How to Increase Wireless Internet Speed

By Gregory Hamel

Wireless networking is becoming an increasingly common Internet solution as more laptops and desktops come installed with wireless network adapters. Despite all their conveniences, wireless networks can sometimes run slower than their wired counterparts because of the weakness of wireless signal strength and other issues. If your wireless network is running slow, there are several steps you can take to optimize speed.

Step 1

Make obstruction-free paths between your router and receiving computers. The more physical obstructions there are between your router and computer, the weaker the wireless signal is likely to be. Placing the router in a central location with clear sight lines to your computer will help boost the signal.

Step 2

Use a wireless repeater. Sometimes it is not possible to move a router and computer to create direct sight lines, or a computer might be too far from the router to get a strong signal. A wireless repeater takes in a wireless signal and sends it back with increased strength to increase the signal's range. Using a wireless repeater between your router and computer sends a signal around obstructions and can boost performance.

Step 3

Reduce signal interference. Just like radios, when two wireless networks are in the same area, they can interfere with each other. If you know another wireless router is near yours, consider moving the router to a different area or ask the owner of the other router to move his.

Step 4

Get a new network card. Newer wireless network cards are generally more powerful and can pick up signals better. Additionally, newer cards can use higher-end wireless technologies that allow for faster transfer speeds. Wireless 802.11B cards are slower than wireless 802.11G, and wireless 802.11N cards are the fastest.

Step 5

Reduce network usage. Sometimes slow Internet use on a wireless network isn't the fault of the network but that too many users are connected to the network. Disconnect other computers connected to the network to free bandwidth and increase speed. Setting up password protection for your router is also important to block free riders from connecting to your network and slowing it. Check your router's user manual on how to set up a password.

Tips & Warnings

  • Sometimes your Internet connection speed will be limited by the receiving computer not your network's speed. Some websites just run slow.Updating the drivers for your wireless network card can improve performance.