Saturday 15 September 2007

5 ways to speed up and improve your wireless network for free

First off I need to mention that I live in an apartment complex, and getting wireless to work properly is extremely hard, and I guess I can say that I've learnt a lot form tweaking it so much. Recently I read a similar article on Microsoft's website, but most of the stuff in there is impractical. All they seem to say is upgrade all your devices and buy more stuff.

So here are 5 tips that are guaranteed to make your wireless connection work better for free. These "tweaks" can be performed in most settings and it shouldn't be a much of a problem to implement in your home or even office network. Make sure you secure your wireless network too though.

  1. Find the right channel for your router. First make sure that you don't have any cordless phone in your own house that might be causing interference. If you find that your wireless connection gets weaker whenever you get a call, try changing the channel on your cordless phone. Then download net stumbler on one of your computers with a wireless card (it should work with most cards). Open it and check what channel other people are broadcasting on. People will usually be using either channel 1, 6 or 11, so try to stay away from these channels, but you never know. Then change your router's channel to some other channel no one else is using. You'll need to know how to work with the router configuration page to do this.Keep in mind though that other people might have cordless phones running on the same channel which might interfere with the your signal, so you'll have to use the trial and error method to find the perfect channel.
  2. Switch to OpenDNS. Although this tip is more of a improve your "Internet speed" tip, its still good for getting better speeds through your wireless network. And since most people use their wireless network for Internet, I recommend replacing your ISP's dns service with OpenDNS. Instructions on how to configure your router to use OpenDNS can be found on their website. Basically its just copying and pasting a couple of IP addresses, so I won't mention how to do that here.
  3. Move your router. Yes, although this is pretty self explanatory, most people ignore this tip. Try to move your router to a central location in your home. Although this might be kind of hard, since you're bound by the location of your high speed modem, phone line or even your cable line, its not always impossible. You don't have to move the router from one room to another, just moving it from one side to another side of the room should suffice. All you need to do is get 2 long pieces of Ethernet cable, it doesn't matter which kind since most routers have "wire management" so it'll accept any kind of cat-5 crossover, rollover or straight through cable and use that instead of short cables. This will enable you to move your router so that it is a bit more closer to the center of your home or closer to your laptop if you only use a laptop.
  4. Change your wireless card settings. Most wireless cards are configured to the default settings of using wireless QoS and so on, so you'll want to tweak it to make it interface faster with the network. To start tweaking first press the Windows + Pause Break key if you are on Windows > Go to the hard ware tab > Click on Device Manager > Under Network Adaptors double click on your wireless and go to the Advanced tab. Here's what you can tweak on most cards:
    • Mixed more protection - Use CTS-to-self. This will make the speed faster since you are in a small home network
    • Power Management - Use the highest value, because this will make your card work faster. You might want to choose a medium or low setting if you want extended battery life though.
    • Roaming Aggressiveness - Use either the medium or lowest value in a home setting, so that your card won't keep searching for new connections, it'll just stay happy with the network in your home and won't connect to your neighbour's network.
    • Throughput Enhancement - Make sure you enable throughput enhancement to have the fastest speeds
    • Transmit Power - Use the highest option to connect to your network properly and get the fastest speeds
  5. Update drivers/firmware and maintain your network. Here are a couple of things you should do with your network:
    1. Update your drivers for your wireless card (usually found on the manufacturer's website) and the firmware on your router. Go to the manufacturer's website to get the latest firmware. Instructions on updating your firmware can also be found there.
    2. Give your network a unique SSID and encrypt it! Why? Because your neighbour might be accidentally using your connection and making it slower, or someone might be using your network to download stuff on the Internet... so it is best to give your network a unique SSID and use at least WPA encryption if WPA2 isn't a choice. More instructions on that coming soon...
    3. Make sure to also change the password to the router so that some one else does not modify the setting. I recommend setting a big password so it is impossible to crack.
    4. Make sure your laptop and the router are using the 802.11 (wi-fi) G standard. Sometimes, if your laptop is set to use only wi-fi 802.11 B, even though it supports G, your router will only communicate to it using B, and not G which is way faster.

Got a question, tip or comment? Send them to and we'll try to answer it in a blog post!


  1. Thanks for the tips! very helpful!

  2. I'm glad it helped you out! Speeding up Wireless Networks isn't an easy task... but I hope that these tips helped make it just a little faster... if not really fast. Wi-fi isn't always the best thing when you're using it for gaming and so on but there's only so much you can do with wireless.

  3. "Make sure your laptop and the router are using the 802.11 (wi-fi) G standard. Sometimes, if your laptop is set to use only wi-fi 802.11 B, even though it supports G, your router will only communicate to it using B, and not G which is way faster. "
    I noticed this setting right before I read it. That seems like it would be a very important setting to change. I am definitely glad I spent time looking at this, my network runs much better now and file transfers are much faster than they were before!

  4. I'm glad I could help improve your network Erik. Like I've said many times before, a lot of people aren't aware of things they can do with their wi-fi network. This is especially true when it comes to speeding it up or locking the network (i.e. setting a WEP/WPA password) so that only you can access your wi-fi network.

  5. how to change from wireless
    b to g?

  6. Henry, you can change from Wireless B to Wireless G (G is better... if your laptop supports it... and N is even better if your computers support it) it from your router configuration panel. If you're using a D-Link router type in : in the address bar (the place where you type in and it will take you to the configuration page. If you use a Linksys router type in : and it'll take you to the configuration page. Then, you'll see an option to switch from B to G usually in the Wireless Category.

  7. Thanks, helped alot

  8. Channel 1, 6, and 11 are the only channels that do not fully overlap with each other. For example, 3 overlaps with 1 and 6. That is why most people use 1, 6 or 11. See the wikipedia article at

  9. i got one problem
    my wireless connection still stop working when downloading why ?

  10. Best trick EVER!!! Turn an old Linksys router (WRT54G) into a Client Bridge (look up DD-WRT). Not the easiest to setup but workes flawlessly. My wireless router is in den and my working computer is in room over garage (4 rooms away). Low signal, constant loss of wireless connection. Tried all tricks here. Then bought new linksys router (no improvement). Bought new Linksys 300 pci wireless card (no improvement). Bought new D-Link router (great reviews but no improvement). Found article on converting old WRT54G into a Client Bridge to act as my wireless adapter and the connection is fast and consistent. (For sale - 1 linksys router, 1 linksys 300 wireless pci card, 1 D-Link router....)

  11. I am using a AW3 wireless modem ... can anyone help me with this ???

  12. my modem is wireless N and my laptop is also N. laptop receives speed of 135 Mbps. before reformating my laptop i had 270 mbps. please help get 270mbps back. wireless card laptop is "Intel(R) WiFi Link 5100 AGN"

  13. switch back to your format before re-formatting maybe? just a guess.

  14. i want to stop the downloading speed of my roommate through the wifi

  15. @ manoj kumar

    use netcut... that'll remove any unwanted users of your wifi...

  16. Wow, really nice blog!! I appreciate this post. Clearly, this is unacceptable behavior in Cisco / Linksys with yet accept privacy policy. My next router does not seem to be with this company.

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  17. detailed instructions step by step

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  19. Good tips to improve the Wifi speed. It really worked for me. I checked the improvement in my internet connection speed by having a speed test at It gave me result in both MBps and Mbps.

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