5 top ways to speed up your Wi-Fi network

Want to speed up your Wi-Fi network? I've got five ways to do it.

Get a multiuser MIMO router

Routers that use 802.11ac, sometimes called gigabit Wi-Fi, are faster than their predecessors, and some of them use multiuser MIMO technology, which is even better. I won't go into all the details, but multiuser MIMO lets your router send data simultaneously to multiple devices. The net effect: Faster effective speeds.

There aren't many routers yet that have the capability, and figure you'll pay about $250 for any that do. Consider the ASUS RT-AC87U or the Linksys AC2600. (The Linksys will be released on May 10.)

Use the 5Ghz band

Dual-band routers transmit in both the 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz bands, so make sure that your router is a dual-band one. If it's not, buy one that is. Go through its settings to make sure that both bands are enabled. With both bands in use, older devices will connect at 2.4Ghz and newer ones at 5Ghz, easing network congestion.

Turn on band steering

On their own, newer devices that connect to your network might not decide to connect to the higher 5Ghz speed. To tell them to do it, turn on your router's band steering feature. Check its documentation for how to do it.

Update your firmware

I'm sure you've heard this advice many times. I'm sure that you've ignored it many times. But it works --- routers with updated firmware are more problem-free, stable, and offer better performance than those with outdated firmware. Do it now.

Use WPA2 encryption

You've got multiple security standards you can use on your network. Use WPA2, not just because it's more secure than other standards, but because it's faster as well and allows for higher connection speeds on newer routers and devices.

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