How To Improve Wi-Fi Signals While Using Your Mac

The Internet allows us to do a lot of things. It will enable us to make video calls and lets us work at the comforts of our homes. It even allows us to download our favorite movies and listen to chart-topping songs. Then again, we can’t deny the sad truth that sometimes, our Internet connection needs a serious speed boost. No matter how advanced the Mac we are using and regardless of how much you pay your Internet service provider, there will come a time when the Wi-Fi’s signal slows down. But is there something we can do to enjoy the fastest experience?

Depending on the setup of your home or office, your Mac’s Wi-Fi connection can be improved. With a bit of optimization and fine-tuning, you can maximize your Internet connection’s potential. Better yet, follow these simple tips:

1. Perform A Speed Test.

The best way to know whether there is an issue with your Wi-Fi is to do a speed test. There are many ways to do it, but the easiest is to use speed testing websites. More often, these sites will test the speed of your Internet, both for uploads and downloads.

To perform a speed test, plug your Mac directly to the router. After that, perform a speed test by going to www.speedtest.net and take note of the speed. Next, unplug the connection from the router and connect to the Wi-Fi. Perform a speed test again. Jot down the speed details and compare it with your first data. If there is a significant difference between the two speeds, there might be something wrong with your connection.

2. Restart The Router.

If the Internet connection is slow, restarting the router may sometimes fix the issue. That is because doing so will force the router to reconnect and find the best channel with the strongest signal. It is especially helpful if you have plenty of neighbors that compete with the channel your router is currently using.

3. Locate The Wi-Fi Blackspots At Home.

You never know, there could be specific objects at home that are affecting the signal strength of your Wi-Fi. But since you can’t identify them, you can, at least, get a feel for where there is a strong signal. You can do this by downloading a heatmapping app on your iPhone and then start walking around your place. This app will let you know what areas of your house or office have a good Wi-Fi connection.

4. Move Your Router Around.

If the Wi-Fi signal seems a bit dreadful in your room, do you need to find a new location and move? Not really. You have several options. First, you can move your router to a central location in your house. Typically, routers are plugged into phone lines, which are often positioned near the entrance of your homes. So, you might need to get router extension cables to move the router to another spot. If it is not possible to move the router to another location, you can improve the signal by following these tips:

  • Place your router somewhere elevated. Raising the router can sometimes give the signal strength a boost.
  • Position the router away from an outside wall. Otherwise, half of the signal might be directed outwards.
  • Do not put your router in the cupboard. Don’t even hide it behind something. Yes, it might not look attractive for you, but it has to be positioned somewhere free of obstructions. That is if you want to improve its signal strength.

5. Adjust The Antennas.

Does your router have antennas? If yes, then it would be better if you point them up. You can also point them towards the direction of the weakest spot.
If you don’t see any external antennas, chances are, your router has built-in omnidirectional antennas that send signals in various directions.

6. Eliminate The Sources Of Interference.

As stated above, there are specific objects at home that could be blocking the signals of your Wi-Fi network. These objects are the microwave ovens, baby monitors, Bluetooth gadgets, and cordless phones. Fairy lights and fish tanks are also considered to be Wi-Fi signal-disrupters. If possible, move these objects away from the router, or at least put them somewhere else so they won’t be in between you and your router.

7. Remove Unknown Devices That Are Connected To Your Router.

Are you the only one who is using your Wi-Fi connection? Think again. There might be other devices for sharing your Wi-Fi connection. Remove these unknown devices so you can free up all the bandwidth and use it up for yourself. You can find what other devices are connected to your Wi-Fi network by accessing your router’s default IP address. To do this, you would generally type 192.168.1.1 into the URL bar of the browser. If that does not work, check the IP address listed on the router or ask your ISP.

Once your page has loaded, you can see how many devices are connected to your router. You will also know whether they are using the 5GHz or 2.4GHz frequency.
If you notice a lot of unknown devices connected to your Wi-Fi, it might be a good idea to delete or disconnect them.

8. Update Your Router’s Firmware.

It would be great if you can check the software of your router now and then. Make sure it is updated. In most cases, the update occurs automatically, but you can also do it manually by just pressing the Upgrade button located in the software interface.

9. Switch To The 5GHz Bandwidth.

Most routers today can operate in either 2.4GHz or 5GHz bandwidth. If your Mac was listed under devices that are connected through the 2.4GHz bandwidth, switching to 5GHz might speed things up. It is likely to give you a faster speed because it can transfer more data. Unfortunately, switching from 2.4GHz to 5GHz is not an easy feat. But if you insist, here’s what you should do:

  • Access your router’s Hub Manager by opening Safari and typing in your router’s IP address in the URL bar.
  • Go to Advanced Settings.
  • Separate the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bandwidths by giving them different names. Take note that doing this might cause other gadgets connected to your Wi-Fi to lose their connection.
  • On your Mac, open System Preferences > Network > Advanced.
  • Make the 5GHz network your default choice by moving it to the top.

However, that does not mean it’s the fastest option at all times. If your home is surrounded by thick walls, the wavelengths of the 5GHz frequency might not be able to penetrate the walls, resulting in slower Internet speed.

10. Consider Changing Your Channel.

If you found out that your neighbors are also using the same channel as with your Wi-Fi connection, you can switch to a less crowded channel to speed things a bit. With a Mac, you can easily see what channel the nearby networks are broadcasting on. Just follow the steps below:

  • Hold the Option/ALT button while clicking the Wi-Fi icon on your Mac’s screen.
  • Open Wireless Diagnostics.
  • Go to the menu and select Window -> Scan.
  • By now, you can determine what channels your neighbors are currently using.

To encourage your router to switch to a stronger channel, you can turn it off and on again. Whenever your router establishes a connection, it will automatically select the channel with the strongest signal.

11. Get A New Router.

Is your router old and outdated? Maybe it’s time to switch to a new one. All routers run and are named based on the standard called 802.11. While the older versions are known as 802.11g, the most current routers are called the 802.11ac type.

If your router is still the 802.11g type, then we highly suggest you get an 802.11ac type. The new router has excellent features, such as the Multi User-Multiple Input Multiple Output, which enables sending and receiving multiple data streams simultaneously to different devices without degrading the bandwidth. Aside from that, this router is capable of beamforming, a feature that allows a router to focus its Wi-Fi signal towards a specific Wi-Fi-enabled device.

Now, if you are still not convinced about getting an 802.11ac type of router, this reason might change your mind. With such kind of router, you can stream videos all day long because it can alleviate video buffering so you can watch videos without having to wait for them to load. Before you decide to get a new router, might as well check if your Mac supports it. Go to Apple menu and select About this Mac > System Report > Wi-Fi. Check all the supported routers by your Mac, for example, 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac.

By the way, don’t rush to the computer shop to get a new router. It is best that you contact your ISP first. Sometimes, they can provide you a new router for a minimal fee, or if you’ve been with them for a while, they can update your router for free.

12. Secure Your Mac.

Even if nobody is connecting to your Wi-Fi network, you have to ensure your connection is secure. You can achieve that by using a WPA2 password. You can set this by going to Wireless Diagnostics > Window > Scan and then check Security.

Another way to secure your network is through Cloaking. It allows you to hide the name of your network by not broadcasting it publicly. The only downside of this method is that you need to add the network to connect to it manually.

13. Use Wi-Fi Boosters.

If your Wi-Fi connection is limited due to certain factors, such as thick walls, you can consider using a Wi-Fi booster or a Wi-Fi extender. With these devices, you can catch wireless signals and rebroadcast them. A Wi-Fi signal booster is especially handy if you are having a hard time connecting to a Wi-Fi network if you are upstairs and your router is downstairs. Just plug it into an outlet near you so you will no longer struggle with connecting to the Wi-Fi.

The only problem with using a Wi-Fi extender is that if it is placed in a weak Wi-Fi spot, the signal that will be pushed out will also be vulnerable. If a Wi-Fi booster or a Wi-Fi extender is not available, you can use a Powerline adapter. This tech allows you to create a home network with the help of your existing home electrical wiring system. Directly plug a Powerline adapter into an outlet beside your router and connect it to your router using an ethernet cable. In another room, where you usually spend your hours surfing the web, plug another Powerline adapter. You can then connect to it using an ethernet cable or via Wi-Fi, if it is Wi-Fi enabled.

A Powerline adapter is your best option if someone in your house is always consuming your Internet bandwidth for gaming or streaming videos on YouTube or Netflix.

14. Use A Tin Foil Or Other Pieces Of Metal.

Another way to boost the signal of your Wi-Fi router is to use a tin foil. Although we cannot guarantee the best results, it is worth trying.
Science says metal can reflect a Wi-Fi signal. So, why not use metal to point the signal back to you? Wrap the antenna of the router with a tin foil and see what happens. If you experience a speedy connection, then great. Otherwise, you may need to reset your router first.

If a tin foil is not available, you can use a curved metal and place it behind your router. It can be a soft drink can that is cut from the top to the bottom. Be careful not to hurt your fingers.

15. Close Any Unnecessary Apps, Programs, And Tabs.

One reason why your Internet speed is slow is that dozens of apps and programs connected to the Internet are running in the background. For example, Skype, Safari, Twitter, and Facebook are continuously connecting to the Internet to get updates and sync. And with the introduction of iCloud, more and more apps are continually consuming your bandwidth. So, it is a good idea only to open the apps that you need.

16. Optimize Safari.

Even if Safari is one of the best browsers available for Mac users, the time comes when it needs to be cleaned, optimized, and reset to keep it running well. Here are the steps to follow to maximize Safari:

  • Go to Safari menu.
  • Select Preferences > Privacy > Manage Website Data > Remove All.
  • Clear your browser’s history by going back to the Safari menu and clicking Clear History.
  • To disable the extensions on Safari, go to Safari Menu > Preferences > Extensions. Select the extensions you wish to disable or check all of them.

17. Choose The Fastest ISP.

If you want a fast Internet connection, the most obvious advice we can give is to upgrade to a premium Internet service package. There’s no point in using Wi-Fi boosters or doing all those configurations if your Internet service is limited to only 1 Mbps.

Depending on your location, it is straightforward to have a 20, 50, or 100 Mbps connection. It’s so fast that you can download movies in just a few minutes. To know more about these Internet service packages, speak with a representative from your Internet service provider. If you are subscribed to the fastest Internet service package of your current ISP, your best option is to find another ISP that can offer a faster Internet speed.

18. Clean Your Mac.

Many apps promise to clean your Mac and boost its speed. And interestingly, most of them can indirectly help make your Wi-Fi connection a bit faster, especially if they clear Safari’s bookmarks, history, and cache. Third-party apps that clean your disk space and clear your memory may also help increase your Internet speed.

One of the best apps we can recommend is Outbyte MacRepair. With this app, you can ensure your Mac is free from all sorts of junk – cache files created by browsers, diagnostic logs, and broken downloads. It also helps clear your RAM to give way to new processes and improve your Mac run faster.

19. Connect To The Internet Using An Ethernet Cable.

The most convenient way to connect to the Internet is through Wi-Fi. Then again, linking directly to your router with an Ethernet cable can provide a way faster connection. Believe us; Wi-Fi cannot achieve the speed an Ethernet cable gives because it can experience signal loss. To connect your Mac to the Internet via Ethernet cable, plug an Ethernet cable to the router and into your Mac. Eventually, you will notice a significant speed boost.

20. Call Your Internet Service Provider.

If you have already tried all our tips above and your Internet connection is still very slow, then you might want to call your Internet service provider. The problem might be on their end, so doing anything on your router won’t fix it. Most likely, their technicians are already working to resolve the issue. Now, if your ISP cannot do anything with your slow Internet or you are not happy with their customer service, it is time that you consider subscribing to a new ISP. Ask recommendations from your friends and colleagues and make a choice based on your needs.

Conclusion

That’s it! We sure hope our tips have helped make your Internet connection faster than ever. Our last advice would be to ensure you perform regular maintenance and checkups on your Mac to prevent having problems with slow Internet connection. After all, we aim to stay connected, right?

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