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Demand on a home’s WiFi bandwidth soars over the festive period as device loving families hangout in their homes streaming, scrolling, shopping and gaming. It’s probably not surprising to hear that the average Briton now has access to more than nine connected devices – with most actually constantly connected to the WiFi in some way as well! What is more, a household with three children now typically has nearly 16 internet-enabled items. So, giving WiFi a festive check will hopefully help to create a cracker of an WiFi enabled Christmas

Last year, according to Zen Internet, while traffic on Christmas Day was relatively average, by Boxing Day network traffic rose by 30 per cent above average and by 27th traffic soared to 44 per cent higher than Christmas Day as consumers finally got to enjoy new devices, consoles or just escaped the in laws. New Year’s Day saw a similar increase.

So, if your household is likely to be doing battle for bandwidth this Christmas, here are six tips to keep Wi-Fi working well even during busy usage periods.

1.Don’t block your router signal 

Firstly, don’t hide your router away in a drawer or cupboard.

While a router needs a direct connection to your master socket which will dictate its location, there are tips to help strengthen the WiFi signal to your devices.

That’s because the best thing to get a WiFi signal from A to B is line of sight. Any walls, cupboards, even electronic devices that are in the path of your signal will degrade it… and that means weaker WiFi to your devices.

You can’t always put your router in the ideal location but spending some time thinking about what might be getting in the way of your signal can help.

2. Avoid other appliances

Did you know that there are electronic devices in your home or office that can interfere with your WiFi signal?

Traditionally, wireless devices have connected using the 2.4GHz frequency range. If you’re not sure what that is, it doesn’t really matter other than to know that other devices also operate on or around this frequency.

That can include microwaves, Bluetooth equipment, cordless phones, some baby monitors, wireless speakers, microphones, or cameras and more.

Dealing with this interference can be as simple as – where possible – keeping your router out of the way of these other types of device. You might not always be able to do that, but it’s certainly worth bearing in mind.

3. Use a wire

“Hold on a minute?” you might say… “I thought this was about getting better WiFi?” Well, it is.

But the best type of connection is usually still a wired one. And where you have devices that are close enough to your router to directly connect – that you’re never going to move – it makes sense to connect them to your network using an Ethernet cable.

You’ll be guaranteed the best connection on your network and, crucially, you’ll be freeing up the wireless airwaves so there’s less competition for your wirelessly connecting devices.

A wired connection would be best for things like desktop PCs, televisions, set top boxes or even games consoles that you don’t want to move around.

Of course, this all depends on your devices having proximity to your router, which won’t be possible with portable devices or those scattered throughout the home or office.

4. Leave your router settings on automatic band selection 

Most modern routers and devices are ‘dual band’. That means they’ll connect using either the traditional 2.4GHz frequency range or in the higher 5GHz frequency range.

You can configure your router to allow it and your devices to work out the best connection frequencies.

It is recommended that you leave this automatic switching turned on. Most modern routers will take care of this very well. So, anything you choose to do with manual frequency selection is at your own discretion.

In rare circumstances, you might decide that you’d prefer to control the process manually, and it’s possible to set up two separate networks (one at 2.4GHz, the other at 5GHz). Remember that if you do decide to do this you’ll then need to manually control which network your devices automatically connect to. 

5. Give unused devices the boot

How many devices are connected to your home or office network? We’re not just talking about laptops here, but all those smartphones, tablets, thermostats… the list goes on.

Check in your router’s control panel to see how many devices are connected. If you see a device that doesn’t need to be connected, delete it from the list. If all those unused devices are consuming only a small amount of your data, they’re also taking up valuable bandwidth on your wireless network.

If you really want to stay in control, you might consider disabling automatic updates on your devices.

6. Give your WiFi a boost

There are lots of tools and devices you can use to give your WiFi a helping hand.

A powerline adapter, for example, can plug straight into your router, carrying your broadband connection over your electrical wiring. Plug your powerline devices into a pair of power sockets and you could extend your wired connectivity anywhere you like in the home or office.

Then again you might choose a WiFi extender. If you set up one of these devices sufficiently far from your router (but still within good signal range), it’ll repeat the signal enabling you to get good connectivity further away. But there is a downside to WiFi extenders in that they’ll set up a new wireless network rather than just extending the range of your existing one. That means your devices will now need to connect between multiple networks as you move in and out of range.

When you choose a mesh network solution you won’t have that problem. Your repeater device will intelligently communicate with the router, helping to extend the range of your wireless network throughout the house. Mesh networks are a little more expensive than using a WiFi extender, but they’re much simpler to use and make connecting to your WiFi in every room a seamless experience.

 For more tips for faster broadband please visit zen.co.uk