How to set up your home Wi-Fi to get the best connection

Setting up a wireless, or Wi-Fi, network at home is a no-brainer these days. But getting it to run at full potential often needs more tweaking.

While wired connections may be more robust, running Ethernet cables in the home can be inconvenient and unsightly, which is why most people prefer to set up a Wi-Fi network.

Here's how you can optimise your home Wi-Fi connection:

CHOOSE THE LATEST WIRELESS STANDARD

The latest 802.11ac wireless router that supports download speeds of up to 1.3Gbps (gigabits per second) is available today. This is about three times faster than its 802.11n predecessor.

As a rule of thumb, place the router in the middle of the house, and in a elevated position. This could be the living room or a walkway. In a double-storey house, the router may even be placed along the stairs to ensure coverage across two floors.

The latest mobile devices such as the Apple iPhone 6 and 6s, as well as newer computers, support this wireless standard.

CHOOSE THE 5GHZ BAND IN A DUAL-BAND ROUTER

Most routers these days are able to transmit data over the air using both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequency bands. Most devices also support both bands.

Select the 5GHz band over the 2.4GHz band to avoid congestion and interference. Many home appliances and devices - including Bluetooth speakers, cordless phones, wireless keyboards and mice, and the microwave ovens - operate over the 2.4GHz band.

ROUTER'S LOCATION MATTERS

Wi-Fi signals degrade over distance and with obstructions from objects such as furniture and books. Metal surfaces and glass panels can even reflect Wi-Fi signals, weakening the strength of the connection.

As a rule of thumb, place the router in the middle of the house, and in a elevated position. This could be the living room or a walkway. In a double-storey house, the router may even be placed along the stairs to ensure coverage across two floors.

For the best surfing experience, maintain a clear line of sight between the wireless router and the devices connected to it.

PASSWORD PROTECT THE WI-FI CONNECTION

Always use a password to protect your network and prevent unauthorised users from connecting to it. Otherwise, you might find your surfing speed slowing down because others are sucking up your bandwidth.

Also, hide your service set identifier (SSID) - a sequence of characters that uniquely names a wireless network. This requires users to manually enter the SSID to log on, making it more difficult for unauthorised users to get a free ride on your network.

GET TWO BROADBAND PACKAGES

StarHub offers a fibre broadband link and a separate cable broadband link using two different routers - at one price from $39.90 to $59.90. This is to ensure there are no blind spots in the house.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 24, 2016, with the headline 'How to set up your home Wi-Fi to get the best connection'. Print Edition | Subscribe