Due to the pandemic virus pandemic and more and more people working from home, your WiFi network may have been tested and suddenly forced to handle more devices and Internet traffic than ever before.

Just ask Logan Hardison, a 28-year-old college student, who is learning video game development. He shared a house in western Kentucky with his partners and four friends, all competing for WiFi connectivity. It's not easy.

He said, "Today, I move the expander everywhere, trying to increase the signal strength." "I finally found a good place and moved it from 1 megabits per second to about 5 megabits!"

According to the background, according to the Federal Communications Commission, 1 megabit per second is only used for very tiny activities (regular web browsing, email, and social media), which recently released WiFi alert crowds. 5 megabits per second opens up the possibility of streaming SD video, but not HD video and certainly not 4K.

If you have a modern wireless router, you probably don't have to worry about it. Today's models are equipped with advanced features and settings that alleviate the pressure on the crowd by logging into Zoom conference calls, uploading large files to the cloud, and streaming Netflix and Tubi videos.

If you need help setting up, check out our article that explains how to choose the best location to install a router in your home. In order to optimize your WiFi network after it is up and running, here are some expert tips from Consumer Reports testers.

features (also known as QoS or priority) as a priority check-in service on the aircraft: it determines which of your content and devices move to the top of the WiFi line.

Take mom for example. If she's going to work from home in the foreseeable future, it makes sense to prioritize her laptop on all other devices in the house. In this way, her Zoom conference will not be in trouble, nor will she be in trouble because of junior high school's decision to download the new 40 GB video game Doom Eternal on its PlayStation 4.

You can find QoS features in your router's settings, which are usually accessible on the device itself or through the included mobile app. You may need to look online for model-specific instructions.
As we pointed out in the detailed chart, of the dozens of wireless routers we evaluated, all wireless routers except eight routers support this priority.

You can also decide to go a step further and create separate private networks for "mission-critical" devices, such as mom and dad's laptops.

Many routers in our rating support two bands (2.4 GHz and 5 GHz), which is weird, and it allows you to create two separate WiFi networks (usually one for homes and one for visitors).

2.4GHz networks are usually slower but have a wider range, which is very useful for smart home products such as security cameras. Of course, the "slow" here is relative, and the band still allows you to use common homework applications such as Microsoft Office, Slack, and Zoom.

By placing key devices on a 5GHz network, you can alleviate congestion and limit interference from junior game consoles, Chromebooks, and smartphones.

a better technology for apartment dwellers in large cities than people living in suburban single-family homes.

Channels are essentially part of the WiFi spectrum used by routers. Think of it this way: Interstate 95 is the main highway, but there are only so many lanes. If you are lucky, the way forward is clear, you can go at the speed you want, and of course pay attention to speed restrictions. But during peak hours, you will be dominated by the car in front of you.

If your router is on a low-traffic tunnel, there are few measures to slow it down. However, due to the limited number of channels, people in densely populated areas may find some crowds more crowded than others, which could mean the difference between smooth Zoom calls and pixelated chaos.

"The first step is to make sure the router is set to automatic channel selection and restarted," said Richard Fisco, who conducts electronic testing of consumer reports. He said that this will enable routers to find idle routers. Channel for connection.

You can also use your smartphone to scan nearby wireless networks to see which channels others are using, and then switch the router to the less crowded option. Mobile applications such as WiFi Analyzer for Android and Apple's AirPort Utility for iOS show the names of nearby wireless networks and the channels they are using, so you can quickly see which channels you want to avoid. Although AirPort Utility does not require an Apple router, you do need to go into the iOS Settings app and enable WiFi scanning in the AirPort Utility section for it to function properly.

Then, simply enter the router's settings through the router itself or the included application, and switch to the least crowded channel. You may have to restart your router for the channel change to take effect.

almost cheating, but many wireless routers still provide the ability to connect devices via an Ethernet cable, and no WiFi network in the world is as stable or reliable as the old-fashioned hard-wired connection.

So if you have the right cables around and the router is conveniently located, it's best to ignore WiFi completely and then connect your laptop to the Internet via Ethernet.

The problem is that not all laptops (see Apple's MacBook Pro) still have a built-in Ethernet port, which is the price we pay for increasingly thinner designs. In this case, you need to buy a dongle, which can be purchased on Amazon, starting at about $ 20.

This trick is also applicable to widely used game consoles, such as Microsoft Xbox One and Sony PS4 that can be plugged directly into a router. If your child can only play Call of Duty at work, ask them to use an Ethernet cable instead of blocking the WiFi network. It will not give the console a higher priority than other devices in the home, but it will help reduce the amount of data transmitted wirelessly.

Please note that the Nintendo Switch requires a separate $ 30 adapter to connect to the Ethernet cable.

a house with cellular data, with children busy playing TikTok videos on their phones? If you have an unlimited data plan, after completing an important video conference call and transferring the fun to your phone, you can turn off your phone's WiFi access briefly in the device settings.

"Call your provider first," Fisco said. "Some people have unlimited access to community data when working from home."

If you stay at home for long periods of time (as it seems to most of us), upgrading your broadband connection for at least a month or two may not hurt you. You may not need a Gigabit connection to use Netflix and Zoom at the same time, but if your current service level is not enough, upgrading to the next level may be a headache, or both.

Services like Speedtest and DSL Report Speed ​​Test can help you decide which broadband speed to get at home. Ideally, you will need to run the test from a laptop connected to the router via an Ethernet cable, as this will give you the best idea of ​​your Internet connection speed. It's best not to let anyone stream Netflix or download large video game files during a trial.

As for the required service level (at least temporarily), you can estimate it based on usage. For example, Netflix's single 4K stream requires 25 megabits per second, so if several people at home are stuck on Netflix, you may want to consider at least 100 Mbps. Layer options vary by ISP, but they tend to increase in 100 Mbps increments.

Over the past few weeks, some ISPs, including Comcast, have promised to upgrade bandwidth tiers (and eliminate data caps) for some customers for free to deal with the challenge of working from home suddenly. So before taking any action, be sure to call customer service to explore all options.