1. Get up to speed

First, let’s go over some basics. Wi-Fi does not actually mean “wireless fidelity.” Its real name is a number: 802.11
There are 802.11a/b/g/n and the latest technology is 802.11ac which is the fastest in transfer speed.

2. Prepare to pony up

As we mentioned above, the newest Wi-Fi standard, 802.11ac, is roughly three times faster than the previous champ, 802.11n. In geek-speak, each 802.11ac antenna can move up to 1,300 megabits of data per second (vs. a max of roughly 450 megabits for n). So I’ll just get this out of the way: The easiest and fastest way to get more performance out of your Wi-Fi network is to buy a new 802.11ac router.

3. Find the sweat spot

Start by making sure you have put the router in the optimal place. Remember, WiFi signals hate water. They are also not too crazy about metal, glass, brick, insulation, and human bodies; all these materials can impede the signal. For the fastest, most reliable connection, put your router in an open space, as centrally located and as high off the floor as you can.

4. Measure your signal strength

Just a couple of feet can make the difference between strong and wimpy WiFi reception. A good mobile app called WiFi Analyzer can measure the signal strength and identify weak spots, so you can figure out the best places to put your WiFi devices.

5. Messing with the antennas may help

If your router has adjustable antennas, changing their angle can redirect the signal and cover dead spots. Feeling crafty? Freeantennas.com offers instructions on how to make a parabolic reflector out of card stock and attach it to the antenna to boost the signal (although a directed antenna like that will make the sweet spot extremely narrow.) If you have a new 802.11ac router, though, you probably won’t need this. They use a technique called beamforming to focus the signal toward devices on the edge of your network, notes Richard Najarian, senior director of wireless connectivity for Broadcom, which makes chipsets for wireless routers and other devices.

6. Try changing the channel

Older WiFi routers are prone to interference from other devices operating in the same spectrum — which sadly includes microwave ovens, many cordless phones, Bluetooth headsets, or your neighbours’ wireless networks. Usually the router’s default settings work fine, but if your wireless signal seems flaky, you can dial up your router’s administration page and change the channel to see if things improve. Most routers can use 11 channels (specific radio frequencies) and are set at channel 1, 6, or 11 by default, because these frequencies don’t overlap with one another. (So if your neighbour’s network is broadcasting on 6, set yours at 1 or 11 to avoid interference.) Routers that operate in the 5 GHz range (802.11a, n, and ac) broadcast across 23 channels and are less prone to interference, so there’s less need to futz with the channel settings. You can go into your router’s Web control panel to change channels.

7. Use both bands

Many routers have radios that operate on two frequencies, roughly 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz (each channel works on a specific frequency near that). So you can have two separate networks running at the same time, one for devices that access WiFi at the lower frequency and another for those that connect at 5 GHz.