Wi-Fi tweaks for speed freaks: 2013 edition

How many devices do you have on your home Wi-Fi? That many? Here are some strategies for optimizing your wireless performance.

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Changing channels

Let's say you did everything right and your coverage still is not good enough. You could be using the wrong channel. Check the channel configuration on the router and the client to see that they match. Most equipment comes set to Channel 6.

There's a nifty free app from Amped Wireless (available for Windows and Android) that sniffs out problems like this. Called Wi-Fi Analytics, it scans the network and provides information such as which Wi-Fi channels are in use and whether there is potential interference from nearby networks. My favorite feature shows a line graph of my network's signal strength in red along with the other networks in a variety of colors. (Apple iOS users can try Network Analyzer or IP Network Scanner.)

Save your settings

Take it as read: You're going to forget your router's key settings. Since you'll need them for any future tweaking, it's a good idea to save them somewhere. Doesn't matter how: You can send them to yourself in an email, save them in an Evernote note or whatever. (I usually write down the router's key settings on a sticky note and attach it to the bottom of the router.)

If you didn't save the info and you need it, then you'll have to reset the router to its factory settings and start over. (Windows users can recover the settings with NirSoft's WirelessKeyView, a free tool that finds the WEP or WPA encryption keys on your computer.)

Finally, take a walk through the house with a connected notebook or tablet and take a survey of your work. I usually use a streaming music service such as Spotify and listen for breaks in the music.

It's time to tell the family that Wi-Fi is back, better than ever.

This article, Wi-Fi tweaks for speed freaks: 2013 edition, was originally published at Computerworld.com.

Brian Nadel is a frequent contributor to Computerworld and the former editor in chief of Mobile Computing & Communications magazine.

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Copyright © 2013 IDG Communications, Inc.

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