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What Limits Your Speed

How To Optimize & Boost WiFi Speeds In 5 Steps

WiFi interference have your internet speeds slowing down? Many factors influence your home’s WiFi speeds. With smart devices and internet browsing, sometimes it gets crowded on your wireless network. Learn how you can boost and optimize your internet speeds to peak performance with these five easy tips below.

Optimize My WiFi

Prevent WiFi Interference

Walls and appliances are physical barriers that can affect your WiFi speed. Concrete, metal, and plaster are especially difficult for the WiFi signal to penetrate. Minimize the number of barriers by placing your router in the open area where the internet is most commonly used, such as the living room.


Move Closer To The WiFi Router

To get the most out of your internet, create a direct line from the WiFi router to your device(s). Avoid placing the router in an upstairs office, basement or attic. In doing so, you make it more difficult for the WiFi signal to reach the device.

Instead, position the router in the center of the home, preferably on the 1st floor. In addition, place your router at an elevated position such as a desk or shelf and never hide your router behind walls or in a cabinet.


Reduce The Number Of Connected Devices

Multiple devices connected to a router will affect WiFi performance. For each device using the internet, the bandwidth is divided between devices, distributing the speed. As a result, the more devices you have connected to your internet, the smaller portion of the WiFi pie is distributed to each device. You can boost your WiFi speeds by limiting the number of devices you connect to your network.

In addition, your internet is only as fast as your slowest device. Most wireless routers will slow down to the speed of your slowest device. For example, if you have an older laptop using the same broadband as a brand-new device, the WiFi speeds on all devices can be slowed down to match the older device’s speed. For details on the speeds your device can support, consult your owner’s manual (for your tablet, smartphone, laptop, tablet, television, gaming system, blue-ray player, etc.), or manufacturers website.


Password Protect Your WiFi

Protect your WiFi by always requiring a password to join the network. If your network is open, you leave your WiFi vulnerable to cyber threats or neighbors and adding their devices to your broadband, further bogging down the internet speeds. Prevent others from using your WiFi without you knowing and secure your WiFi network with a password to optimize internet speed.


Keep Your Devices Clean

Just like you need a regular check-up so do your devices. Overtime, your smart phone, laptop, or tablet’s performance is slowed down. Fortunately, it doesn’t take much to clean up your devices:

  • Close browsers: The more tabs you have open on a computer, laptop, or tablet, the harder your WiFi has to work. Close browsers to free up WiFi for other devices.
  • Clear cookies: Old searches may be slowing your device down. Clearing cookies is fast and easy, but the steps vary by browser. Search the web for a guide to clearing cookies on your specific device.
  • Turn off devices: It’s an easy step, but often forgotten. Improve home WiFi functionality by turning off devices when you aren’t using them. This frees more room for devices actually in use.

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WiFi Speed Optimization FAQs

Can’t find what you’re looking for? Check out our full list of internet speed optimization FAQs.

How do I test my internet speed?

You can test your internet speed by performing a speed test. RCN’s speed test measures your internet connection to ensure you’re getting the speeds you need.

What internet speed do I need?

Understanding internet speeds can be tricky. The number of people accessing the network at the same time, the number of connected devices, usage such as gaming vs. streaming video and music all impact the internet speed you’ll need for the best possible experience. Learn more about finding the speed that best fits your needs.

Why am I not getting advertised speeds on my WiFi network?

RCN Internet advertised speeds are based upon a direct connection to the modem. Actual wireless performance will vary, and depends on many factors, including interference with other wireless devices, the amount of bandwidth others are using on your WiFi network and obstructions such as walls, doors, floors, furniture, fish tanks, appliances and other objects that are between you and the wireless router. Some devices cannot support today’s speeds which slows down WiFi for all other devices in the home. Most routers will slow down to the speed of your slowest device.

Will a new wireless router increase my internet speed?

It depends. If you’re using a Data Over Cable Systems Interface Specification (DOCSIS) 2.0 or older modem and WiFi router than upgrading to a DOCSIS 3.0 or higher equipment (modem, router, gateway) may increase your internet speed as it allows for a much higher maximum throughput of data. A higher throughput may lead to faster download speeds. DOCSIS 4.0 is the latest DOCSIS technology available, which includes advanced performance-enhancing features that are not available on DOCSIS 1.0, 1.1, 2.0, or 3.0 devices.

What is the difference between a Wired vs. Wireless connection?

Wired speeds are delivered when you plug an Ethernet cable from your modem or router directly into your device – typically a computer, laptop, television, gaming console or other Internet enabled device. When a device is connected with an Ethernet cable it can achieve its fastest speeds. Why? Because your Internet is physically attached to your device, there’s nothing coming between it and your Internet signal. A wired connection is always better and should be used wherever it makes sense to do so. Try to match each device with its best connection. PCs, laptops, media players and gaming consoles work best with a wired connection; mobile devices and tablets work best on WiFi.

*Internet download speeds may vary and are not guaranteed. Observed speeds may vary based on device connection & other factors outside of RCN’s control. Gig Internet offers speeds up to 940 Mbps. See for why speeds may vary. Certain equipment may be required to receive Gigabit speeds up to 940 Mbps. RCN substantiates that the cable modem equipment provided, and the configuration of such cable modem, meets the broadband speeds advertised when attached to a wired connection based on SamKnows testing procedures. High-speed modem required for RCN High-Speed Internet service.If a data outlet is needed, an additional outlet fee may apply in addition to applicable installation fees. Actual speeds may vary; stated speeds are up to subscribed to/stated speed and are not guaranteed. The actual range and reliability of a wireless network is affected by a number of factors. Downstream data speed may be affected by whether the data accessed is cached or non-cached; Internet-related factors, such as the location and configuration of each accessed server; internal network factors, including customer compliance with RCN usage policies set forth in the acceptable usage policy; the level of overall traffic; and the customer’s computer configuration. RCN's FCC Network Management Disclosure makes available information regarding our network management practices and the performance and commercial terms of our Internet access services to enable you to make informed choices regarding the purchase and use of our services, in accordance with Part 8 of the Rules of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

The availability of services, pricing and offerings displayed on this site are for residential new RCN customers only. Commercial and business pricing and service offerings differ. All names, logos, images and service marks are property of their respective owners. ® 2021 RCN Telecom, LLC. All rights reserved.

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