Remember, you won't achieve maximum possible Internet speeds by connecting your computer wirelessly. Check the Maximum Internet speeds on Google Fiber article to learn more about Wi-Fi and wired connection speeds. If after you've run a Google Fiber speed test and you're still experiencing slow Wi-Fi speeds, please use our Wi-Fi troubleshooter to resolve the problem.
A 2.4 GHz connection travels farther at lower speeds, while 5 GHz frequencies provide faster speeds at shorter range. Your choice of 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz will depend on where and how you use your WiFi connection most.
A lot of electronic devices and appliances use the 2.4 GHz frequency, including microwaves, baby monitors, security cameras, and garage door openers. If you have many of these in your home, or if you live in an apartment or condo, that 2.4 GHz band is likely to be congested, which can damage speed and signal quality.
If you're able to use most of your devices near your router, 5 GHz is your best choice to take advantage of higher speeds. Similarly, if you're doing a lot of high-bandwidth activities online, such as gaming or videoconferencing, it's best to use this frequency and move as close as possible to the router. (Better yet, plug directly into the modem with an Ethernet cable, as a wired connection is always more stable and faster than wireless.) Or if, as stated above, you're in an apartment or condo with many other units surrounding you, 5 GHz will help you avoid wireless congestion.
With a dual-band router, you can set it to transmit at both frequencies concurrently. In this case, you typically have two networks (SSIDs) that appear in your network list, with identical names except for a "5G" or "2.4G" at the end. You can then choose to connect each individual device to either network.
There can be a significant difference between the speed potential listed on a WiFi device and what that device can really do in everyday use. Understanding the factors at play will help you understand how to get the best speed and performance possible.
Theoretical speed is the maximum speed that is usually listed on the box. This can be misleading, because even if all conditions are ideal, you may not reach this speed all the time. It's important to understand that:
Problem: The location of your router and your computer or other devices can make it difficult to get a good wireless connection. Factors like physical barriers and interference from other WiFi networks can also affect performance.
NetSpeedMonitor x86 is a toolbar that monitors your network. NetSpeedMonitor shows you the upload and download speed of your NICs. It runs on Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, Windows Vista or Windows 7. On the site you can choose to download 64 bits version also. The speeds will be shown in the taskbar. If you point your mouse over them, the traffic for the session, day and month along with the name of the network adapter and the System Uptime will be also shown. Right-clicking over the toolbar, will provide you with access to its contextual menu. It will show you some info about the program, while allowing you to enable/disable network monitoring, watch the data traffic for the different network adapters and configure the different settings of the program, such as its units, precision, language, layout, database and tooltips. The contextual menu will also give you access to several links, some of them leading to Windows features, others to web sites. You will also be able to export/import the traffic data.
You might not need to buy a new router if you can fix the interference problems you're suffering. By reconfiguring your router and changing some of its more simple settings, you may find that your Wi-Fi troubles go away. We'll show you how to set up 2.4GHz and 5GHz networks properly. If you're still having interference or range problems, you may need some new hardware, but we'll cover all of that in the next section.
Although your router will run on a frequency band, such as 2.4GHz, underneath it's actually only using a 20MHz slice of the frequency, called a channel. For example, channel 1 for 2.4GHz networks uses the 20MHz slice between 2,412MHz and 2,432MHz. Unfortunately, most of the 2.4GHz channels overlap, causing interference: channel 2 uses 2,417MHz to 2,437MHz, for example.
It's not always that simple, though, as plenty of people don't follow this simple rule; for example, you may be surrounded by people using Channel 2, which overlaps both Channel 1 and 6. Picking the right channel isn't just about making the right decision based on technical data, but picking the right channel based on the networks around you, then.
Fortunately, this problem has been fixed with 5GHz networks, which has more channels, none of which overlaps. However, a neighbour maybe running a network on the same channel, causing interference issues. For both 2.4GHz and 5GHz networks, the trick is to set your router to use a channel different (where possible) to other wireless networks within range and one that doesn't overlap.
This isn't a perfect science and sometimes the interference or problems are caused by devices that you can't detect, such as a baby monitor or wireless doorbell. As a result, you may need to change channels a couple of times to see any improvement.
The first place to start is with a Wi-Fi Scanner for your computer. These scan for wireless networks within range and tell you which channel they're running on, and the base frequency (2.4GHz or 5GHz). WiFi Scanner for Mac (£19.99) is a brilliant and useful tool. For Windows, you can use inSSIDer Home (free). This has been replaced by a newer paid-for version, but the old version still works perfectly well.
Alternatively, Windows users can use WiFi Channel Scanner (free). This only shows you the channel of the network, not the frequency, and has an odd quirk with 5GHz networks, but it's still possible to work out what's going on. Channels 1 to 13 are 2.4GHz networks, while channels 36 and above are for 5GHz networks. However, WiFi Channel Scanner doubles the channel number for 5GHz networks, so channel 72 is really channel 36. There are no Wi-Fi scanners for iOS, as Apple had these removed from the App Store. Android is more permissive, so you can use Wifi Analyzer.
For 2.4GHz networks, look at the most used channels. For example, you may find that most of your neighbours are using channel 1. Using the chart above you can pick an uncongested channel farthest from the one most used. In this example, channel 11 would be ideal, but channel 6 would also work.
There's nothing to stop you using Channels 7, 8, 9, 10, 12 or 13, as these don't overlap Channel 1. We don't recommend that you do this, though. Part of owning a wireless network is being a good neighbour and picking a channel that doesn't cause too much interference. In other words, look at the channel with the greatest concentration of wireless networks, then use our chart to pick an alternative channel of the same colour; this will make it easier for other people to add or configure their networks, too.
Note that in some areas, there are so many wireless networks using all kinds of channels that it's impossible to choose a channel that doesn't overlap any others. You may find, for example, that some routers around you are using channels 2, 3, 4 and 5, as well as 1. In this case, you'll need to pick a channel that doesn't overlap the most congested area, so channel 11 in this example. Ultimately, with so many wireless networks around, you may just have to pick the channel that gives you the best result, regardless of the consequences for other people.
Network Speed Monitor is a simple app that lets you monitor network activity. Once installed, the application will run on the menubar. It will display both upload and download speeds. This information will only be available when you are connected to a network. If you click on the menubar icon, you will find a menu that lets you change some settings. The only two things that you can modify are the refresh interval and the unit type. By default, the information is refreshed every 1 second and the unit used is bytes per second. You can change the interval to anything between 1 second and 10 seconds, and if you want, you can change the unit to bits per second.
I tested the application by doing things like downloading torrents, watching videos on YouTube and moving files on my network. The application provided accurate readings most of the times, but in some cases, when I was transferring data from the Internet, the readings were very close to 0. This happened when I was watching a video on YouTube.com. Most of the time the readings were near 1000 kilobytes per second, but mid-way through the video, the meter went back to 10k, and I could see the video was still buffering, and quite fast, by the way.
Before you start to make changes to your Wi-Fi network, you should run a network speed test to get a baseline for your network performance. (You can get a network speed test app from Microsoft Store.) Run several tests at different places in your home and record the results. After making changes to your network or setup, run the speed tests again to see if your Wi-Fi performance has improved.
Though it's less common, the channel width setting for a 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi network can cause problems. 2.4 GHz band networks have two channel widths: 20 MHz and 40 MHz (40MHz was introduced later with the IEEE 802.11N specification). While the 40 MHz channel band offers more throughput, some older Wi-Fi network adapters and drivers don't work well with it. If you're not getting a reliable Wi-Fi connection but your signal strength is strong and the Wi-Fi channel is clear, check the Channel Width setting for your access point by signing in to it. Typically, it'll be set to Auto or 20/40 MHz or something similar when you get it. If your access point or router is set to one of these, try setting it to 20 MHz instead.
Avoid using WEP or a hidden SSID, which isn't secure. If possible, try to avoid using WPA+WPA2 for your network security type. When your router or access point is set to this, your PC or another wireless device will try to use WPA2 first, and then fall back to WPA if it can't connect using WPA2. However, some of the older Wi-Fi network adapters can't reliably fall back from WPA2 to WPA, so you won't get connected sometimes. 2b1af7f3a8