not remember is the deleted scene wherein Bilbo sets up QoS on his wi-fi connection right before they all come over.

Like Bilbo, we all hate it when uninvited guests come over and smash our bandwidth. Luckily we can use Quality of Service – or QoS- for short – to put a cap on those bandwidth bandits (no relation to the actual Bandwidth Bandits). QoS allows you to prioritise certain applications (i.e web browsing) over others (i.e video conferencing) so the most important applications get first refusal. QoS simply ensures that Bilbo can still take care of business without those pesky dwarves hogging his net.

1. One does not simply get a great signal

So you’ve secured your connection with a slick password, you’ve chucked your router into a volcano and you’ve enabled Quality of Service but shock horror for some reason you are still struggling to download the latest Warcraft patch. What you actually need to do is go back to Mount Doom and ensure that Gollum is definitely dead.

Leaving desperate movie tie-ins aside for a minute, this cleverly refers to other electronic devices that might be piled up around your router. Devices such as TV’s, computers and pretty much anything else metal can block the signal so keeping your router away from such devices is a great rule of thumb when selecting its position. Keep Gollum (electronics) away from The One Ring (Router) and your speeds will soar.

That’s it for now as I can’t think of anymore Lord of the Rings references. Tune in next week for some more helpful tips and tricks courtesy of Inside Tech.

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