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Tips for Improving WiFi in the Home

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Get the best Internet connection for you — and the little ones — by placing your router in an optimal location and securing your network, among other tips. (Cox Communications photo)

Getting great performance and optimal security out of your home WiFi can be tricky. Even if you’ve been setting up the basics for years, here are some quick tips that can help you get the most from your wireless connections.

» 1. Place your router in the best location possible. Most people just plug in the router and toss it on the nearest desk — or worse, into a drawer. A wireless router needs open space, away from walls and obstructions. Heavy-duty appliances such as refrigerators, washers, dryers or other electronics that are close to the router can impact WiFi performance. Avoid placing your router near a functioning microwave, as it can greatly impact your signal.

» 2. Update your router’s firmware. Manufacturers constantly update the software that runs your router. Keeping this software up to date is just as important as keeping your Windows or Mac OS up to date for security, features and speed. Most routers have a quick “update firmware” option built right in to the router’s settings, making this a painless process.

» 3. Replace your router’s external antennas with directional antennas. This can provide a significant boost in signal coverage overall, but it's particularly useful for people who have their router on one side of the home and their computers and devices on the other. By default, most routers come with omnidirectional antennas, which means the wireless signal is broadcast at roughly the same strength over 360 degrees. Replacing the default antennas with directional antennas redirects all the signal strength to a 180-degree arc to better power your home — that means more range, better signal strength and likely faster speeds.

» 4. Secure your network. Make certain your network has a password and your router is secured using WPA2. This keeps you safe and ensures your speeds are not compromised by unauthorized users. If your devices support the standard, make certain you use WPA2-PSK (AES) as the most secure router option. If you have older devices, they may only work with versions of WPA or WPA2 with TKIP. Keep in mind that if you use older devices, your WiFi network may be limited to 54 Mbps, regardless of your signal.

» 5. Consider other options. If your network still has issues with speed or coverage in your home, it may be time to look at wireless extenders or access points. These devices can extend your network by using your home’s electric lines or network cabling, or by using the coaxial cable already in your home.

» 6. When in doubt, call an expert. If you continue to have issues with your in-home WiFi, contact your local service provider. Cox customers, for example, now have access to Panoramic WiFi, in-home wall-to-wall coverage that provides the strongest WiFi signal ranges. Panoramic WiFi uses devices and tools to ensure the best speed, coverage and connectivity for all your devices, including the MyWiFi mobile app that allows you to see the state of your home’s WiFi health from the palm of your hand.

Click here for more information about Panoramic WiFi and Cox High Speed Internet, or call 888.557.1740. Click here for more stories behind life’s most important connections.

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