You’ve got plenty of options: Take a look at the Linksys AC1900 ($99, Amazon) or the Netgear EX7300 ($88, Amazon). Make sure the maximum supported Wi-Fi standard (e.g., 802.11ac) matches that of your router so you get as speedy a connection as possible.
7. Use Your Electrical Wiring
An alternative to extenders is a power line kit. Digital signals can pass through electrical wiring, and power line devices are designed to take advantage of this. Several manufacturers make power line networking kits, including Netgear ($120, Amazon) and TP-Link ($60, Amazon).
It works like this: You connect a power line plug to your router, then put the plug into a wall socket. Add another power line plug in any other room in your house, and it can provide a wired or wireless connection to that room. There will be some drop in speed, but it’s a simple and effective option. Unless your home is particularly old, it should have electrical wiring that supports this, but it’s best to buy your kit from a retailer with a robust return policy just in case.
8. Add a Password to Your Wi-Fi
We probably don’t have to tell you this, but you need a password on your Wi-Fi network. It’s good for keeping hackers away and keeping neighbors from Netflixing off of your bandwidth, which will slow you down. Make sure you use AES encryption, which is both the most secure and most speed-friendly security option.
9. Cut Off Unused Devices
Having dozens of things tapping into the Wi-Fi at once can be problematic. Plug anything you can into Ethernet, and unplug anything you have connected but don’t need (like that “smart” tea kettle you never once got to work). Make sure only the things that need internet get internet.
Good routers (all of the routers listed above, for example) offer controls to prioritize a particular device or service. It’s a handy way to make sure your games never get interrupted by someone else streaming videos on Facebook.
10. Check Your PC
This tip is specific to computers: If the internet on your PC or laptop is perpetually slow but other devices seem fine, open your Task Manager or Activity Monitor and see which programs are running in the background. Certain programs could be set to auto-update that don’t need to be. If they’re always updating in the background, that could be the cause of your slow internet. Check it out and adjust the settings.
11. Restart Your Router?
We’ve read this tip many times on the web, but we were skeptical. Restarting your router regularly sounds like an extension of the age-old pseudo-solution to everything digital: Reboot it. Yes, we know restarting your router can sometimes fix dead internet, but we asked router maker Netgear: Does regularly rebooting your router help speed things up? The short answer is, probably not.
Sandeep Harpalani, vice president of product management at Netgear, says the company does not recommend rebooting its routers “unless you actually encounter issues with connectivity or slowdowns due to radio frequency interference.” He adds that if you’re still using 2.4-GHz Wi-Fi and you’re having speed troubles, rebooting might help, since it will force the router to choose the best channel with the least interference during boot-up. If you’ve made the jump to 5 GHz, it will automatically switch to the channel with the least amount of interference.
Either way, there’s no reason to reboot regularly. If you are having persistent problems, then it may be worth restarting your router, but for the most part, stick with our other tips.
12. Call Your ISP
If you’ve tried it all and still have problems, you can always contact your internet service provider. They may send a service technician out, who might be able to pinpoint an overlooked issue that is getting in the way of you and fast Wi-Fi.