How to optimize a wireless router for the ultimate online gaming experience

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Gadget Review recently compiled a list of the best wireless routers you can get on the market – the Netgear Nighthawk X6 AC3200 Router, the Linksys WRT3200 ACM Smart Wi-Fi Router, the Linksys EA9500 Tri-Band MU-MIMO Router, the TP-Link Archer C9 AC1900 Wireless Router, and the AmpliFi HD Mesh Wi-Fi Router.

With any one of these routers, you can expect to enjoy the best connection speeds possible even while playing an online game as massive as World of Warcraft.

But if you’re still looking to heighten and strengthen your router’s internet speed, you can simply implement any or all of the following hacks;

  1. Set an automatic reboot schedule: New models of routers don’t require a frequent reboot. Nonetheless, it’s still an effective way to refresh your router and get it back on track. For best results, set the automatic reboot to occur at times you believe your router will not be in use. Such as in the middle of the day while you’ll be away at work or school, or in the dead of the night when you’ll be asleep.

For you to get a clearer picture about how effective regularly rebooting your router can be, when you call tech support for help, the first thing they usually ask you to do is reboot your router. More often than not, this fixes whatever internet fault that was being experienced.

  1. Move your wireless devices closer to the router or vice versa: If your connected device is too far from the router, most likely you won’t get the best connection. You could also add a wireless range extender to increase the range of your router’s signal. Something else to keep in mind is, make sure your router’s location in your home is one that offers optimal connectivity to devices in all rooms.
  2. If necessary, install a better antenna on your router: Most consumer grade routers come preinstalled with less than adequate antennas. To combat this, you can install an amplified aftermarket antenna to boost signal quality.
  3. Deactivate obsolete wireless protocols: Ranged from fastest to slowest, the fastest protocols are; 802.11ac, 802.11n, 802.11g, 802.11b. If your devices are using older protocols such as 802.11g or 802.11b, connecting them to the router can effectively slow down the entire network. To solve and avoid further occurrence of this problem, simply log in to your router and set the 802.11 mode to allow only newer protocols. Of course your devices running older protocols will no longer be able to connect, but think of it has a great opportunity to trade in your old device for a new one.
  4. Update your router: Same as every other device, getting updates make routers better. Your router will have firmware updates being regularly sent to it by its manufacturer and you will be wise to install them. These updates can include security patches, or firmware update that if not installed can lead to poor speeds or dropped wireless signals.
  5. Search your premises for best speed: While placing a router in the part of the house where every device can reach it is important, it’s much more important to place a router in the part of the house that gets the best reception. You can determine what part of your home has the best reception by experimenting with location. Simply moving your router from the kitchen to a corridor can make a world of difference in signal quality. To get the best signal, simply move your router around the house while keeping an eye on the signal strength read out. Keep doing this until you find the location that offers the best connection.
  6. Switch between bands: With a dual or tri-band router, you can switch between bands for better speeds. A router that has dual band capabilities significantly boosts your ability to enjoy better Wi-Fi speeds. When you switch between bands, what you’ve done is basically opened up another network connection that’s less clogged by other users. Instead of your devices and your neighbour’s devices all vying for space on the 2.4GHz band, with your dual band router, you can switch to a less crowded 5GHz band.
  7. Reduce wireless interference: Neighbouring wireless networks, cordless phones, microwaves, and even baby monitors can interfere with your router’s signal performance. Keep your router at a distance from these interfering devices to protect your speed, or change the SSID and channel on the router.
  8. Use passwords to protect your router: If your router is not password secured, anyone within range can connect. This will lead to strangers leeching off your network to do God knows what while you suffer from slow speeds because of the number of people actively connected to your router.

A surprisingly large number of people leave the default username and password that came with their router, this is a bad idea and an open door for leeches. For better security, avoid WEP and use only WPA2 security settings.