Boosting your bandwidth

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) -- Wi-Fi is a revolutionary technology that uses radio waves for high speed internet connections. It allows us to hook up with the internet and stream audio and video, play games, and use social media. Although, headaches can happen when the signal is weak.

But, we have five easy steps to follow that'll put your Wi-Fi connection into overdrive.

We all know there's nothing more frustrating that when you jump on your computer, tablet or smart phone to watch your favorite show, and you gets stuck in the buffering zone. You have to wait and wait for your Wi-Fi signal to kick back in. Never fear, tech expert Bill Ramsey is here to help.

TIP 1 | Get a "fast modem" for internet access.

"So, I have a DOCSIS 3.0 modem which is going to give me the fastest speed that I can get through my internet provider," said Ramsey.

TIP 2 | You need a "powerful router" to create a booming Wi-Fi signal.

"This is an AC router. There are multiple kinds of protocols like A, B, G, N and AC. AC is the fastest. It allows for communications of up to 1300 megabits, which is even faster than my modem can go," said Ramsay.

Bill says a fast router costs about $200. The router must be fast enough to use the internet connection you purchased. According to Bill, the protocol determines how fast you can communicate over wireless.

"This particular router lets me communicate even faster than my internet connection can handle. So, I know I'm not going to have any buffering speeds," said Ramsey.

TIP 3 | "Location, location, location."

The most effective way to maximize your Wi-Fi strength of signal is to place your router in a central area of your home, like a living room. But, make sure it's up high. Bill says the router sends out a conical signal, sort of like an umbrella over the house.

"Now, bottlenecks are created by things that can interfere with a signal, like walls.  Every time you have a wall it brings down the signal, the more walls you have between you and your device the slower your speed will be," said Ramsey.

A router that's down low, or hidden can weaken your Wi-Fi signal strength. Walls, doors, even the insulation in your home, can affect the Wi-Fi signal. That's why you want to keep an open path.

TIP 4 | "Change the channel" for better speed.

Bill says you can change the channel on your router to maximize your speed.

"So, there are several channels: 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9 and 10.  But, there's really just like 3 that are used and the one that's used the most is 6.  Now, my devices I have here are setup to detect the best channel to run on. So, they'll go out and see what's running out there and this is the best channel they should run on for decent speeds." said Ramsey.

We set out to measure the Wi-Fi strength of signal in Bill's home.  Our smart phone gave us a hand.

"So, I'm going to use Wi-Fi Analyzer. I really like this one. It's a free app, this one is for Android," said Ramsey.

Right now, Wi-Fi Analyzer is only available for Android. But, there are similar apps available for iOS that measure strength of signal too.

We put our tips to the test to see if they helped. We measured upstairs in Bill's home.

"So, right now we're sitting here we're very close. We have full signal strength," said Ramsey.

We measured also downstairs in the basement.

"Right now, we are sitting at 58 megabits," said Ramsey.

We even used the Wi-Fi Analyzer outside of Bill's home.

"Let's just pull it up and see, we are currently at a wonderful speed of 104 megabits which is spectacularly good," said Ramsey.


TIP 5 | Get an "extender" for a stronger signal throughout your home.

Bill has an extender that helps to eliminate Wi-Fi dead spots in his home.

"This is an extender. This is picking up the signal from the wireless and it's making the connection and then it's rebroadcasting the signal out," said Ramsey.

Bill says a decent extender costs about $150. I know this all may seem confusing. The bottom line, will these steps get rid of your Wi-Fi buffering blues? Bill, says yes.

"Let's say we're watching movies and I've got the kids on tablets and I'm on the laptop. Even if we're all watching movies with this speed we shouldn't experience any problems, said Ramsay.

So, if you live in an apartment or condominium, how can you improve your Wi-Fi signal? According to Bill you don't need a super strong signal because of the smaller space. An average router and plan from your internet provider will do the job. The more powerful the signal you may be competing with others in your complex, and bogging down your speed.

As Bill mentioned, changing the channel on your router can also improve your router connection. Bill suggests changing the channel on your router, during busy times like the weekend. Bill says your router is probably defaulted to channel 6. The experts say your can go into our router's web control panel to change the channel. There are also some apps available that can change the channel on your router too.


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