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Westnet How to guide: Optimise your WiFi

WiFi_Optimise_wn

Wireless connectivity transform the modern home but when you’re struggling with a weak WiFi signal it can be frustrating, to say the least. A weaker signal means slower performance, which can leave you suffering the buffer when you should be cosied up on your couch, streaming your favourite shows on your devices.

Thankfully, there are some simple steps that you can follow to make sure your home WiFi signal is the best that it can be. If you’re suffering from a weak WiFi signal, have a read of this handy guide we’ve put together to find out what to do.

Step 1: Check if you’re using the best WiFi available

Most WiFi devices these days are using 2.4GHz N WiFi when they could be using 5GHz AC WiFi. Don’t let the names scare you away – we’ll break it down for you. Basically, all you need to know is the main differences between these two types of WiFi and you’ll be good to go!

5GHz WiFi

This type of WiFi uses more bandwidth and it can provide faster speeds but it has less range for coverage.

2.4GHz WiFi

This type of WiFi uses has less bandwidth so it isn’t as fast as 5GHz but it provides coverage over longer distances.

If you have a small to medium home, you may be better off on the latest 5GHz WiFi but larger households might not benefit from making the switch. How do I switch, you ask? First of all, you need to do a quick Google search to see if your WiFi modem broadcasts 5GHz WiFi – it’ll be faster than digging through the manual. If you have a TG-789 Broadband Gateway, Cable Gateway Pro or Budii Lite supplied by us, you’re in luck – these modems have 5GHz WiFi built in and they should broadcast by default. Check the barcode sticker on the modem for the name and password for the default 5GHz WiFi network.

Next, make sure that your devices can connect to 5GHz WiFi. If your device was manufactured after 2014, chances are that it’s compatible. If you have an older laptop or desktop computer, you can also purchase a USB plug-in AC WiFi adapter from your local computer shop or office supply store to allow you to connect to this channel.

If you’re still not sure if your devices connect, the easiest way to find out if your device is compatible is just to have a go at connecting to the 5GHz WiFi network. If you’re not sure how to do that, just follow our guide on Connecting to a WiFi Network. Once you’ve got all your devices connected, you may notice an improvement in performance, especially if you have a lot of devices connected simultaneously!

Step 2: Check your modem’s location

It’s all about location! Where you place your WiFi modem in your home can have a big impact on your WiFi signal strength and coverage. Follow these tips to make sure your WiFi modem is in the best spot possible:

  • Put your modem in a clear, central place in your home. A typical indoor WiFi signal has a range of about 30 metres, but this distance can be reduced if there are a large amount of obstacles (e.g. walls, cupboards) between you and your modem.
  • If you have a larger area to cover, you may want to buy a WiFi signal extender from your local electronics store. This device will plug into a power outlet and relay your WiFi signal over a longer distance.
  • Place your modem on a desk or elevated shelf; WiFi signal travels better “downwards”. A modem should never be placed on the floor as the ground causes a lot of signal interference.
  • Keep your modem away from any trees, plants, microwaves, metal objects and also any other devices that broadcast a WiFi signal. Try to avoid having these obstacles between you and your modem while you’re using the WiFi.

Step 3: Find the best WiFi channel to use

Finally, it’s worth checking if your WiFi network is using the best channel. Much a like a radio, WiFi has different channels to choose from and if too many WiFi networks are operating over the same channel, it can cause some performance issues. This is most common in high-density living areas like apartment buildings where there are more WiFi networks closer together.

To find out which WiFi channels are being used in your area, follow the steps in our guide for Windows and Mac computers. Take note of which channels are being used – for 2.4GHz WiFi, out of channels 1, 6 and 11, you want to find the one that’s being used the least. While you can use a channel that isn’t 1, 6 or 11, these three channels are the best choices for WiFi networks in Australia.

5GHz WiFi operates on a much higher frequency than 2.4GHz WiFi so it isn’t subject to the same common microwave interference that can affect 2.4Ghz WiFi. You shouldn’t need to worry too much about which channel you’re using, although you may want to switch to a different available channel if nearby connections are using the same channel.

Once you know which WiFi channel to use, you’ll need to change the channel your WiFi modem’s settings. We’ve got a guide on how to do this for all modems currently and previously sold by Westnet here. If you have a third party WiFi modem, please visit the manufacturer’s website for support information or try running a Google search for a guide.

Do you have a top tip for boosting your home WiFi signal? Share it with us in the comments.

18 comments

  1. Phyllis says:

    Our home phone is also connected to our NBN and we are getting too many “scam” calls telling us something is wrong with —. Is there a way we can block these calls ? I know I can on a mb and I used to be able to with Telstra from within Australia but often these seem to be coming from overseas call centres.
    Any help available??

  2. Heinz Quatember says:

    hi
    can not find out what wifi channel my network is using because cmd says, wireless auto config service is not running I have tried the fixes recommend by you but still no joy

    Heinz

  3. Sean says:

    Thanks for the info much appreciated the info about the difference between the 2.4 and 5Ghz networks.

  4. David Holder says:

    Look at the signal strength of your Network Connection!
    Windows 10>Control Panel>Network and Internet > Network Connections. Right-click the wireless connection and choose Connect / Disconnect to see its strength

  5. Des Malcomson says:

    This is all very interesting, and yes I would like to have the modifications done if necessary, as our wi fi is extremely slow, however this 84 year old brain is unable to apprehend thid technology, so who cold I contact to have this programme fixed. Thank you

  6. Peete Poland says:

    Something that was not mentioned in the above article is that my Westnet supplied Modem seems to get better propogation thru’ my house if I have it placed on its side – i.e. dont lay it flat but have it sitting Vertically resting on its thin side (approx 25mm thick)

  7. Peter Salmon says:

    I am in an apartment and Westnet installed NBN to our apartment block. It is copper from the main switchboard to apartments.
    I seem to have reasonable speed, but after reading your article on WiFi I don’t know how to test the speed I am getting from my iiNet router. how can I tell? My Samsung TV is connected via WiFi and works ok, as does my mobile phone and tablet.
    I do a lot of database work through a company in Colorado and response time is quite slow. Probably not related to WiFi but just wanted to check.

  8. Dom says:

    A useful article, however, despite going to great lengths to describe the value of using 5GHz WiFi, you completely omitted any commentary on the best channels to use for 5GHz. Are they all equal?

    • Gina Thompson says:

      Hi Dom, sorry I didn’t make this clear. I’ve updated the article with more information about 5GHz channels. Basically yes, all 5Ghz channels are considered equal. Because 5GHz WiFi operates on a much higher frequency than 2.4GHz WiFi, it isn’t subject to the same common microwave interference that can affect 2.4Ghz WiFi. You shouldn’t need to worry too much about which channel you’re using if you’re on 5GHz.

  9. Robert Clarke says:

    I’m still none the wiser about how to connect with 5ghz. I have a Budii – Lite version 1200. How do I find get the name and password for the 5 ghz network?

    • Chris May says:

      Hi Robert,

      Thanks for your question! Here’s how to access your 5Ghz WiFi settings on a Budii/Budii Lite modem.

      – If you log into your Budii Lite’s modem settings page (10.1.1.1, default password = admin) you should see a horizontal bar across the top with different options: “1. Wizard”, “2. Set up my wireless”, “3. Set up my VOIP” etc.

      – If you click on “2. Set up my wireless” it will take you to your WiFi settings, but the page that comes up is for the 2.4Ghz WiFi.

      – To find the 5Ghz settings, there’s a vertical menu on the left that has a number of options including “E. Set up my 5Ghz wireless”. Give that a click and you’ll be taken to the settings for the 5Ghz band.

      – Make sure to toggle 5G wireless function to “on” if it isn’t already, and you’ll find your wireless network name (SSID) and password (pre-shared key) below. You can change them here if you’d like as well.

      Hopefully that helps! If you have any questions or would like us to help walk you through the process of getting this set up please don’t hesitate to get in touch on 13 22 58 and our support team will be happy to provide assistance!

      – Chris

  10. Sandra says:

    This could all be written in Chinese for all the sense it makes to me…

  11. Robert Clarke says:

    On my left hand menu option E is “set up my AC wireless. There is no option “set up my 5G wireless”.

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