You're using your WiFi router wrong – and it could be ruining your internet

SLOW home Wi-Fi is a real bore and makes streaming a movie or downloading chunky files an absolute nightmare.

While the blame can often be laid at the feet of your broadband provider, there are a handful of ways to supercharge a sluggish router.

Moving electronics like lamps and your telly, for instance, can do a world of good, while cutting how much you use the microwave can also improve your connection.

That's because they can slow down your Wi-Fi by interfering with your router's signal, according to UK watchdog Ofcom.

And they're not the only things threatening to hamper your web access.

Fish tanks, radiators, cordless phones and speakers can all cause internet woes if placed too close to your Wi-Fi router.

Ofcom has released a list of ways to boost your Wi-Fi as part of a government-backed campaign to help people improve their web speeds.

Move or disconnect your lamps and other gadgets

Moving lights, your telly and other gizmos away from your router can do a world of good.

It's all to do with the waves of (harmless) radiation used to fire WiFi around your home.

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Your router sends these electromagnetic signals to your devices to connect you to the internet, but they can be muddled by other signals.

Objects like your refrigerator or lamps send out their own electromagnetic waves that get in the way of your WiFi signal.

Put two and two together, and you'll realise why keeping your router away from other electrical appliances in your house is a smart idea.

Ofcom also suggests disconnecting devices that are not in use but use up your Wi-Fi, such as tablets or your smart TV.

"The more devices attached to your wi-fi, the lower the speed you get," it said.

"Devices like tablets and smartphones often work in the background, so try switching wi-fi reception off on these when you're not using them."

Careful with your microwave

One of the biggest offenders for dampening your web speeds is the microwave.

It gives off a tonne of electromagnetic radiation that can interfere with your router's signals.

"Did you know that microwave ovens can also reduce wi-fi signals?" Ofcom asks.

"So don't use the microwave when you're making video calls, watching HD videos or doing something important online."

Use landlines where possible

Ofcom suggests ditching the mobile for calls and switching to a landline instead.

That's because the sheer volume of people working from home has put extra demand on mobile networks.

"If you do need to use your mobile, try using your settings to turn on wi-fi calling," Ofcom said.

"Similarly, you can make voice calls over the internet using apps like Facetime, Skype or WhatsApp."

Move your router

Moving your router to a better spot if a sure-fire  way to boost your web speeds.

Shifting it off the floor and onto a table or shelf (about 5-7ft up is best) can help the signal reach further throughout your home.

That's because your router sends out signals in a 360-degree arc, like the shine from a lightbulb.

Putting it on the floor therefore sends a load of signal straight into the ground.

Moving it away from other electronic devices can also help.

It doesn't need to be too isolated, mind. About a metre or so from any other gadget should do it.

Always make sure your router is plugged into the master socket rather than an extension cable so it works faster.

You can boost website and load time by updating to the latest internet browser, too.

Shift your fish tank

It might sound bonkers, but your fish tank can also interfere with your router's signal.

That's because water easily absorbs the radiation sent out by your router, leaving a "black hole" with no signal around the tank.

Fortunately, your fish won't be affected – but your conference calls might.

If you router is anywhere near a fish tank, we suggest moving your pets (or the router) elsewhere.

Other tips

Other tips include:

  • While carrying out video calls or meetings, try switching off the video and using audio only
  • Rather than starting those calls on the hour or half hour, try making them at less common times
  • Use an ethernet cable to connect your computer directly to your router for the best web speeds
  • Try not to use a telephone extension lead if possible, as these can cause interference which could lower your speed

In other news, Samsung is reportedly killing off its beloved Note smartphone after more than a decade.

Apple has announced that it will let customers fix their own iPhones for the first time starting next year.

The UK is fighting an epidemic of hack attacks targeting consumers and businesses, according to officials.

And, NASA has slammed Russia after a missile it fired into one of its own satellites forced the space station to perform an emergency swerve.

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