How can I optimize and strengthen my wireless home network?

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Cogeco support
  • Updated

There are several things you can do to optimize and strengthen your wireless home network for the fastest speeds and most reliable signal:

Use a wired connection where possible

Using a wired connection is especially beneficial with devices that use a lot of bandwidth, such as Smart TVs and gaming consoles. Not only will you get the fastest, most reliable speeds on these devices, but it will also improve your Wi-Fi connections on other devices.

Watch this video to learn more about wired vs. wireless connections.

Improve the location of your access points

The location of your modem, extenders, or Wi-Fi Pods affects your signal and speeds throughout your home. Here are some other things to consider when selecting a location:

  • Select a central location or one where you use your Wi-Fi-enabled devices most often. This is because the distance from Wi-Fi equipment affects Wi-Fi performance and signal strength. Note that the size and layout of your home may also impact performance. This means wireless coverage may be limited in some areas in large or multiple-level homes.
  • Elevate the modem on a table or stand. This maximizes its ability to broadcast a solid, dependable wireless signal.
  • Place your modem out in the open. Avoiding closets, cabinets, house structures (such as concrete) and steering clear of other electronics can help avoid interference and signal obstruction.
  • Note: If you are using Cogeco Wi-Fi Pods, your modem will no longer be broadcasting the wireless signal so it will not require unobstructed placement.

Remove signal interference

Keep your modem away from large metal objects and electronics, such as microwave ovens, cordless phones and Bluetooth devices. Since you’re using radio waves to connect to the Internet over Wi-Fi, items and materials in your surroundings can impact your home's Wi-Fi performance, such as:

  • Wi-Fi-enabled devices that are turned on but not connected to your network
  • Older Wi-Fi devices (with Wi-Fi cards using protocols 802.11 a, b, g or n)
  • Baby monitors, microwave ovens and cordless phones (2.4GHz models)
  • Metal (steel construction materials, doors, etc.)
  • Concrete and brick
  • Glass (winterized windows, patio doors, aquariums, etc.)
  • Note: With Cogeco Wi-Fi Pods, the same general guidelines about location and placement still apply for each pod, but you can also validate the signal quality through the Cogeco Wi-Fi App. On the Adapt tab, the signal quality is noted next to each pod ("Excellent", "Fair", etc.).

Use the 5 GHz band when possible

There tends to be more Wi-Fi network congestion in urban areas, since there are often several wireless networks in close proximity. That's why congestion is more likely to occur if you live in an apartment or condo. Since Wi-Fi is shared across the same radio frequency, the radio band can become overloaded when many users are trying to watch videos and surf the Internet at the same time. This can result in slower speeds or service interruptions for everyone. For solving congestion problems, try connecting to the 5GHz band instead of the 2.4GHz band. To do this, search names of available wireless networks for the one that matches your default SSID, with “-5G” at the end, then connect to it. For example, if your default SSID for your 2.4GHz network is “C906081B7375”, your SSID for your 5GHz network would be “C906081B7375-5G”.

Good to know: Cogeco Wi-Fi Pods and newer modems, such as the ARRIS TG3452 and Hitron CODA-4589, use a feature called Band Steering to automatically select the optimal band, so you will not see a 5G SSID but will still be connected to 5G automatically when possible. 

To learn more about the difference between the 2 bands, watch this video.

Other causes of slow speeds

If you're experiencing slower-than-expected speeds, here are a few factors to consider, and what you can do about them:

  • There could be an issue with the channel over which the Wi-Fi modem is transmitting. Consult the video below for more information or refer to our article on changing the channel of your Wi-Fi modem.
    • Note: If you are using Cogeco Wi-Fi Pods, the optimal channel will be selected automatically and cannot be changed manually.

  • You may be using an older device, which isn't capable of the speeds available with our latest Wi-Fi modems. To determine the speed capabilities of your Wi-Fi-enabled devices, have a look at the documentation that came with each device.
  • There may be a lot of devices using your wireless home network at the same time. Each device that connects to your network uses a portion of the available bandwidth. Try disconnecting the devices that don't need to be connected right now.
    • Note: If you have Cogeco Wi-Fi Pods, you can view which devices are connected to each pod through the Cogeco Wi-Fi App. Go to the Adapt tab and select a pod to manage its connected devices. This is a good way to check for unknown devices and disable them to see if they are affecting the network.

Good to know: The speeds you can get with a Wi-Fi connection will almost always be slower than with a wired connection.

Troubleshooting

If you have multiple Internet access points, turn your device’s Wi-Fi off then back on again

If you have multiple extenders (known as access points), and you move around your home with your wireless device while connected to the Internet, your device will remain connected to the same access point until it can no longer access the signal. This is true even if there is a stronger signal on another closer access point. To get the best signal quality while moving around your home, try turning your Wi-Fi off and back on again. Your device will reconnect automatically to the strongest available signal.

Note: This is only occurs with our previous generation of ARRIS and Hitron extenders. With Cogeco Wi-Fi Pods, you will automatically be connected to the optimal access point as you move through your home.

If you are having intermittent connectivity, consider which devices are affected.

If all of your devices are experiencing intermittent connectivity, it's most likely an issue with your Wi-Fi modem’s settings and/or location (or your Cogeco Wi-Fi Pods, if applicable). 

However, if only certain devices are experiencing intermittent connectivity, it's most likely a problem with an individual device or a placement issue. Try consulting the manufacturer of the device that's receiving the weak signal.

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