Tips for Faster Wi-Fi: Advanced Options

Here are a few tips that’ll likely require you to do a bit of research online and in your owner’s manual to figure out how to make fast Wi-fi.

fast wi-fi router computer researchPiotr Adamowicz/Shutterstock

Advanced Options for Faster Wi-Fi

Here are a few tips that’ll likely require you to do a bit of research online and in your owner’s manual to figure out how to make them work for your setup.

  • Update Router Firmware: Router manufacturers regularly update their software to improve performance and speed. And update your firmware even if your Wi-Fi speed is fine, as you’ll get updated security and features.
  • Update Computer Software: A computer has a Wi-Fi network adapter, which runs on driver software. Be sure your computer is up to date and has all the latest drivers from the manufacturer installed.
  • Dual Frequency Routers: Some routers can operate in 2.4GHz and 5GHz at the same time. Some of these routers automatically choose which frequency is best for a given situation. For example, when you’re far away from your router, it’ll choose 2.4GHz, but when you’re closer, it’ll opt for the faster 5GHz.
  • Find a Clear Channel: Most people use their router’s default channel, but if nearby wireless networks are on the same channel, you’ll get signal congestion. Go into your wireless settings and switch your router to broadcast on a less congested channel. Some routers do this automatically.
  • Set Priorities: Most modern routers have Quality of Service (QoS) tools to limit the amount of bandwidth that apps use. Enter your router’s IP address into your browser address bar to access your wireless settings. You can prioritize which apps and devices get the highest speed.
  • Use a VPV (Virtual Private Network): If some websites are faster than others, try a VPN. VPN is an online service offered by several providers for a small monthly fee, allowing you to create a secure connection to another network over the Internet. With a VPN, all  your traffic is encrypted and appears as if it’s originating from another location.
  • Dual WAN (Wide Area Network): Many midrange to high-end routers offer a “Dual WAN” option, which allows you to connect multiple ISPs and configure them for use in different scenarios. You can set up your router to operate in one of two modes:
    • Failover mode. Your router automatically switches to the second ISP only when the primary connection goes down. It’s typically used when the second connection charges for data usage (like cell adapters).
    • Load Balance mode. This uses both ISPs at once, sharing the load. Single large-file downloads won’t be faster, but overall performance improves when many people are using the internet at once.
  • Create Another Access Point: Run an ethernet wire to a different location in your house and set up another router with the same SSID and password. Devices will automatically connect to the stronger signal.
  • Install DD-WRT DD-WRT: is an open-source custom wireless firmware, created and maintained by people other than the router manufacturer. Many manufacturers now offer routers with DD-WRT already installed, but you can download it and install it yourself on a wide variety of routers. DD-WRT can improve performance and provide access to more advanced networking features.

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Brad Holden
Brad Holden, an associate editor at The Family Handyman, has been building cabinets and furniture for 30 years. In that time, he has absorbed so many slivers and ingested so much sawdust that he's practically made of wood.