Cheap, Fast Fixes for Slow Internet

If you’re spending too much time tapping your fingers while your Web pages load, your wireless router’s signal may be blocked by obstacles in your home.

The router serves as a gateway for all of your high-tech devices to connect to the Internet.

But if you set it up in the wrong place, it may not communicate with your device as efficiently as it’s supposed to.

"Things like lead pipes, glass, mirrors — stuff like that can all affect your wireless signal," said Randall Daniels, a Geek Squad manager at Best Buy.

So don’t set up your router anywhere near the wall of a bathroom. Your kitchen’s microwave can interfere with your signal too, as can wireless printers, keyboards and cellphones.

"Really, the center of your house is going to get you the best performance out of your wireless signal," said Daniels.

If you keep your router on the first floor, place it on something high off the ground, like a high bookcase. If you keep the router on the second floor, put it somewhere close to, or on, the floor.

Pointing the antennas perpendicularly will also help the router achieve maximum coverage inside your home.

If these steps don’t speed up your web surfing, consider upgrading your antennas.

"You can unscrew (the original ones) and plug in powered antennas that will allow more electricity to flow," said Daniels.

However, there is a cheaper fixes: all it takes is a sheet of tin foil, a manila folder, and an easy-to-trace template.

Other "hacks" that may boost your router’s range include using an old beer can or a cooking strainer.

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