The best place to put your modem and router in your home

While some employees have returned to the office, many are still working from home at least a few days a week.

Continued remote work can also mean continued internet connectivity issues for the region’s more than two million Comcast customers, as well as for customers of Verizon and other providers.

In 2021, the first full pandemic year, Comcast customers used their home Wi-Fi on nearly a billion devices nationwide, said Comcast spokesman Joel Shadle. That represents 12 times more devices than were connected in 2018, pre-pandemic. With more devices connecting to networks, it’s not surprising that some people saw — and are still seeing — slower Internet speed.

If home Wi-Fi issues keep interrupting your Zoom calls and forcing midday device reboots almost three years into the pandemic, here’s some tips from Comcast experts on how you can fix the problem without having to call customer service. These tips are applicable, too, whether you have Comcast, Verizon, or another Internet provider.

Check the position of your router and modem

If your router and modem, or a gateway (Comcast’s combination of a router and modem in one device that provides the most advanced 6E Wi-Fi connection) is in the basement, a closet, or a bookshelf, move it instead to somewhere near the center of your home or apartment and on an elevated surface.

“Location, location, location is not just a real estate phrase,” said Shadle. It also applies to where you put your router and modem.

The company uses a metaphor: Think of the router and modem as a lamp, the light — or signal — from which is less plentiful if hidden behind other objects.

Avoid placing the device by a window for the same reason, as part of the signal will be outside, unless the outdoor space is a patio or porch where you want it to have coverage.

If the jack you need to plug the router and modem into is not in an ideal location, contact your internet provider about alternate locations. If you live in an apartment, of course, check with your landlord first before making any outlet changes.

Regularly reboot

You’re probably familiar with the age-old wisdom regarding what to do when technology isn’t functioning properly: Turn it off and back on again.

But this sage advice doesn’t just apply when a device is on the fritz.

Make it a habit to sometimes unplug your router from the wall, give it a minute, and then plug it back in. This can force software updates, which occasionally don’t come through automatically.

Monitor connected devices

If your internet provider has an app, use it to see what devices are using the Wi-Fi at a given time. Pause devices you don’t want to use it at the moment.

If you’re about to get on an important work meeting, for example, it may be helpful to temporarily disconnect your child’s gaming device from the network, Shadle said. You don’t want it to suddenly install updates and slow down your connection mid-meeting.

Tighten up cables

Don’t overlook physical connections on the router and modem.

“A loose cable connection to your gateway can cause all kinds of issues, sapping the speed of your device, and in some cases, causing issues that can affect your whole block,” Comcast wrote on its website, recommending users make sure the cables are “finger tight.”

Consider Wi-Fi extenders

If your Wi-Fi connection doesn’t improve with these tips, you have dead spots in your house, or your home office must be far away from the router and modem, Wi-Fi extenders, which plug into a regular wall outlet, may be worth the investment.

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