Get the most out of your Wi-Fi speeds

Slow Wi-Fi speeds waste time, turn streamed videos into bad slideshows, and puts your device in real danger of being lobbed out the window. Here are some steps you can take to identify, fix or improve your Wi-Fi speed.

Switch to a different browser
Some people use Internet Explorer, while a decent browser in its heyday, it uses a lot of resources to run. It has also been taken over by Microsoft’s new browser ‘Edge’. Moreover, as web pages become more advanced, the number of processes needed to load them grows, meaning you’re usually better off with a more advanced browser.

Mozilla Firefox – has the ability to block elements such as JavaScript, advertisements, Flash, and other things until you enable them.

Google Chrome – the most popular browser, and uses very little memory which is good for sites that have a lot of JavaScript and Flash.

Remove unwanted add-ons, extensions, and plugins
Though many plugins, toolbars and add-ons can make your surfing experience more efficient, others can slow down your browsing speed considerably. Try disabling these unnecessary plug-ins and add-ons to gain better browsing and downloading speed.

  • To turn off add-ons on Firefox, Go to Tools > Add-ons and disable both unwanted add-ons and plugins. Restart Firefox to put changes into effect
  • To turn off add-ons on Google Chrome, Go to Customize > Tools > Extensions and disable unwanted plugins. Restart Chrome to put changes into effect
  • To turn off Internet Explorer add-ons, Go to Tools > Manage Add-ons and disable unwanted add-ons. Restart IE to put changes into effect

Close unused tabs
Even if you aren’t looking at them, many pages automatically refresh themselves every few minutes or seconds to keep you in sync (news pages, Facebook, and Twitter are excellent examples). Close these when you’re not using them so they don’t eat up your bandwidth.

Allow (some) cookies and caching
While allowing cookies and caching means that parts of your browsing history or even your personal information will be tracked and/or stored, a lot of this is completely harmless and, in fact, allows pages to load more quickly. If you’re sceptical about opening the floodgates, keep your default setting to ban all cookies, then add sites you trust to your “Exceptions” list. Furthermore, don’t set your browser to automatically clear its cache every time it closes.

Re-position your wireless router
Either move your router to the room where it will get the most use, or position it in the most central location. Ideally, there should be a direct, unobstructed line of sight between your device and the router for best performance.

Check for any Wi-Fi interference
A very common problem people encounter when facing slow Wi-Fi speeds in their home is interference. This can be caused by many everyday items including microwave ovens, baby monitors, digital radios, old appliances such as fridges, and can even be caused by wire meshing used in some plaster wall constructions. If you have or use any of the above, simply turn them off and test your Wi-Fi speed. Through this process of elimination, you should be able to identify any interference causes.