Router Optimization Tips

The following are tips we often recommend to subscribers looking to insure they get the most out of their Wi-Fi performance. 

1. The most important factor is to eliminate Wi-Fi interference by insuring you are using 5G channels and avoiding 2.4G. 2.4Ghz channels have so much interference, they are not useful above around 70 Mb/s.  The reason is simple - there are only 3 non-overlapping unique channels available in 2G, while there are over 20 channels available to 5G radios. Lock your devices into using 5G exclusively for the best performance. 

Routers that support "dual band" will allow you to set the name of your 5G network separate from your 2.4G network. By naming your 5G network something different you can force your devices to associate only with the 5G network and completely avoid the 2G network. This will lock you into high performance. 


2. If your router does not support 5G channels, consider upgrading your router to an AC1900 class router (or better) for an entirely new Wi-Fi experience. The performance of AC Wi-Fi should provide real-world performance of at least 500 Mb/s.  N-class routers may also support 5G channels, at around 200-250 Mb/s. However, be aware that N-class routers may also use 2.4G which will suffer interference and should be avoided.


3. Placement of your router is important to insure proper coverage in your home. Keep in mind the distance between your device and the router will adversely effect performance. Try to centrally locate the device as close to the rooms you will use the service. Signal levels diminish quickly through walls and obstructions.  The higher the signal (generally) the faster the service.

Do not place your router near large objects (within reason), near metal, plaster, or materials that cancel/absorb radio frequencies. 

Do not install your router in the basement. This will inhibit performance in upper floors. 


4. Do not use Wi-Fi repeaters. The reason is Wi-Fi is a half-duplex technology. Meaning, it cannot transmit and receive at the same time. By "repeating" a Wi-Fi signal, you will cut performance of the entire route in less than half.  This is OK when routers are operating at speeds more than double your Internet capacity, but when your Internet is Gigabit you will considerably reduce performance. 

If you need more signal in your home, you can extend coverage by installing additional Access Points or secondary routers. It is important these secondary access points/routers are connected back to your primary router via a dedicated Gigabit Ethernet cable. You can hire LightSpeed to run these secondary lines in your home or you can do so yourself. Either way, having a dedicated Gigabit line for your secondary access points will insure full performance throughout your home.


5. Features like content filter or advanced firewall will inhibit performance of your connection. These features are often taxing on the CPU of lower performance routers, resulting in slower performance. When turning on advanced features in your router, make sure you test performance to insure you are not adversely effecting your Internet capacity. 

If you need advanced features and performance, you may need to upgrade your router to a higher class. AC1900 is good for most people, however, AC2300 or better will have a higher capacity CPU capable of providing higher performance with additional features enabled.  Just keep in mind the more features you enable, the slower your router will operate because CPU resources are limited.

If you are experiencing performance concerns, try disabling the firewall, content filtering, and other related features. 


6. Disable QOS/prioritization features. It seems counter-intuitive to disable video streaming or online gaming prioritization, but these features are not needed with a 1 Gig connection. These features actually slow down your router's performance in a number of ways. 

By prioritizing gaming and video streams, you are slowing down non-gaming and video streams. This feature is designed for routers connected via slow DSL or Cable connections, where network congestion is common. There is no network congestion on a 1 Gig connection, therefore it actually hinders performance.

Since this feature requires a lot of CPU capacity in your router and it does not provide any practical benefit, disabling the feature will increase the performance of the system.


7. Know your Wi-Fi device capabilities. 

Having the best AC router on the market will not help the performance of antiquated client devices. For example, a very old B-Class or G-Class Wi-Fi device will still work with AC class routers, but they will not connect any faster than B-Class (i.e., about 3 to 5 Mb/s usable) or G-Class (i.e., about 15 or 20 Mb/s usable) devices allow.

It is possible to upgrade most devices to support AC class Wi-Fi, however check with your Wi-Fi support team to make arrangements if you need help. 


8. Here is a good video covering some of these topics. check it out:

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