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Why is my wifi so slow and how to fix it

Simple solutions to speed up your home's wifi

Fixing Slow Wifi

Are your websites taking too long to load? Do you notice low-quality images when streaming movies and TV shows? Here’s why you may be experiencing slow wifi speeds and how to help fix it:

1. A distant router

The more distance there is between your device and the router, the longer it will take to send data between them. In other words, the farther you move from the wifi router, the weaker the signal will be. Move your router to the room in which you use wifi the most. For example, if you usually surf the web or stream movies in your room, place the router as close to this location as possible. At the very least, the wireless router should be on the same floor, if not in the same room, as your devices.  

2. Too many obstacles

Think of your wifi like a dart and obstacles like the wind. When throwing a dart on a windy day, the dart may slow or completely drop on its way to the target. Windows, furniture, fish tanks, metallic blinds, and mirrors can have the same effect on your wifi. Certain areas may also be considered obstacles like in a closet, behind a cabinet, near windows, or on the floor. When possible, move your router away from these items and areas.

PRO TIP:

Avoid mirrors and reflective objects like metal blinds. These can deflect signals from your router.

Wifi Blocked By Objects

3. Wireless interferences

Routers operate on one of two channels – 2.4GHz and 5GHz. Think of these like speeds in a race. 2.4GHz is like a marathon. Speeds are slower to compensate for going a farther distance. Alternatively, 5GHz is faster because it’s not traveling as far. Unfortunately, many other wireless devices also operate on a 2.4GHz frequency which can disrupt the strength of your wifi signal. Most often this includes smart refrigerators, microwaves, cordless phones, and even baby monitors. As so, Cox recommends the following distances between household appliances and your in-home wifi device:
 

  • Microwave ovens – approximately 40 feet

  • Baby monitors – approximately 20-40 feet

  • Cordless phones – approximately 20-30 feet

  • Bluetooth devices – approximately 20 feet

You may also consider upgrading to a dual band wifi modem. When nearby other devices running on 2.4 GHz (like a microwave or baby monitor), the dual band wifi modem can automatically upgrade your device to run on a higher frequency (5 GHz) free from interferences.

4. Other wireless devices

Wifi is all about bandwidth. Think of it like your home's plumbing system. When no one else is using water, you receive high-pressure water in your shower. But, when others turn on faucets or shower at the same time, you'll receive a lower pressure supply. The same goes for your wifi. The more devices that connect, the slower the speeds will be. Certain devices like computers or TVs usually use more bandwidth than mobile phones and tablets. Even then, certain activities require more bandwidth than others. For example, streaming and gaming may use 5 Mbps (megabits per second) whereas sending emails and surfing the web only use 1 Mbps. Old phones may also slow down wifi. In fact, it’s said that your wifi speed is only as good as your slowest device.

When not in use, turn off laptops, tablets, computers, and TVs. Certain mobile apps may silently hog your bandwidth, too. Look at your device settings and determine which platforms are running in the background. When possible, disable these configurations. You should also determine how other family members are using your wifi. If you want to stream a movie, make sure that no one else in your home is trying to game or stream other content at the same time. These activities can take up the same, high level of bandwidth and cause immediate connection problems.

5. An old router

Newer routers were designed to provide faster speeds. Older legacy wifi client devices using 802.11g or 802.11b can slow down wireless connectivity. As so, make sure you’re at least using 802.11n client devices to ensure that it can sustain the advanced speed demands from your devices. With a subscription to Cox High Speed Internet and Cox Telephone, you can receive an upgraded modem for free and enjoy a better online experience to surf, stream, and share on more devices.

Limit Wifi Use During Internet Rush Hour

6. Internet rush hour

Between the hours of 6:00 pm and 10:00 pm, you’ll likely suffer from a limited wifi connection due to internet rush hour. Be sure to download content before or after rush hour times. If possible, complete larger downloads (like software upgrades) overnight. Consider plugging your primary device into an Ethernet cable during these times to better help combat traffic.

7. Security

Protecting your wifi is as important as protecting your finances. You wouldn’t leave your savings out on the street. Someone could take it and you’d be left with less than what you started with. The same goes for wifi. Without password protection, others can steal your bandwidth, data, and reduce internet speeds. The recommended setting is WiFi Protected Access II (WPA2) and is the best security available. WPA2 is required for 802.11n and 802.11ac WiFi standards. Refer to Ways to Secure Your Wireless Network for more information.

Not all these problems apply to every home. As so, it’s recommended that you try one solution at a time and test your wifi speeds thereafter. To better ensure that your home receives the connectivity it deserves when it needs it most, consider upgrading to whole home wifi.

Ready to experience Cox Panoramic Wifi?

Wall-to-wall whole home coverage and no dead zones.

OTHER ARTICLES IN THIS GUIDE

Whole Home Wifi & Mesh Networks

They might be the key to improving your wifi. Learn about whole home wifi and mesh networks.

Extending Wifi Range

Near, far, wherever you are, make sure your wifi connection is in range.

Too Many Devices on Wifi

With wifi, the limit does exist. Find out if you have too many devices on your network.