Your computer’s performance is a critical part of your personal performance. Nothing can be more frustrating than a slow computer, especially if you’re in the middle of working on something urgent. When pages load slowly and programs freeze mid-save, you’ll probably feel the urge to abandon your task.
Don’t give up so easily. There are several steps you can take to boost your computer’s performance, and your internet in particular. Doing a few or all of these tasks will definitely give your computer a good boost in performance and speed.
1. Position your router in the optimal location
Depending on the size of your home, the location of your router is a critical factor in where all you have internet access. If you have a large home, positioning the router in the center of the house will allow the signal to reach more areas of your house than keeping it in a corner bedroom.
You may have to prioritize one side of the house over another, depending on your home’s architecture. Choose the side where you will be working on a computer most often. Make your your router is positioned at a decent height, not low to the ground. Keep it away from microwaves, as they can interfere with the Wi-Fi signals, along with baby monitors and cordless phones. An antenna pointed upwards will have better horizontal reach, and an antenna pointed sideways will have better vertical reach.
2. Find the right Wi-Fi channel.
Wi-Fi networks use channels along a 2.4 GHz range, totalling 14 channels. Each channel is 5 MHz apart with the exception of channel 14, which is slightly farther. When channels overlap each other, they can cause interference which negatively affects the performance of your Wi-Fi. Channels 1, 6 and 11 are ideal to use because they do not overlap each other and have minimal interference. Aside from simply using these suggested channels, you can identify which channels are best for your house by using many free programs or apps.
If you have an Android phone, the Wifi Analyzer App can identify the best channel for your Wi-Fi. Macs can use a program called Wireless Diagnostics, a built-in feature, to identify the least congested channels. Windows users can use programs such as inSSIDer, Xirrus Wi-Fi Inspector or WifiInfoView to identify the best channel for your internet connection.
3. Update your router.
Not all Wi-Fi devices are alike. If you have a 2.4 GHz router, any 802.11b devices connected to it will slow down all devices connected to the internet. This can be frustrating and slow down your speed immensely, especially if you are using a VPN to change your location. Rather than attempting to identify all such offending 802.11b devices, consider switching to a 5 GHz device.
5 GHz Wi-Fi routers have a wider range of devices they can connect to, including any devices that would have connected to a 2.4 GHz router. Further, they aren’t negatively affected by 802.11b devices the way older routers are, making them a stronger choice all around.
4. Use Ethernet instead of Wi-Fi
Although Wi-Fi is important in a modern workspace, nothing will give you a faster internet performance than plugging your computer directly into your router. Ethernet saves you from interference issues, location issues, and also keeps you more secure. When you’re plugged into your router, hackers cannot use Wi-Fi to get access to your computer; they will have to plug directly into your device.
Make sure you have a Cat-6 cord or newer for maximum performance, as older cords are more limited. The only reason to use Wi-Fi over an ethernet connection is convenience. In every other way, an ethernet connection will get you better performance and better internet speeds for your device. Obviously, smart phones and tablets must remain connected to the Wi-Fi, but a desktop or laptop that does minimal traveling will benefit from an ethernet cord plugged into the router.
5. Clear your browser’s cache
Sometimes it’s the software, not hardware, that is negatively affecting your internet performance. If you haven’t cleared your internet browser’s cache history anytime recently, it could be bogging down your browser’s performance and slowing down your internet.
Depending the browser used, you should be able to find clear guides on how to clear your data. Clearing cache, browsing history and cookies should do the trick; you don’t have to delete all your saved passwords every time your internet is getting slow.
6. Organize start-up programs and manage your files and folders
After a few years of continuous use, you may find that your computer has accumulated a lot of junk content. This can negatively affect the performance of any and all programs your computer attempts to run. Organising and managing these is a key step in addressing computer performance issues, particularly for older devices.
Unnecessary programs can significantly bog down a computer’s performance. Go into your program list and uninstall old programs you don’t need anymore. Check online before deleting programs you don’t recognize—they could be critical programs for your system. The instructions are different for Windows and Mac.
Open your hard drive and hunt for content you don’t use anymore. Check if you downloaded episodes of Frasier and the like, into your Videos folder years ago and then barely watched any of it. Find the space gluttons and decide whether you still need that content or not. See if you can upload it to a cloud device rather than storing it on your computer.
7. Reset your modem
Sometimes, your devices get bogged down because they’re built like that. Technology isn’t perfect. Resetting your modem can solve a corrupt configuration or interference issues. To reset it properly, disconnect your modem for at least a minute to allow a full reset to occur. On the other hand, leaving it off overnight can give you a new IP address, which is sometimes be the solution for your slow internet connection. Just reconnect it in the morning, give it a minute or two to reboot, and you should have a better internet speed available to you.
Featured photo credit: Viktor Hanacek via picjumbo.com