5 Ways to Speed Up Your Home Network

Has your home network become more of a tortoise than a hare? Check out these five practical suggestions on routers, Wi-Fi, Powerline gear, and more.

Maybe you're tired of paying the cable company and want to get your movies and other entertainment from the Web. Naturally you'll want to watch those shows on your TV with the aid of a Roku box or similar device. More and more people are doing that, and if you want to join the crowd, you've got to be sure you're home Internet network is up to the challenge.

Connected TVs are an utter drag without a fast network. Squeezing the most out performance out of your network is called optimizing, and it isn't very hard, and it doesn't have to be all that expensive.

Here are five things that will make your home network so good you'll be able to say farewell to your cable company.

But first, let me warn you about one thing: Your wireless network simply can't run any faster than your Internet connection. If you have reason to think your network isn't running as fast as it used to — or as fast as it should, given your hardware — go to http://www.speedtest.net/ and check your download and upload speeds and compare them to what your provider says you're getting. Obviously you want to check the speed on a wired connection first to rule out (or identify) your ISP as the culprit.

1. Move the Router

With that out of the way, let's start with the very simplest technique to optimize your wireless network. I know this sounds simpleminded, but trust me: Think about moving your router to a more central location, or to a room that doesn't have thick walls or a lot of other equipment that might cause interference. The router broadcasts a signal that spreads in a sphere, so if it's centered on the back of the house, or in the basement, the signal might not make it to all the rooms where you'd like to connect a device to the Internet.

2. Consider Your Cordless Phone

Cordless phones can cause interference since some of them broadcast on the same channel that your router does. If you think it's an issue for you, try changing channels on the phone and see if that cleans up your connection.

3. Buy an Extender

Let's say your biggest issue is extending the range of your network, and moving the router is simply not practical. One way to go is to buy a range extender. There are a number on the market for under $100. However, you'll pay a performance penalty since extenders degrade the strength of the signal. That might not matter if you're just surfing the Web, but if you're a serious online gamer, they're not. Nor are they a good way to hook up the new generation of televisions and boxes (like the Roku) that stream movies and video into your TV.

1 2 Page 1
Page 1 of 2
7 secrets of successful remote IT teams