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Rossen Reports: Here’s how to get faster Wi-Fi for free

We've found some easy things you can do in your house right now to pump up your internet speed big time. And here's the best part: It's all free.

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It’s a challenge we’re all facing: working from home and virtual school for the kids.

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You’re depending on your internet, but it could be too slow to get it all done.

Here are some great tips on how to boost your Wi-Fi without having to pay big bucks.

We've found some easy things you can do in your house right now to pump up your internet speed big time. And here's the best part: It's all free.

Test your setup

First things first, you need to test your internet speed, and this actually is super easy. Let me walk you through this. You want to open your phone, your laptop, whatever. Make sure you’re on your home Wi-Fi, open up Google and type "run speed test." And it’s going to start testing your download speed.

Download speed is important when you’re watching videos, checking emails, things like that. Then it will test the upload speed. Upload speed is important for things like video conference call, the Zoom calls that you’re on all day. It’s going to test both of those. It’s gonna arrive on a number and then boom! It’s going to tell you that your connection to the internet is very fast.

But if yours isn’t very fast, there are other ways to speed it up.

Check your router location

Experts say where you put the router matters. The way the internet routers work is the signal comes out every which way, this way that way, up and down, left and right. And there are some places you should not put your internet router.

Experts say, for example, to not put it in the kitchen. You don’t want to put it here because the appliances can actually interrupt the signal.

The other place you don’t want to put it is between concrete walls. You don’t want to put it in a closet or near a mirror.

Routers aren’t the prettiest things in the world, and we stick them in cabinets like this out of the way and on the ground. But you don’t want to do that because even this can impact the signal strength.

You want it up and high, as high as you can in the middle of your home or as close to the middle of your home as possible.

Fixing blurry video calls

There’s an easy way to fix problems with conference calls: Plug in directly.

You want to go to the store, any big box store, electronic store, it’s just a few dollars and buy an ethernet cable. They’re usually yellow or blue and they have the ends that sort of look like the end of a telephone plug, but it’s a little bigger. And you find your router.

Use the LAN ports, and plug one side in so you’re getting perfect internet right off the router. And most laptops and computers have a port on them for the other side.

Now, it is a little annoying because you’re stuck sitting right where you have put the router in your house. But you are going to get perfect internet off that router for your Zoom calls.

Count your devices

I bet you have no idea how many devices you have hooked up to your Wi-Fi all at once. From your Airpods to your iPads to the Alexa to the gaming consoles. If you’ve got a family, everyone has a smart phone, a smart alarm clock, you have the laptops — all this stuff.

Then there’s the stuff you’re not even thinking about: your smart TV that’s hooked up to the internet, your security cameras, your thermostat, your smart appliances. The list goes on and on.

But here’s the great news. All the big internet companies have free apps for you to download, and they’re going to tell you how much juice and how much internet each device is sucking out of your system.

Cheryl Choy, AT&T's senior vice president, broadband product management & marketing, is here to help.

"SmartHome Manager is an AT&T application that allows them to control and manager their home internet experience," Choy said. "And that’s really easy for most people to do you can look at your device and see how many bars of Wi-Fi signal you have. And obviously you want as many bars as possible.

Other companies offer apps, too:

  • Comcast has the Xfinity app.
  • Verizon has the My Fios app.
  • Spectrum users can download the My Spectrum app.

And they’re all free.

Don't forget to do the most simple thing, and no, I don't mean hitting the top of the router or banging it with a stick. Just turn it off: Let it rest for a couple minutes, and turn it back on. Sometimes a reboot is all you need.