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Are your high-res vacation photos slow to download? Has your Web surfing slowed to a snail’s pace? Do you have dead zones in your home where you get absolutely no signal? Your WiFi setup may be to blame. Many factors, including the router’s location and signal strength, can affect the performance of your home WiFi system.

The good news is: You have more control over some of these issues than you may think. Heed the following tips for a better WiFi connection.

Did You Know?

74.4% of all households in the U.S. reported having Internet service in 2013

1. Place Your Router Centrally Think about where in your home you use wireless electronic devices the most, and put the router in a clutter-free place that has a clean line of sight to that room. It’s best to place it at least five feet off the floor—and not near a fish tank (wireless signals don’t pass well through water).

2. Let Your Router Roam Free Don’t hide it in a cabinet or put it behind a TV. Proximity to TVs, DVD players, game consoles, cordless phones, microwaves and other heat-producing appliances can weaken your wireless signal. Set the router out in the open so that the signal won’t have to bounce around lots of corners to reach your wireless devices.

3. Reposition the Antenna Point the antenna so the WiFi signal will go in the direction you want it to and cover the area where you will use your devices. If this doesn’t make enough of a difference, consider upgrading your antenna to a more powerful omnidirectional one that radiates signals well in all directions. Or, consider getting a range extender to increase the power you get out of the antenna you have, and to eliminate dead zones.

4. Limit Speed-Hog Applications If your kids are constantly playing games online, having video chats or using streaming services, this could slow down wireless access for everyone else. You can try to limit those activities, or you can take an approach that’s a little more advanced: By tweaking the Quality of Service (or QoS) settings on your router, you can prioritize certain applications over others, ensuring that the most crucial applications are given the bandwidth they need. Check out your router’s manual for more information.

5. Update Your Router’s Firmware Just like other electronic devices, routers need updates. One of the easiest ways to keep your router operating in peak form is to regularly check the manufacturer’s website for notifications of firmware and driver updates. Many of these fixes will help solve connectivity problems.

6. Change the Channel When you set up your router, it probably chose a certain channel automatically—and it may not have been the least crowded one. In fact, your neighbor’s router could be interfering with yours! Routers can operate on channels 1 to 11; switching to a less crowded one can boost your router’s performance and maybe its signal range, too. A free Web-based tool such as WiFi stumbler or analyzer can help you find the best channel for your home. To change the channel on your router, you’ll need to go into its interface; check with your manufacturer to find out how to access the interface on your model.