Consumer Watch: Having stronger internet connection at home

With so many people online at the same time, it doesn't take long to feel the frustration of a crummy WiFi signal.

If you want to optimize your bandwidth, step one is locating your router.

"Think of a router as an electronic traffic cop," says Consumer Reports Tech Editor Nicholas De Leon. "What it does is it directs the internet connection from your internet service provider throughout your home in the form of WiFi."

Knowing where to put your router can make a difference.

"For the best results, you should place your WiFi router in the center of your home, so the signal can reach as much of your home as possible."

It's also helpful to know what things in your house can act as a WiFi roadblock; think about thick walls, floors, doors, or large appliances.

"That includes refrigerators, microwaves or other appliances where the WiFi signal may bounce off and not pass through," De Leon said.

If these tips don't help, or if you've got a house full of newer devices, it may be time to consider a new router, especially if your current model is more than three years old.

If you live in a smaller space and don't have many obstructions, Consumer Reports recommends a model from Synology for around $200.

And if you live in a larger home, consider a Mesh Network-style router that works with a hub and satellite units to spread the WiFi signal.

Consumer Reports recommends the Eero Home WiFi system. That will cost you about $250.
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