11 Ways to Upgrade Your Wi-Fi and Make Your Internet Faster (2023)
It works like this: You connect a powerline plug to your router, then put the plug into a wall socket. Add another powerline plug in any other room in your house, and it can provide a wired or wireless connection to that room. There will be some drop in speed, but it’s a simple and effective option. Unless your home is particularly old, it should have electrical wiring that supports this, but it’s best to buy your kit from a retailer with a robust return policy just in case.
7. Add a Password to Your Wi-Fi
We probably don’t have to tell you this, but you need a password on your Wi-Fi network. It’s good for keeping hackers away and keeping neighbors from Netflixing off of your bandwidth, which will definitely slow you down. Make sure you use AES encryption, which is both the most secure and most speed-friendly security option.
8. Cut Off Unused Devices
Having dozens of things tapping into the Wi-Fi at once can be problematic. Plug anything you can into Ethernet, and unplug anything you have connected but don’t need (like that “smart” tea kettle you never once got to work). Make sure only the things that need internet get internet.
Good routers (all of the routers listed above, for example) offer controls to prioritize a particular device or service. It’s a handy way to make sure your games never get interrupted by someone else streaming videos on Facebook.
9. Check Your PC
This tip is specific to computers: If the internet on your PC or laptop is perpetually slow but other devices seem fine, open your Task Manager or Activity Monitor and see which programs are running in the background. Certain programs could be set to auto-update that don’t need to be. If they’re always updating in the background, that could be the cause of your slow internet. Check it out and adjust the settings.
10. Restart Your Router?
We’ve read this tip many times on the web, but we were skeptical. Restarting your router on a regular basis sounds like an extension of the age-old pseudo solution to everything digital: Reboot it. Yes, we know restarting your router can sometimes fix dead internet, but we asked router maker Netgear: Does regularly rebooting your router help speed things up? The short answer is, probably not.
Sandeep Harpalani, vice president of product management at Netgear, says the company does not recommend rebooting its routers “unless you actually encounter issues with connectivity or slowdowns due to radio frequency interference.” He adds that if you’re still using 2.4-GHz Wi-Fi and you’re having speed troubles, rebooting might help, since it will force the router to choose the best channel with the least interference during boot-up. If you’ve made the jump to 5 GHz, it will automatically switch to the channel with the least amount of interference.
Either way, there’s no reason to reboot regularly. If you are having persistent problems, then it may be worth restarting your router, but for the most part stick with our other tips.
11. Call Your ISP
If you’ve tried it all and still have problems, you can always contact your internet provider. They may want to send a service technician out. They might be able to pinpoint an overlooked issue that is getting in the way of you and fast Wi-Fi. With the ongoing pandemic, you may not want strangers in your house, and your ISP may not have technicians available to send. Still, if none of the rest of these tips solve your problem, it’s time to reach out to your provider to ask some questions.
Modem vs Router: What’s the Difference?
Most people use their home network to access the Internet, but many have no idea how these networks work. Can you tell the difference between a modem and router? Have you ever asked, “do I need a modem and router?” To put it simply, the modem connects your home to the Internet, while a router creates the network inside your house.
Knowing how the blinking boxes plugged into your wall work can help you to get the Internet up and running again the next time there’s a power outage or connection disruption.
Short take: what’s the difference between a modem and a router?
|Brings Internet to your home||Brings Internet to your devices|
|Has public IP address||Assigns local IP adresses|
|Uses a WAN network||Creates a LAN network|
Modems bring the Internet to your home
A modem is a device that connects your home, usually through a coax cable connection, to your Internet service provider (ISP), like Xfinity. The modem takes signals from your ISP and translates them into signals your local devices can use, and vice versa. The connection between your house and the Internet is known as a wide area network (WAN). Each modem has an assigned public IP address that identifies it on the Internet.
Routers bring the Internet to your devices
A router connects your devices to each other and, in hard-wired connection setups, to the modem. The router connects to your modem and then to your devices (laptops, smart TVs, printers, etc.) via either an Ethernet cable or, in the case of a wireless router, WiFi signal. The router creates a local area network (LAN) within your house, allowing your devices to share files and peripherals like printers. The router manages all the information going to and from each device and the modem and makes sure it all ends up safely in the right spot. However, a router doesn’t need to connect to a modem to function. You can choose to create a LAN without Internet access.
Simply put, your router:
- Assigns a local IP address to each device on the network
- Creates a firewall to prevent security breaches
- Manages the traffic on your network
- Handles any Parental Controls
Do I need a router and a modem?
Remember that the modem is your network’s translator, while the router is more like an air-traffic controller, communicating with the “planes,” keeping order, and making sure everyone is safe.
Routers and modems have traditionally been two separate devices that worked together to form your home network. However, with today’s technology, you don’t need a separate modem and separate router necessarily, as new combination modem and router units merge the two devices’ functions into one powerful gadget. These multi-functional machines, like Xfinity’s Wireless Gateways, provide all the power you need to read your emails, stream your shows, and connect with your smart devices (without the hassle of dealing with two separate devices).
Although these combo units are designed with advanced technology, they’re easy and straightforward to use. They make it simpler than ever to set up your home network and keep it running reliably and securely. So, while you may need the power of both a modem and a router for all your Internet usage, it may not require two spaces on your shelf. So, next time you find yourself asking, “do I need a modem and router,” talk to your Internet service provider about your options for the optimum home network connection.
Xfinity is proud to support the Federal Government’s Affordable Connectivity Program, a temporary subsidy program available for all tiers of Xfinity Internet service, including Internet Essentials. Learn more about the ACP Program to see if you qualify.
What is a router? How is a Wi-Fi router different from a router?
Routers, routers, access points, repeaters – how difficult it all is, and if you look even deeper into the characteristics of these devices, purpose, settings, then there is generally a dark forest 🙂 I think many will agree with me. And those who bought and configured these devices on their own know firsthand what I mean. On our site you can find many articles on setting up different routers, some specific functions, Wi-Fi networks, etc. I write about these routers and routers all the time, but not many people know what they are, what these devices are for, and how they differ.
In this article, we will try to understand what a router is and how it differs from a router. I will try to write as simply as possible. Therefore, if you understand these devices, you are unlikely to find something new for yourself.
We all know that this is such a small box, usually with antennas (or one), which allows us to connect to the Internet via Wi-Fi.
In short and in a simple way, then router is a device that distributes the Internet between devices connected to it. By network cable (computers, TVs, etc.), or via Wi-Fi (smartphones, tablets, laptops).
Or like this: the router connects all devices to a local network (where they can exchange files or play games) with the ability to access the Internet (if the Internet is connected and configured).
And let the experts forgive me, who will definitely spit on my explanation (especially on the word “distributes”), but I think that it’s much easier to understand what kind of device it is.
A little more. We have internet at home, as a rule, this is:
- Ethernet is a regular network cable that is immediately connected to the network card of a computer or laptop.
- ADSL – when a telephone line is connected to a modem (often with the possibility of distributing Wi-Fi, in fact a modem with a router function, or vice versa), and from the modem to the computer via a network cable.
- Or, Internet via 3G/4G USB modem is when we just plug our modem into the USB connector of the computer and use the Internet. For example: setting up 3G Internet from Intertelecom.
These are the three main and most popular ways to connect to the Internet. All these connections have one big disadvantage: you cannot connect several devices to the Internet at once and you cannot connect devices via Wi-Fi. Since we have either one cable or one modem.
This is what Wi-Fi routers are for. They can distribute the Internet to many devices. Both by cable and wireless Wi-Fi.
This may come in handy: recommendations for choosing a Wi-Fi router. Current article for 2023.
How the router works:
- We connect the cable that the Internet provider has laid to our house (or the cable from the ADSL modem) to the router. If you have ADSL Internet (via a telephone cable) and do not have a separate modem, then you can buy a Wi-Fi router with a built-in modem. To which you can immediately connect a telephone cable. And if you have Internet via a USB modem, then we connect the modem to the router. But in this case, you need a special router with support for USB modems.
- We configure the router to work with your provider, or modem (ADSL, or USB). It is best to do this according to the instructions that are written specifically for your device. You can search for such an article on our website in the section “Configuring the router”. Also, you need to set a name for your Wi-Fi network, set a password for the network.
- We connect to the router all the devices on which you want to use the Internet. Usually, the router is installed by those who want to use the Internet via Wi-Fi on their mobile devices. Therefore, we connect our phones, tablets, laptops, TVs, etc. to our Wi-Fi network. And those devices that cannot connect wirelessly (usually, these are stationary computers) can be connected to the Internet via a network cable (LAN). As a rule, there are 4 LAN connectors on the router, which means that 4 devices can be connected via cable.
And if you don’t want to bother with cables for a desktop computer, you can buy a Wi-Fi receiver for it and connect it wirelessly.
It turns out that the router simply establishes an Internet connection and shares it between all devices connected to it. This is his task.
What is the difference between a router and a router?
If you read this article from the very beginning, you may have noticed that I wrote either a router or a router. Yes, it’s the same device. They are absolutely indistinguishable and there is no difference between them.
Just a router (router) is in English. And in Russian this word is translated as a router. That’s all. And so it will be right. When I write articles, I use both names.
I hope that I managed to answer the question posed in the title of this article. If you can somehow supplement the article, you can write to me in the comments, I will be grateful.
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Routers – what are they and why are they needed
The list of network equipment as a whole is quite extensive, but at the head of it, of course, is a router – a small device, without which modern life is almost unthinkable. About what it is, why it is needed and what functionality it offers, we will tell today.
What is a router?
The router is much better known to the modern user under the name “router”, which is a simple tracing paper from the English router. In fact, both of these words mean the same thing – the device that is responsible for routing. In simple terms, this is exactly that inconspicuous box that allows you to connect more than one computer, laptop or phone to a single cable that is run by an Internet provider to an apartment or office.
Conventionally, all models of routers can be divided into 3 groups:
- Wired. They allow you to connect client devices exclusively by wire, using special cables – patch cords. Basically, this group includes the so-called provider routers with a large number (up to 12-13) Ethernet ports, which are used as the basis for building a network, for example, in an apartment building. Household wired devices are morally obsolete and are not found on sale.
- Wireless. They have both ports for a wired connection (there are much fewer of them, usually no more than 4), and a built-in Wi-Fi module. To increase the range of the wireless network, antennas can be installed in them that are placed outside the case, but there are models without them.
- 3G/4G routers. Their key difference is the ability to “get the Internet” not by cable, but “over the air”, using a mobile network. The configuration in this case can be very different: from installing a SIM card in the router itself and the complete absence of Ethernet ports to having a USB port in a “regular” router for connecting any USB modem.
Since we mentioned ports and antennas, it is worth dwelling on the main components and nodes present in any device.
- WAN port (Wide Area Network) – port for connecting an Internet cable. It is usually marked in blue.
- LAN port (Local Area Network) – one or more ports used to connect client devices. They are needed not only to provide their access to the Internet, but also to organize a local network, that is, the ability to transfer data between all clients connected to one router. Marked in yellow.
- Wireless signal module (Wi-Fi) – it is installed on the main board and hidden inside the case. It needs an antenna to transmit a signal. Usually its role is played by a separate track on the board, but, as already mentioned, the antenna is often taken out of the case using wires.
- Power supply – most routers are powered by proprietary external power supplies with a round plug. Household compact models can also be powered from a regular USB connector, while provider routers use a more complex circuit with two built-in power supplies to connect a backup uninterruptible power supply.
In addition to the listed “nodes” in routers, you can find:
- Additional WAN ports for connecting a backup Internet line.
- USB port for connecting peripherals such as a shared printer or hard drive to create a simple network storage.
- Button for quick setup of an encrypted connection (WPS, Wi-Fi Protected Setup).
- Additional ports and connectors on provider devices.
What is the function of the router
What are routers in the physical embodiment, we have analyzed. Now it’s worth going a little deeper and explaining as simply as possible what functions all these ports and antennas perform.
In fact, the router is a multifunctional device, since it automatically performs several actions at once:
- Provides Internet connection using user login and password.
- Provides wired LAN functionality.
- Deploys and manages a wireless network.
- Authenticates devices when connected wirelessly.
- Encrypts the signal on the fly when transmitting wireless data.
- Supports communication between wired and wireless LAN devices and the Internet.
Communication between all clients and their access to the Internet is provided by the routing table – a small database stored in the router’s memory. It collects data about all clients on the local network, namely their IP addresses and the shortest routes along which information can be transmitted between them.
Routing can be static or dynamic:
- With static routing, the table is filled in manually, that is, each connected device is assigned a specific IP address and route in the network. Accordingly, when disconnecting, for example, a phone from the router, its address will remain busy, and when reconnected, it will be restored automatically.
- With dynamic routing (DHTP, DataHub Transfer Protocol), the router operates automatically according to the algorithm set by the protocol. It periodically sends service packets to all connected devices and automatically assigns addresses and routes to them. When a device is disconnected, its address may be given to another.
In most routers, dynamic routing is enabled by default, since it is most convenient in most cases: the user does not have to make additional settings (the router works out of the box), and the administrator has to manually configure a network of dozens of clients.