Find a Strong Internet Signal

Edited by Jonathan, Lynn, Maria Quinney, Eng and 4 others

In this day and age, the sophisticated Urbanite, the techie suburban dweller, and the device-learning rural cowboy, are all at one time or another in need of a strong internet signal. Their cyber needs might range from the online payment of bills to tracking the whereabouts of their shipped cargo, to updating local weather conditions.

Maximize And Benefit From A Strong Internet Connection

When you're trying to find a strong internet signal while in public, at home or at the office, you have many options in order to be connected with a strong signal. Try them one by one, and eventually, you'll find why your computer is running so slow.

WiFi Service Away From Home

Usually the strongest internet connections are those that you pay for, but there are a few alternatives to WiFi, hotspots and free WiFi.

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    Test the signal before buying. If you can, try the WiFi out before purchasing any time. If that's not possible, Purchase the minimum time so if it is a weak signal, you haven't lost much.
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    If they require a purchase. If you can't use their WiFi without purchasing something, and you're not sure about the signal, just buy a coffee, or a drink - basically, spend as little money as possible until you're sure the signal is good.
    1. Let's say, you are in a WiFi hotspot (hotel, cafe, airport, hospital, etc.) and you are looking for a signal.  
      1. The first thing you might do with your gadget is to open a website with your browser of choice.
      2. Instead of getting the website, you are directed to the establishment's landing page which requires you to agree to its terms and conditions by pressing on a cyber button.
      3. You'll be informed that this pay-per-use service can be paid for using your credit card or cash.
      4. Once you pay, you'll automatically be connected to the internet.
    2. Password. At other times, after you pay by the required means, the hotspot provider provides you with the access code, which you have to input.
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    Expensive places usually have strong internet signals.  
    1. The strongest internet signals are in the business centers that are the costliest and the most upscale. In these places, the access codes should be variable or should be changed daily so that the WiFi users will be forced or, to term it more businesslike, encouraged to purchase the WiFi service in order to receive an access code.
    2. Many cities and towns have entire areas with WiFi. This includes public buildings, city centers and buses and trains.
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Established WiFi at Home or the Office

Home and office internet signal problems? These nuggets of techie wisdom might help:

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    Check the router and its administration website. At your home or office, if you have a strong wireless signal but you're still feeling frustrated, and sometimes angry, or start to wonder if your neighbor is hacking your service, you need to go to the wireless router's administration page. The router's manual will be able to provide you with the http site, or you can look at the router itself by checking the status indicator lights. Usually, there should be a blinking light for the internet connection, but some routers have a steady light to indicate that your internet connection is okay. The manual can familiarize you with this.
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    For establishing a wireless local area network (WLAN) on your home set-up, the basic principle is that the nearer your gadget is to your router, the better stronger the signal. Well, not all setups are ideal. To give you some technical terms, you should be familiar with IEEE 802.11. Pretty heavy stuff, huh? It's a set of medium access control (MAC) and physical layer (PHY) specifications for implementing WLAN computer communication in the 2.4, 3.6, 5 and 60 GHz frequency bands. Now, I am giving you a headache. The base version of the standard of 802.11 was released in 1997 and it had several amendments since then, improving on the indoor and outdoor range of the router for every amendment: (source:Wikipedia)  
    1. 802.11 released June 1997 max indoor range 20 meters max outdoor range 100 meters
    2. 802.11a released Sept 1999 max indoor range 35 meters max outdoor range 120 meters
    3. 802.11b released Sept 1999 max indoor range 35 meters max outdoor range 140 meters
    4. 802.11g released June 2003 max indoor range 38 meters max outdoor range 140 meters
    5. 802.11n released Oct 2009 max indoor range 70 meters max outdoor range 250 meters
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    WEP/WPA Code. At this point, if your WiFi is still down, input your WEP/WPA code again and see if the WiFi is then up and running. Even if your gadget shows that you have a strong wireless signal, but you inputted the wrong code/key, the router will still be adamant in refusing to link up with your gadget. If you still have no internet service, click Disconnect and try Connecting again. Again, correct code/key - very important.  
    1. MAC Address Filtering. Check if the router has MAC address filtering settings. MAC stands for Media Access Control Numbers, which identifies only specific and unique devices to authenticate with the router/access point. ("Hi,, this is the latest Galaxy/iPhone/Mac/Tablet. What is your problem?") No matter how advanced your gadget is, if it is not affiliated with the MAC, it will not connect.
    2. ISP to DNS. If your internal signal problem is still persistent, you still have one more option. You can change from your ISP (Internet Service Provider) to a dedicated DNS (Domain Name Server) service -- such as OpenDNS -- which can add more connection reliability and speed up your internet connection. You can enter the DNS addresses manually into your router's configuration pages.
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    Think about this. Generally speaking, fiber optic and cable internet are faster than DSL and dial-up.
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    Basic maintenance on your Laptop or PC can help.  
    1. Sometimes the causes of slow internet connections are viruses and other malware, old files and temporary files. Things like disk defragmentation, a virus scan, a malware scan, and clearing your cache and recycle bin will help speed everything up.
    2. Never allow the free space of your drive C to be less than 10 percent of the total size of the RAM.
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    Restarting the router or electric power on and off can also speed up your connection.
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    Connect to the router. Make sure (if you have several gadgets/computers in use) that all the devices are physically connected to a router, which is capable of prioritizing and directing traffic effectively, and not just to a hub, which is an unsophisticated device not capable of examining or managing any of the traffic that enters through it.
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    Check your cache. Maximize the efficiency of your computer's cache or temporary internet files. An efficient cache will not download the same files over and over again. This slows down your device's ability to capture the best internet signal.
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    Watch for conflicting signals. If you are using a wireless router, make sure its signal does not conflict with the signals of cordless phones or wireless security cameras. They should not all operate on the same frequency. For example, cordless phones operating on 2.4 GHz will clash with a wireless router with the same frequency, but if the phone operates on 900 MHz, there will be peace in the frequency environment, and your internet connection will be, oh so smooth.
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    Upgrade your computer. Even if the internet connection is strong, if your device or computer is not up to par (or terribly out-dated), no matter what you do, you will still be scratching your head. So, upgrade your computer.
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    Upgrade your router. Older routers are not capable of transmitting faster than 10 Mbps, thus, you will be missing a lot of data if you stick with your old man.
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    Replace your old cable modem. Any high-grade electronics equipment will deteriorate over time due to accumulated heat damage, dust and wear and tear. Your broadband modem will have a difficult time maintaining a strong connection as it gets older. Signal to noise ratios will go down and the number of resend requests will go up. Buy a cable modem of your choice instead of the modem supplied by your internet service provider (usually lower quality).
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    Close some of those programs. Often the connection speed is slow because other programs are using the connection and your computer is busy multi-tasking. Programs like anti-virus, software updates, etc., might be accessing the internet (without your knowledge) and slowing down your connection. Open the task manager and close the processes that are stealing your valuable bandwidth.
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    Make sure you aren't being hijacked. Make sure someone, or a group of people, isn't using your WiFi signal. This will definitely slow your connection, as well as put your personal information at risk. One safeguard is to make sure your WiFi system has a secure password, which should not be divulged easily to anyone.
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    When all else fails. If nothing else works, contact your Internet service provider (ISP). The problem might be on their end.
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Questions and Answers

What should I do if the real speed is not as they proposed?

First, remember that the advertised speed is measured in megabits per second (Mb/s), not megabytes per second (MB/s). If you purchased a 10Mb/s down connection, you will get about 1.25MB/s down. The typical rule is to divide the Mb/s speed by 8 to find your MB/s speed.

If your speed is still slower than what you're paying for, you can restart your modem, router, and computer to see if that fixes the problem. If not, you might need to call your internet service provider's customer service center to see if there's a problem on their end. The squeaky wheel does get the oil.

If you have problems with any of the steps in this article, please ask a question for more help, or post in the comments section below.


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Categories : Hardware

Recent edits by: VC, Calob Horton, Alma

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