Are your goldfish sabotaging your Wi-Fi signal?

Check out our 5 ways to boost Wi-Fi signal at home, from pesky plants to gobbling goldfish.

From quickly mastering video conferences and virtual events at home during lockdown, to renowned sporting prowess in rowing, show jumping and now cycling, Britain has developed a unique knack of achieving success whilst sat down.

Take cycling for example. A new philosophy of ‘marginal gains’ turned a nation of losers (no Olympic gold for a century) into world beaters. Everything was broken down and improved by 1% for Team GB. Bespoke pillows provided slightly more sleep; white paint revealed slightly more dust. All added up, it has produced a new era of golden dominance.

And with demand soaring like never before for remote working and home entertainment, now could be the perfect time to apply the same method and squeeze every last drop out of your router to help boost Wi-Fi signal around your home.

We know the route of the problem is that adequate broadband connections that are struggling to cope with the demands that many devices connected to the router at once can cause – a problem we’re helping to resolve by rolling out future-proof gigabit capable, full-fibre broadband in rural East Anglia. But until everyone is connected to this sustainable future network, check out our top tips.

Credit: New Africa

Digital Distancing

Reducing the distance between your device and broadband router, especially if you live in a large house, can improve results. Bookcases have become a surprise hit in lockdown, filling the backgrounds of TV interviews, but they shouldn’t have routers tucked away gathering dust in them. If you can see it, ideally in the same room, you should get a stronger signal.

If you are home alone, plug your device directly into your router with an old school Ethernet cable. Wired trumps wireless. If you have other family members to consider, place the router in the middle of your home. Remember to keep it away from walls, metals and electronics – and be aware of obstructions that can absorb your signal, including furniture and people.

Mesh Connections

Your signal may just about be strong enough to stream Netflix in your lounge but becomes sluggish upstairs or out on the patio. You may even have ‘dead spots’. To help tackle this frustrating problem, more people are turning to mesh networks.

Unlike Wi-Fi extenders, a cheaper option which simply broadens the existing signal, mesh networks are complete replacements for your home Wi-Fi. Typically, you place two or three router-like devices around your property to create whole-home Wi-Fi coverage.

These identical units are effectively new hubs and talk to each other to seamlessly connect your laptop or phone to the strongest signal. They have the same network name, multiple radios to send and receive data simultaneously (2.4GHz and 5Ghz), provide easy central management – and are simple to set-up.

Router Updates

Check to see if your router needs updating as old firmware can result in worse performances than routers which are properly and regularly updated. Manufacturers often tweak software to squeeze out extra speed and efficiency. Depending on the age and type of your model, this could be a little cumbersome, such as downloading and then uploading a firmware file, but it could prove to be a vital cog.

Broadband Overload

Like the A12 or any motorway, easing congestion can improve speed and efficiency. Have you left on Google Home or Alexa? Is your tablet upstairs downloading automatic updates? These devices often consume data from your router in the background. Remember, it all adds up.

Radio Interference

Did you know microwaves can slow your speeds? Along with baby monitors, phone and actual radios, they can interfere with your Wi-Fi signal because they’re occupying the same radio frequency. You can change your channel by delving into your router’s settings and manually selecting one. The default automatic setting should choose the least congested channel but testing out manual overrides could deliver better signals and faster speeds.

Are Your Goldfish Sabotaging your Wi-Fi?

But it’s not just radio waves that can interfere with your broadband signal, we advise that you should keep your router positioned away from metal objects, mirrors and walls made of sheet metal. Surprisingly, even your fish tank could be absorbing your signal! Experts suggest plants and water may absorb up a 2.4 GHz wireless signal, significantly reducing the reach of Wi-Fi.

If you have a dual-band router, you may find it’s best to switch to 5Ghz band (usually quicker but less likely to circumvent solid objects) rather than the more common 2.4Ghz band.

The first-rate routers we’re providing as standard to premises that connect to our Hyperfast full-fibre broadband networks, offer peace of mind for fast and reliable performances.