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How to extend Wi-Fi range: Increase your speed and fix slow internet problems

Find and fix Wi-Fi problems, extend range and increase internet speed with our complete guide for your wireless network


How to configure a 5GHz Wi-Fi router

5GHz networks are similar to 2.4GHz networks to deal with, but there are a few more options. If you’ve got an 802.11n router that supports both 2.4GHz and 5GHz networks, you may find that it only supports one at a time, forcing you to make a choice. Most likely, you’ll need to choose 2.4GHz network for compatibility and range, so you shouldn’t need the advice here. With 802.11ac routers and some 802.11n routers, you can run both networks simultaneously, so the 5GHz network has to be configured properly. We’ll assume that you’ve logged on to your router already using the steps on the previous page.

STEP 1 – Check network name

Check the name of your 5GHz network and make sure it’s different to the name for your 2.4GHz network – perhaps append _5GHZ to the other network’s name. We’ve seen some routers that use the same name for both networks, but this means you’ve got no control over which frequency band your devices are connecting to. It’s fine to leave the security settings the same for both routers.

How to properly configure a 5GHz Wi-Fi router Step 1

STEP 2 – Set region

It’s less of an issue with 5GHz networks, but make sure that you’ve got the region set correctly to the UK. If your router has come set with a different country by default, you’ll get a reduced range of wireless channels to select.

How to properly configure a 5GHz Wi-Fi router Step 2

STEP 3 – Set the operating mode

You can set the wireless mode of your router to only support certain standards. If all of your devices support the fastest speed of the router, such as 802.11ac, set the router to use this mode only (not all routers support this). If you’ve got older devices that can connect, set a mixed mode that supports the router’s fastest standard. For example, an 802.11ac router should be set for a mixed mode that supports 802.11ac, 802.11n and 802.11a. You can usually step-down the router to 802.11n speeds only, which can be helpful if you don’t have any 802.11ac devices and are having connection problems. Remember to go back to 802.11ac settings if you buy any devices that support this standard, though.

STEP 4 – Change your router’s channel

You can now select a channel to use, using the information that you gathered earlier. You may find that your router has an auto mode, but pick a dedicated channel for the time being, as you can always change this later when everything’s working properly.

Most 802.11ac routers won’t let you disable channel bonding, as the routers are much smarter with how they use the available spectrum. If you’ve got an 802.11n router that supports 5GHz, you will have the option to disable channel bonding. This option may be a speed setting. For example, you can choose to reduce the speed of the router from 300Mbits/sec or 270Mbits/sec to 150Mbits/sec. However, as the 5GHz spectrum is less congested and doesn’t have overlapping channels, you should leave channel bonding on. Only disable it if you’re having reliability issues and changing the channel didn’t work.

How to properly configure a 5GHz Wi-Fi router Step 4

STEP 5 – Test your settings

You can now test out your new settings. Try moving around your home to find out if the range has improved. You may want to try running a broadband speedtest to see if things have improved there, too. If you’re still suffering from problems, trying changing the wireless channel again and disable channel bonding if available. You can always change the settings back, re-enabling modes later. Don’t forget, though, 5GHz networks have less range than 2.4GHz ones, so you won’t get as good a coverage from these networks.

How to properly configure a 5GHz Wi-Fi router Step 5

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