More people being home, and working from home, during the coronavirus pandemic is taxing Wi-Fi, but there are steps people can take to keep their internet speedy.

John Randall, IT supervisor at Service Electric Cablevision’s Hazleton office, recommended customers have the most up-to-date router. A speed of 5 gigahertz (GHz) is considered the fastest.

“About 90% of Wi-Fi issues are connected to the router, whether it’s older and not capable of handling multiple devices or the speed (the service provider) is supplying the modem,” he said.

Those who are experiencing trouble should download a speed test app on their smartphone, Randall said.

The Federal Communications Commission, which has details online about speed test apps and websites, says rebooting the router often resolves problems.

It also suggests researching a router model number to see if it’s capable of providing subscribed speeds.

“If updates aren’t available, you may need to purchase a new router or rent an upgraded router from your service provider,” the FCC reports.

The agency also recommends setting guidelines for Wi-Fi use in a household and discussing daily schedules to prioritize usage. It recommends dedicating the 5 GHz network on the router for important use, such as work or school.

Consumer Reports recommends enabling the quality-of-service feature on a router to determine which content and devices move ahead on the Wi-Fi line.

The magazine notes that while 5 GHz routers are faster, those with 2.4 GHz offer broader coverage.

Some service providers, such as Comcast, have pledged to upgrade bandwidth tiers and eliminate data caps for certain customers free of charge during the outbreak.



Wi-Fi advice

  • Relocate the router to the room where most online activity occurs.
  • Plug a device directly into the router with an ethernet cable. An ethernet adapter can be purchased for devices that don’t have an ethernet port.
  • Those with unlimited cellular data plans can briefly turn off Wi-Fi access on phones, shifting to cellular data, according to Consumer Reports. Doing so allows for a better cellular signal, according to the Federal Communications Commission.
  • Cellphones can also be used as mobile hot spots through which devices such as laptops can connect. The FCC recommends users check their data plan caps before switching.
  • The FCC says turning on Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi calling from a smartphone can conserve data, reduce potential congestion on mobile networks and prevent data overage charges. Verizon spokesman David Weissmann said company officials suggest turning on Wi-Fi calling for a faster Wi-Fi connection.