A wimpy WiFi network can be a source of daily aggravation. But with just a few tactical purchases, you can very easily boost both the range and speed of your network, and subsequently keep internet-related tantrums to a minimum. Here’s how:
1. Upgrade Your Router
Chances are your router is old, but upgrading to a slightly better midtier one is a bad investment because internet connections, and the devices they feed, get faster every year. Instead, splurge for a top-of-the-line 5 GHz/2.4 GHz and AC-band-capable model like the Linksys WRT1900AC ($250; linksys.com). It nearly doubled the transfer speeds on some of our devices, meaning videos played instantly and Web pages loaded with noticeable snap.
Apple’s AirPort Time Capsule ($299; apple.com) nudged speeds even higher for our Apple devices, and it adds a smart feature: a 2TB built-in hard drive that automatically and wirelessly backs up your data.
2. Get an Extender
A big problem in most homes: The WiFi signal gets weaker the farther you are from the router. The unobtrusive Netgear AC750 ($100; netgear.com) is a range extender that plugs into a power outlet away from the router and boosts the signal in previously out-of-range areas. Families in which everyone simultaneously streams video on separate devices could benefit from the larger D-Link DAP-1650 ($90; d-link.com), whose maximum transfer speed can be nearly twice that of the AC750.
3. Add an Antenna
This is an optional step, but if you have an older computer, the ASUS USB-AC56 adapter ($70; asus.com) is an inexpensive way to get a cutting-edge external antenna. It boosted our aging laptop’s transfer speeds by 20 percent.