Is your Wi-Fi frustrating you? Are pages buffering or not loading at all?
Below are troubleshooting tips for some of the most common issues. If none of these have been able to resolve your problem, please contact
1. Location of router
Sometimes just the slightest adjustment to the placement of a router in your home can make a big difference in performance. It’s best to place the router as close to the middle of your home as possible, which allows equally distributed access to the Wi-Fi signal (see image below).
Change the location of your router
The location of the router in your home is crucial to having a strong connection throughout your home. Having the router as close to the middle of your home allows for an equal distribution of your wireless signal. If your router is in the corner of your home, half of your signal may be outside!
Image: via Verizon Fios Internet Support
Avoid placing the router in a basement or near a window or other electronics. Household devices such as cordless phones and microwaves may emit interference and reduce the wireless signal. These are 10 router locations that might be killing your Wi-Fi signal.
It’s also important that the front of your router is clear of obstructions, that it’s not enclosed in a cabinet or an enclosed area, and that it’s not sitting in direct sunlight.
Does your router have an antenna? If so, adjust it. Sometimes a slight angle tweak can help.
3. Update your router firmware
The router’s firmware and driver need to stay up-to-date to provide optimal streaming performance. Check the device manufacturer’s website regularly for updates to keep your router in optimal condition.
Also, it can’t hurt to make sure your router is optimized for the latest streaming technology. The current routers feature 802.11n technology and are ideal for video streaming, while older routers (802.11g/b) tend to have restrictions. It may be time to get a new router. A newer router model that runs on the 5.0Ghz frequency is a great option because it will have less congestion, as 5.0Ghz is a less used band. Note: 5.0Ghz frequency is only supported on Roku players that support dual band wireless including the Roku Streaming Stick (HDMI Version), Roku 2 and Roku 3.
4. Get an extender
Another option is a wireless range extender or booster, which can help increase the wireless coverage and range within your home. Sometimes moving the wireless router is not a possibility, so this may be worth looking into. There are many options – we recommend:
5. Check your speed
The connection to the Internet from your network is a key factor in the ability to get the best streaming experience. Different streaming channels will have slightly varying minimum Internet connection speeds. In general, the faster your Internet connection, the better the video quality. For the best viewing results, we recommend a minimum download speed of 3.0 Mbps for standard definition and up to 9.0 Mbps for HD content.
You can test your network speed at speedtest.net. We do advise to run this test several times, preferably during different times of the day. If you find that your test result bandwidth is consistently less than expected, you should contact your ISP (Internet Service Provider) to troubleshoot.
Channels such as Netflix allow you to adjust your playback settings to accommodate bandwidth restrictions. This is also beneficial for users to help manage their internet usage if their ISP has data usage caps.
You’ll also notice when you rent or purchase movies or TV shows, some channels will give you the option to stream the SD or HD version. We recommend choosing the version based on your internet bandwidth speed mentioned above.
6. Limit the devices hogging the internet speed
You’re streaming a movie while browsing the internet on your laptop, one of the kids is playing Xbox upstairs and the other is video chatting in their bedroom – and now you’re getting the “loading, please wait” screen. During the times when there is heavy internet usage in your home, shared bandwidth may be bogged down. You can either consolidate the number of devices hogging the bandwidth or invite everyone to the living room for a family movie night – crisis averted!
3. Reduce traffic on your wireless network
When possible, limit the use of other internet-connected devices on your network. Removing some other devices like phones, laptops, or game systems from your network could greatly increase your available bandwidth. If you must have multiple devices connected and you have a dual-band router, you can try moving your Roku player to a band all by itself. To do so, please refer to your router manufacturer’s website or manual.
7. Change your wireless channel to a less congested one
If you live in a dense residential area, you may be able to see other wireless networks around you. It is usually advisable to stay on a separate channel to avoid interference and noise on your wireless network. Channels 1, 6 and 11 are commonly recommended, as they have no overlapping frequencies. Details on changing the wireless channel setting can be found in the user manual for your router. In some cases, you may need to update your wireless router’s firmware. Check with your router’s manufacturer to verify that the latest firmware version is installed.
4. Check your advanced router settings (firmware)
Manufacturers periodically make tweaks and optimizations to their software to boost performance and security, so it’s a good idea to make a habit of checking your router’s firmware on a regular basis. Most manufacturers make this a pretty simple process. For more information on how to update your firmware, please visit your router manufacturer’s website.
8. Consider a new router
If you have tried everything above and still aren’t satisfied with your wireless connection, it may be time to upgrade your router. If you purchased your router years ago, you may be stuck on an older wireless standard. You may want to consider purchasing a router with newer networking technology, like 802.11n or 802.11ac (available on the Roku 4, Roku Premiere, Roku Premiere+, and Roku Ultra).
Broadband: What affects your Wi-Fi signal
Aim of this article:
This article will describe why you may see reduced wireless (Wi-Fi) signal in different parts of your home or office, and how to improve it.
The biggests factors which reduce Wi-Fi performance are the effect distance and internal walls have on signal strength. The following diagrams will show the effect on the wireless signal to devices using your Wi-Fi network in different situations.
Even though the data transmitted over Wi-Fi is digital, the actual signal uses analogue radio waves. These are suspectible to intereference, much in the same way as the radio in your car. If you are driving in a multi-storey car park, or driving through a tunnel, the signal to your radio will weaken. This will either cause noise or a complete dropout of the station you are listening to. The same happens to your Wi-Fi.
The image above shows the router connected to the phone line in the living room. The laptop directly above it in the bedroom has full signal strength, as generally the signal can penetrate through ceilings without any problems. The laptop in the loft conversion is much further away; this weakens the signal slightly and some performance issues may be experienced.
However, for the laptop in the kitchen, the signal has to penetrate a load bearing wall - so, despite being closer, the signal is weaker. Generally walls like this are made of more substantial material; brick, stone or concrete. This can dramatically affect the radio signals between your router and Wi-Fi device, and can cause slow or intermittent connection problems.
In some situations you may find the Wi-Fi signal is better in different parts of the room. The diagram below suggests one reason why this might happen.
As in the first example, the load bearing wall is also effecting the signal in other rooms. Line-of-sight is important for radio waves, as they only travel in straight lines. As the image shows, when the signal passes through the thicker wall the signal is degraded. Moving the laptop to another part of the room, where the signal just passes through thin walls, improves the signal.
In some situations you can get 'pockets' of good and bad signal quality, so moving your Wi-Fi device around the room (if possible) can help.
Improving the Wi-Fi signal:
As shown in the previous examples, the thick load bearing is causing problems in different rooms. Even when the laptop in the top left bedroom is moved it's still a fair way from the router, and the best it can achieve is 75% signal. This may be fine for general browsing, but it could be affecting video streaming or gaming.
One solution is to use a Wi-Fi repeater; this is another device which extends the Wi-Fi connection in your home. Connecting it to your router via a cable means you can bypass the negative effects of the load bearing wall, as pictured here:
Putting the repeater in the kitchen should give close to 100% signal to all the devices that were having issues previously. It also removes those bad signal pockets in the left bedroom.
This method doesn't require any changes to your Wi-Fi devices either. Apart from the initial setup of the repeater itselt, if will extend your existing Wi-Fi network, using the same Wi-Fi network name (SSID) and password.
Other materials in your home can also cause signal degradation. Along with concrete, brick and stone, foil-backed insulation foam, some wallpapers and damp can all hinder the radio waves. It's normally quite difficult to determine which materials are installed in your home, and which are causing issues, but using a Wi-Fi repeater or relocating your router can help improve things.
Electrical devices you may have in your home could also be causing problems with your Wi-Fi network. Devices such as baby monitors, microwaves and refrigerators can interfere with the radio signal from your router; anything which communicates on the 2.4GHz frequence can interfere. Whilst it's not common for these items to cause major problems, it could be worth keeping them in mind if you are having problems resolving any issues you have.
Lastly, there is software available to map your Wi-Fi signal. If you use a laptop, the software will monitor the connection from different points in the house. Using this information it will generate an image of the Wi-Fi signal in your home. One free web-based option that runs on PC and Mac can be found on the page linked to below:
Electronic devices such as baby monitors, fairy lights and speakers could make your internet connection slower.
If you can, place your router away from devices like these and any interference it may get from them.
Your Wi-Fi signal can become weak if your PC is too old or untidy. One way to boost your Wi-Fi speed is to declutter your PC and shed any unnecessary files or programmes that could be slowing it down.
There's plenty of software that claim to speed up your PC and make the general day-to-day running much smoother.
It might seem simplistic but moving your router will have a positive impact on your Wi-Fi speeds.
Use a Wi-Fi heatmapping tool to measure the impact of distance, frequency changes and building structures on signal strength. Two tools that are great for this job are NetSpot for Mac and Heatmapper for Windows.
Both tools allow you to track Wi-Fi coverage in your office or home. The more points you scan, the more exact your Wi-Fi heatmap.
Once you're done, you end up with a map that shows you not just the signal strength but also the throughput of your Wi-Fi network.