Are you struggling with your Laptop Wi-Fi performance? In this post, I will tell you how to improve Wi-Fi performance in 10 ways. You can use these methods on your laptop and surely you can see improvement in your WiFi Performance.
Change Your Wi-Fi Power Settings
The First method is to Change your Wi-Fi power settings. Windows control how much your Wi-Fi gets through settings, more power equals better performance, but less battery life, it’s a tradeoff, but fortunately.
To improve it you can set different options for when running on wall power or battery power. To do so you need to change your power setting options from the laptop.
To open the settings, right-click the battery icon and select power options. Change the settings of the current plan, change advanced settings and go to Wireless Adapter Settings.
Settings Maximum Performance should help improve Wi-Fi. This option might not show up on all laptops. If it is not shown on your laptop, you need to use different methods to improve your laptop performance.
Keep the Laptop Antenna unblocked
The second method on this list is Don’t block the Wi-Fi antenna. Wi-Fi works best with a direct line of sight, more distance and more obstacles in the way equals a weaker signal.
The location of the Antenna in your laptop will vary, but in general, they’re in the lids, on the sides, or even on the back corners like in the case of Lenovo’s Legion 7.
Often the manuals will show you where they’re located so you know not to obstruct them. Putting the wireless access point in a central location will also help ensure that you get the range possible.
Basically don’t stick it in a cupboard in the corner of your house or something. Since this will immediately block the Wi-Fi signal to a great extent and weaker signal will be received by your laptop which will provide poor performance.
Try Changing Signal Band of Your Router
The Third method in this list is Change bands. Since the latest Wi-Fi 4 in 2009 both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands have been available for wireless networks.
Generally, 5GHz is faster, but it’s also a shorter range, because of which there can be fluctuation in the speed of your internet over time.
I’ve set my home network up with separate 2.4GHz and 5GHz networks. The devices that stay far away from the access point are on the 2.4GHz network as they get a better range.
while everything else that’s much closer stays on 5GHz to get the better speed. Plus having all your wireless devices on different bands helps reduce interference.
Generally, the 2.4GHz band is more congested, more devices like Bluetooth keyboards and mice for instance use it too, and even running microwaves are known to cause interference with 2.4GHz networks.
But in case you are facing a problem with fluctuation in your internet speed on the 5GHz network, you should switch to a 2.4GHz network. This will provide you with more stable connectivity with no fluctuation but with a little lower internet speed.
Change Channel From Router Settings
The fourth on this list is changing channels from Router Settings. Within both the 2.4 and 5GHz bands, there are also a number of channels available.
The channels overlap each other, and the more wireless networks on the same channel or overlapping each other will increase the amount of interference.
There’s just more to compete with. You can check which channels are in use in your area with software like a Wi-Fi analyzer, which is available through the Microsoft Store.
In this example, we’re seeing lots of other networks on the 2.4GHz band on channels 8 and 11.
And it’s suggesting I move to channel 1 as it’s not in use, so doing this should improve the connection, and changing it, is a very simple option in the web interface for the wireless access point.
Keep Your Wi-Fi Drivers Updated
The fifth on this list is to upgrade your Wi-Fi drivers. For most laptops, Windows update will probably automatically update the Wi-Fi drivers.
However, there are often newer versions that offer improvements and fixes available on the manufacturer’s website. Intel for example has this super simple option to download a tool that automatically detects what’s installed in your laptop and will tell you if you need any updates.
Although Intel Wi-Fi is very common in laptops, it’s not the only option out there. If you’re not sure what model you have then you can open task manager and if you’re connected to a Wi-Fi network the model will be listed here.
Otherwise failing that you can try software like Hardware Info and check the specific model of your Wi-Fi.
Now that previous screenshot that I showed you to demonstrate upgrading the Intel drivers was actually from this laptop.
And before applying that update I wasn’t able to connect to this router over the 5GHz network, but as soon as I applied that update I was able to connect with no problem.
And I was able to get significantly better speeds compared to the 2.4GHz band, so yeah just goes to show that it’s definitely worth checking for updates.
Keep Your WiFi Router Firmware Updated
The number sixth on this list is to Update your router’s firmware. Basically, you want to keep both ends of the connection up to date, not just the laptop, as updates often improve things like performance, stability and security.
So check if there are any updates on the product page for your wireless access point from time to time. Newer models like the one from ARRIS I’m using also give you the option to check from within the web interface too.
Upgrade Your WiFi Card
The number seventh on the list is to Upgrade your Wi-Fi card. I changed the Wi-Fi card in this laptop from Wi-Fi 5 to Wi-Fi 6 for about $20. You can check out some prices of Wi-Fi cards here.
This simple change was able to offer me great speed boosts on both my 2.4GHz and 5GHz networks, but keep in mind that both the Wi-Fi card and wireless access point need to support the same Wi-Fi version.
At least for best performance, In general, they’re backward compatible, so this is a Wi-Fi 6 access point and I could connect to it from a Wi-Fi 5 or Wi-Fi 4 laptop, but for best performance, it is always better to upgrade to Wi-Fi 6 Card.
This will depend on your laptop, most laptops have removable Wi-Fi cards but some are soldered to the motherboard and can’t be changed. If you’re in doubt it’s pretty easy to check inside or refer to the manual of your laptop.
Installation of the Wi-Fi 6 Card is quite simple and easy to do. There are two antenna cables attached to the card.
Take note of the order as it does matter. Remove the cables, unscrew and remove the card, insert the new card, reattach the cables in the original order and turn the laptop back on.
In Windows generally, a Windows update will be enough to get you up and running, but if you only have Internet access with Wi-Fi then you’ll want to make sure that you download those drivers from the manufacturer’s website first.
Get a Wi-Fi Extenders
The eighth number on this list is to get Wi-Fi extenders. For bigger areas, even a single powerful access point might not be enough to give you all the coverage you need.
Especially if you have lots of solid walls. There are different types of Wi-Fi extenders. Generally, I’d suggest keeping away from the repeaters that just connect the existing Wi-Fi network because if the signal to the repeat is already weak then that won’t improve much.
In the best case, if your house is already wired for ethernet you can connect Wi-Fi extenders directly to the wired network.
If it’s not, there are still Wi-Fi extenders that only need to connect to power, as they can use the power wires to transfer data. Below is the best WiFi Extender which you can get right now.
Upgrade Your Wi-Fi Antenna
The ninth on this list is to Upgrade your Wi-Fi antenna. My old router let me unscrew the antennas and replace them with bigger options with higher gain.
And this should help improve the signal, but it depends on the specific model and if it supports this, and what sort of antenna it came with.
In this case, you should check your router manual and verify whether your router supports the same features or not. And if in case it doesn’t then you can look for the next option.
Upgrade Your Wi-Fi Router
The last and tenth on this list are to Upgrade your Wi-Fi router. This is of course a more expensive option and more of a last resort out of all the options covered so far.
But the fact is newer Wi-Fi standards found in newer models offer faster speeds and more range, though it does of course vary on the specific model.
You might have to do some research and check out reviews first. If you’ve got something that does Wi-Fi 6 then you might not want to spend more to get something that only goes up to Wi-Fi 5.
You can check my list of best Wi-Fi Modems where I have provided a list of combo modems and routers best suited for people.
Even if it is more expensive. Unless you’re just accessing content over the local network, say from a NAS for instance, at the end of the day you’re probably going to be more limited by your Internet connection than your wireless access point.
If most of the content that you access is out on the Internet then it’s going to depend more on your internet speed and latency. Even if you have the best Wi-Fi in the world, download and upload speed will be bottlenecked by your internet connection.
So if you still have problems after trying everything in this post then you might need to follow up with your Internet Service Provider.
Before ARRIS sent over their new modem and router combo with Wi-Fi 6 I was stuck with an 8year old router that only offered Wi-Fi 4. No matter what I did, even if I was sitting in the same room as this thing. Wi-Fi was basically unusable.
Now the speed boost I get in the same room is pretty crazy, and even when on the other side of the house the difference is also significantly faster. Seriously, before this thing, my Wi-Fi was just pathetic.