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Improving wireless performance
Want to improve the performance of your wireless connection? This guide has some useful tips and solutions.
- Range - i.e. the distance between your router and computer
- Obstructions - e.g. thick walls, fish tanks, fridges and radiators
- Interference - other equipment in the house using 2.4GHz
- Refresh the connection
- Power cycle - that's a fancy way of saying turn it off, then back on again
- Update wireless drivers
- Third party wireless software issues
- Update your computer
In general, the further your computer is from your wireless router, the lower the signal strength will be. When the signal strength is low, there's a higher chance that you'll experience dropping connections, and the speed of the wireless connection will decrease. The range is affected by obstructions and interference.
Obstructions between your computer and wireless router make for lower signal strength; different materials have different effects. We've listed a number of obstacles you may have in your house, and suggest that you try and relocate your router where possible to see if the situation improves:
- Very high - metal
- High - concrete
- Medium - marble
- Medium - bricks
- Medium - stone walls
- Medium - water - (i.e. enclosed in a fish tank)
- Low - glass
- Low - plaster
- Low - wood
The following items can cause wireless interference:
- Other wireless routers, e.g. a neighbour's
- Cordless phones
- Baby monitors
- Microwave ovens
- HiFi speakers
- Computers - if obstructing wireless cards
- Older CRT computer monitors or TVs
- Wireless keyboards or mice
- Bluetooth devices
- Any other wireless devices using the 2.4GHz frequency range
The further away the source of interference is from the wireless router, the less chance there is that it will cause an issue.
Search our help channel for more help changing channel.
If the connection drops, you may need to refresh the connection. Messages like Limited or Limited or no connectivity may be received on a Windows computer. On Apple Mac's, the AirPort icon might display an exclamation mark or blink between grey and black.
The tips below may help:
- Internal cards on laptops. Try turning the wireless switch on the laptop off for a few seconds, then back on.
- USB wireless adaptors. Unplug the wireless adaptor for 20 seconds, then plug it back in.
- Apple AirPort. Click the wireless fan, and select turn AirPort off, wait a few seconds, then click turn AirPort on.
Turning your router and computer off, and then back on again fixes all sorts of wireless issues. Give it a go - it might just work.
If you're using an inbuilt wireless adaptor, it may help to contact the manufacturer to see if any driver updates are available. These might improve wireless connectivity.
If you're using wireless software on your computer that's not provided by Windows or Apple this may be the cause of the intermittent connection problem. We suggest you use Windows or Apple software to manage your wireless connection, and disable the third party wireless software. The manufacturer of your computer should be able to assist with this, if you're unable to locate an option to disable the software.
We strongly recommend that you update your operating system with the latest service packs. This is not only for security reasons, but also because many wireless connectivity issues are fed back to Microsoft and Apple, and then improved with new releases.