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Your Home Has Spotty Wi-Fi? Here’s How to Troubleshoot

Of all the shelter-at-home tech complaints, spotty Wifi may be at the top. While the best connections sometimes stall, a few simple steps might fix chronic problems.

WASHINGTON – Tech problems have taken on greater significance in 2020 as more people work from home. One of the biggest complaints? A bad internet connection.

Sometimes even the best internet connection can stall, but in other cases problems seem chronic. What can you do?

As a first step, restart. Power down (unplug maybe) your router and modem. Next, close apps you don’t need on your internet-using devices to make sure background systems aren’t draining your internet service.

Once done, run an internet speed test to check your connection. Speedtest by Ookla can quickly test a connection’s download and upload speeds. Check the connection speed from different locations around the house to uncover potential dead zones. Also, check the speed near your modem and router to make sure your connection speed matches the level you’re paying your servicer to receive.

Still slow? Take your search deeper to discover reasons for glitches. For example, the app Netspot, which operates on Windows, Mac, iOS and Android, can complete an analysis of your home network and reveal possible dead spots. In a recent USA Today article, tech experts said you may be able to change wireless channels, use dual-band broadcasting and enable QoS (Quality of Service) to get your Wi-Fi connection operating more smoothly.

Internet dead zones can be common in large or oddly shaped homes. The closer you are to your router, the better the connection typically, so make sure the router isn’t tucked in a closet or set up in a basement corner. Routers work best when placed in the middle of the house.

“If you’re beaming Wi-Fi from one corner of your house, you’re sending 75% of your signal out to your neighbors, the backyard or the street,” according to The Washington Post. “Buy a long CAT5e Ethernet cable and string it between your modem and a more central location for your router.”

Also, make sure your router software isn’t out of date. Older models may require you to do upgrades yourself; newer models tend to do this automatically.

Still having problems? Call Florida Realtors Tech Helpline, a free benefit included with membership.

Source: “5 Common Tech Problems Gone With These Easy Solutions,” USA Today (Oct. 24, 2020) and “Bad WiFi Is Slowing You Down. Fix Yours Without Spending a Dime,” The Washington Post (April 29, 2020)

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