Here are 10 simple, inexpensive, and practical ways to improve your internet speed and stop buffering on Netflix. There are many suggestions out there for improving internet and Wi-Fi speed, but some are misleading or require advanced technical knowledge or a significant financial investment.
Here are some quick and easy ways to improve your Wi-Fi and internet speed without the need for advanced technical knowledge or a large budget:
Here are 10 cost-effective and easy ways to improve your internet speed and eliminate buffering while streaming:
- Restart your router and modem: Sometimes, simply turning these devices off and on again can improve your internet connection.
- Check for interference: Household appliances and other electronic devices can interfere with your Wi-Fi signal, so try moving your router to a different location.
- Update your router’s firmware: Keeping your router’s firmware up to date can help improve its performance.
- Use an ethernet cord: If you’re having trouble with your Wi-Fi, try connecting your device directly to the router using an ethernet cord for a faster connection.
- Change your wireless channel: Your router may be using a crowded wireless channel, which can slow down your internet connection. Try changing to a different channel to see if it improves your speed.
- Get a Wi-Fi extender: If you have a large home or a lot of walls, a Wi-Fi extender can help improve the range and strength of your Wi-Fi signal.
- Close unnecessary programs and devices: Too many programs and devices using the internet can slow down your connection. Close anything you’re not using to free up bandwidth.
- Upgrade your internet plan: If you’re consistently experiencing slow speeds, it may be time to upgrade to a faster internet plan.
- Use a VPN: A virtual private network (VPN) can help improve your internet speed by encrypting your data and routing it through a server in a different location.
- Clean up your computer: If your device is running slow, it can affect your internet speed. Make sure to delete unnecessary files and run a virus scan to ensure it’s running smoothly.
Performing a Speed Test: A First Step in Improving Your Wi-Fi and Internet Connection
It’s a good idea to run a speed test to see how fast your current internet connection is. Simply click the “Test Your Speed” button and wait for the results. If the speeds you are getting are lower than what your internet service provider promised, there are some steps you can take to try to improve your connection. If these tips don’t help, it may be time to contact your ISP to address the issue. Remember, you should be getting the speeds that you are paying for.
Relocate your router and adjust its antennas
By changing the position of your router and adjusting the placement of its antennas, you may be able to improve the strength and quality of your Wi-Fi signal. Try moving the router to a central location in your home and experiment with different antenna configurations to find the best setup for your space.
While it may be more aesthetically pleasing to keep your router hidden away in a cabinet or on a bookshelf, this can negatively impact the strength and reach of your Wi-Fi signal. If you are experiencing issues with your Wi-Fi, try moving the router to a more central location in your home where it is more visible. This may help to improve the quality of your Wi-Fi connection.
For optimal Wi-Fi coverage, it is best to place your router in the center of your home. This will allow the signal to reach all areas of your home evenly. It is also important to keep the router in a location with plenty of open air to prevent overheating and interference. Avoid placing the router near electronic devices, appliances, or metal objects, as these can disrupt the signal. If possible, place the router up high on a shelf or with a mount for better reach. It may be necessary to run cables along walls to reach the ideal location for your router, but this effort can pay off in improved Wi-Fi coverage throughout your home.
Adjusting the orientation of your router’s antennas can sometimes improve the strength and range of your Wi-Fi signal. Most modern routers have omnidirectional antennas, which means that they transmit a signal in a direction that is perpendicular to the antenna itself. Experiment with pointing the antennas in different directions to see if this helps to improve your Wi-Fi performance.
To optimize the position of external router antennas for the best Wi-Fi signal:
- If you live in a single-story home, point the antennas straight up.
- If you live in a multi-story home, point half of the antennas straight up and the other half at an angle or parallel to the floor.
If your router has internal antennas, make sure to stand it upright as intended. Do not lay it on its side or otherwise alter its orientation.
Upgrade your router’s firmware
Firmware is the software that runs on your router and helps to manage its functions. Updating the firmware can often improve the performance and security of your router. Check the manufacturer’s website or the documentation that came with your router to see if there are any available firmware updates. Follow the instructions provided to install the update on your router.
Updating the firmware on your router can help to improve its performance and enhance the security of your network. To update the firmware, check the manufacturer’s website or the documentation that came with your router to see if any updates are available.
You can usually install firmware updates through the main administration panel of your router, which makes it easy to download and install the updated software. By keeping your router’s firmware up to date, you can potentially improve your internet speeds and increase the overall security of your equipment.
If you are using a modem-router combo or router provided by your internet service provider, it is possible that you will not need to manually update the firmware. Some ISPs automatically handle firmware updates for the equipment they provide, so you may not have the option to update the firmware yourself.
For example, if you are using an Xfinity Gateway, it may not have a firmware update option because Xfinity takes care of updating the firmware automatically. It is always a good idea to check with your ISP or refer to the documentation that came with your equipment to determine whether you need to manually update the firmware.
Perform a reset on your router and modem
Performing a reset on your router and modem can help to refresh your internet connection and potentially improve your speeds. It is recommended to reset your router every month or so, or even daily if you are experiencing significant issues with upload and download speeds. If you have a separate modem and router, be sure to reset both devices. Resetting the modem can stimulate your connection to your ISP.
If you don’t want to manually reset your equipment every day, you can use an outlet timer like the Century programmable timer to automate the process. Simply plug your modem and router into the timer and set it to turn the system on and off at a certain time each day, such as overnight while you are sleeping.
This can help you to start each day with a fresh internet connection. Keep in mind that resetting your router and modem will not guarantee a significant increase in speeds, but it can be a simple and helpful troubleshooting step.
Connect devices to the internet using an Ethernet cable
Ethernet cables provide a faster and more reliable connection to the internet compared to wireless connections. An Ethernet cable delivers the signal directly to the device, rather than relying on wireless transmissions. If possible, connect your most important devices to the internet using an Ethernet cable.
This can make a significant difference in the speed and reliability of your internet connection. For example, connecting a home PC to the internet via Ethernet can lead to impressive download speeds and a more stable connection.
There are several devices that you can connect to the internet using an Ethernet cable, including:
- Gaming console (such as a PlayStation or Xbox)
- Laptop or desktop computer
Cabled connections like Ethernet are especially useful for devices that consume a lot of data, like streaming video on a TV. In addition to providing faster and more reliable internet speeds, Ethernet connections are also generally more secure than Wi-Fi. If you are concerned about keeping your personal information private, such as when accessing sensitive financial data, Ethernet may be the better choice.
Use an ad blocker to improve internet speeds
Displaying advertisements can slow down your internet connection, as the media associated with the ads consumes data. If you want to improve your internet speeds and reduce data usage, consider installing an ad-blocking plugin. Adblock Plus is a popular and free option that works on most web browsers.
Some virtual private network (VPN) services also offer ad blockers, such as NordVPN, Surfshark, and CyberGhost. By blocking ads, you can free up bandwidth and potentially improve the performance of your internet connection.
Adjust your Wi-Fi frequency and channel settings
After updating the firmware on your router, you may be able to improve your Wi-Fi speeds by adjusting the frequency and channel settings. These options can usually be found on the router’s settings page.
There are two main Wi-Fi frequencies to choose from: 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz. The 2.4 GHz frequency has a longer range but slower speeds, while the 5 GHz frequency offers faster speeds but has a shorter range. If most of your devices are within 10 feet of the router, you may benefit from using the 5 GHz frequency.
However, if you have a larger home with many rooms, the 2.4 GHz frequency may be more efficient in terms of data speeds. Experiment with different settings to see what works best for your specific situation.
Secure your Wi-Fi network and kick off unauthorized users
If you have a public Wi-Fi network or use a weak password, it is possible that other devices or users may be accessing your network and causing congestion. To prevent this, change your Wi-Fi password and only share it with devices that you want to have access to the network.
If you want to check whether any unauthorized devices or users are connected to your Wi-Fi, you can use an app like Fing, which is available for both Android and iOS devices. This can help you to identify any unwanted guests on your network and take steps to secure it.
If you come across a device on your Wi-Fi network that you don’t recognize, you can try walking around your house to see if any connected devices match the name or ask others in your home if they know what it might be. Some routers and internet service providers have device management settings that can help you to identify the devices on your network. Some examples of ISP apps and router device management guides include:
- AT&T Smart Home Manager
- Google Home and Google Wifi apps
- Linksys routers
- Xfinity xFi app
- My Spectrum App
By using these tools or asking others for help, you can determine which devices are connected to your Wi-Fi and take steps to secure your network.
Consider upgrading to a newer router
If your current router is several years old, it may be worth considering an upgrade. Newer routers often feature modern Wi-Fi protocols that offer faster maximum speeds and additional capabilities such as beamforming and Multiple-User, Multiple-Input, Multiple-Output (MU-MIMO).
These features can improve signal strength and allow more devices to connect to your Wi-Fi simultaneously without compromising signal quality. If you are considering purchasing a new router, check out our guide on choosing a router or our recommendations for the best Spectrum and Xfinity Wi-Fi routers, such as the TP-Link Archer A20.
Use a Wi-Fi extender or mesh Wi-Fi system to improve coverage
If you have areas in your home where your Wi-Fi signal is weak or non-existent, you may be able to improve coverage by using a Wi-Fi range extender or mesh system. A range extender receives your existing Wi-Fi signal and amplifies it, extending the range of your network.
A mesh system consists of multiple devices that work together to create a single, seamless Wi-Fi network. Both options can help to eliminate dead spots and improve the overall coverage of your Wi-Fi.
Wi-Fi extenders are generally a cheaper option, but they can be less efficient and may slow down your Wi-Fi speeds. They also require you to manually select the extender’s Wi-Fi network if you move around the house. Mesh systems are more expensive, but they can replace your old router to create a Wi-Fi network and are more efficient than extenders.
They also automatically select the strongest Wi-Fi signal as you move around the house. Consider your specific needs and budget when deciding which option is best for you.
Consider switching to a different internet service provider
If you have tried all of the other tips on this list and your internet speed is still slow, it may be time to consider switching to a different internet service provider (ISP). While this may not be an easy or simple solution, it can be practical and may even save you money in the long run. If your current ISP is unable to provide the speed and service you need, it may be worth looking into other options in your area.
You can use our zip code finder or check out our recommendations for the best ISPs to see if there are any alternative providers that offer better prices and faster speeds. Keep in mind that switching providers should be a last resort, but it may be worth considering if you are using satellite internet and have the option to switch to cable or DSL, which may offer faster speeds and more data.