9 Best Practice Tips
Wi-Fi Routers are most home’s and businesses’ lifeline to the internet, and router-related problems are among the most frequently reported I.T issues. While there are some interruptions that can’t be helped (like load shedding and ISP technical issues), there are a few things you can do to make sure that your router is in good repair and running optimally. Here are some tips to maintaining your router:
1. Update the Firmware: You will probably need to consult your manual for a step-by-step for this. Many modern routers give you this option on initial set-up and continue to download updates automatically, but some (especially older models) may need to be updated manually via the router’s administrator interface. Doing so can fix certain bugs, add new features, and improve existing ones.
2. While you’re in the admin interface, check what frequency your router is broadcasting on. 2.4GHz is the most common, and thus can be somewhat bogged down, but since it is a lower frequency it has a further reach and is better at penetrating thick walls and floors. 5GHz (if available on your model) may be better for you if you already have great signal, in which case this frequency will give you a speed boost. You might also experience less interference from other networks. Dual band routers can broadcast both frequencies at the same time, switching between stronger signals.
3. For the best signal reach, place your router in a central position, on top of a secure flat surface, not surrounded by clutter. Also don’t place near appliances that might interfere with the signal (eg. Microwaves, wireless phones etc).
4. Keep it out of direct sunlight and away from heat. Routers generate quite a bit of heat while running, and an excess in temperature could cause unnecessary wear and tear, or even damage.
5. Keep your router in a well-ventilated area and remove dust around the vent holes from time to time. This will also aid in preventing over-heating.
6. Keep well away from potential water leaks, splashes, or spills. Electronics + Water = a bad day.
7. Treat Ethernet and phone cables with care. The plastic connector head with its clip is designed to keep the cables securely in place when plugged into the router. Roughly tugging on the cables can break off these clips, resulting in a loose physical connection, followed by finicky and intermittent network access.
8. Poor signal when there shouldn’t be? For those with an LTE/cellular internet connection, try moving your router closer to an outside facing window, and positioning the antennae at different angles until there is an improvement (doesn’t work in all cases). If your router has only an internal antenna, have a look to see if you are able to add High-gain external ones too (check the manual for this info, and to find the appropriate type).
9. Experiencing Wi-Fi “dead zones”? It may be that your home is too large for a signal router to broadcast its signal effectively, or very thick walls and floors are hampering its reach. At which point range extenders/repeaters would be helpful in covering more areas. Just make sure that the extenders broadcast the same signal as the router before purchasing them.
Applying these tips should increase the lifespan of your router and help you to get the most out of it, saving you a bit of cash in the long run. However, as with all things, your router will eventually reach its end-of-life and termination of manufacturer support, and will need to be replaced. One indication of this is a router that regularly resets to factory default after being switched off, among other things.