This story is part of Home Tips, CNET’s collection of practical advice for getting the most out of your home, inside and out.
A reliable internet connection at home is pivotal — but Wi-Fi can be frustratingly finicky. Despite paying monthly fees to an internet service provider, and even if you’ve had a router professionally installed, you may still find yourself spending too much time watching your phone, laptop or streaming device grind away as it tries to stay connected.
That’s a massive headache if you work from home, if you’re trying to install smart home gadgets, or if you just want to unwind with some Netflix at the end of the day.
The good news is there’s an easy way to optimize your Wi-Fi network and address these issues, and it’ll only take you a few minutes.
There are a lot of factors that determine internet speeds and while there are a few tricks or guidelines you can follow to improve the overall wireless speeds and coverage in your home, one of the most crucial factors is the location of your router. And note, the best place is not always where the technician set it up. So keep reading to learn about the best place in your home for your router and other tricks for faster Wi-Fi. You can also check out our picks for the best Wi-Fi routers, the best mesh routers and the best Wi-Fi extenders.
Find the right router for your space
First things first: It all starts with choosing the right router or other equipment. Not all routers are the same and the size and layout of your home will determine what type of wireless network you need.
For most apartments and smaller homes (under 1,500 square feet), a single wireless access point should suffice. That said, if your router is several years old, you may want to consider upgrading to a newer model with support for 802.11ax, or Wi-Fi