Maximize Wi-Fi networking

Get the most out of your Wi-Fi network by trying a few tips.

Networking tips

PCs, laptops, tablets, smartphones, game consoles, smart TVs, and computers all use Wi-Fi® technology. With so many devices sharing your Wi-Fi network, your speeds might slow down. Try some of these tips to improve your Wi-Fi speeds. 

Optimize your Wi-Fi gateway location and position

Depending on your building design, your Wi-Fi gateway may not be able to reach certain areas. To get the best possible signal:
  • Place your gateway in a central location, upright on an elevated surface, such as a desk or shelf.
  • Make sure the front of the gateway is unobstructed and faces the space where most of your devices will be in use.
  • Keep your gateway at least 10 feet from cordless phones, Bluetooth devices, and microwave ovens. 
  • Keep your gateway away from heat sources, moisture, excessive dust, extreme cold, or large metal objects.

In some cases, even the best location for your Wi-Fi gateway doesn't provide a strong enough Wi-Fi signal. One way to help this is to install a Wi-Fi extender. Learn more about AT&T Wi-Fi extenders

Connect directly

Direct wired connections provide the fastest speeds. They also free up Wi-Fi bandwidth. Connect stationary devices directly to your gateway ports with Ethernet cables. Some devices to connect directly include:
  • PCs 
  • Blu-RayTM DVD players 
  • Game consoles 
  • Printers 
  • Smart TVs

Reduce the number of Wi-Fi connected devices

You can often find 10 or more devices connected to a Wi-Fi network. This creates overcrowding and slows things down.
  • Turn off devices not in use. Tablets, smartphones, and PCs often run background apps that consume bandwidth.
  • Connect TVs and computers directly to the gateway. Direct connections get faster signals and free up Wi-Fi bandwidth.

Broadcast in single mode

International Wi-Fi standards are identified as 802.11b/g/n/ac. The letters represent the various versions of Wi-Fi:
  • b and g are older and support lower speeds
  • n and ac are more recent and support higher speeds

Each Wi-Fi standard is backwards compatible.

AT&T gateways are preset to broadcast in all modes they support. For example: b/g or b/g/n. The Wi-Fi-enabled devices in your home communicate with your Wi-Fi gateway at a preset mode. So, if all your devices accept n mode signals (a.k.a. 802.11n), set your gateway Wi-Fi Radio to n mode only. This will enhance the performance of your Wi-Fi network.

After you set the gateway to single mode (either b, g, n, or ac), you might find some devices no longer connect. In that case, either change the mode back to b/g/n/ac mode or try to upgrade those devices to a newer Wi-Fi standard.

Upgrade Wi-Fi Radio capability

Older PCs and laptops contain Wi-Fi network cards that broadcast only in older b or g modes. For a better experience, upgrade those devices’ network cards to 802.11ac or purchase a Wi-Fi 802.11ac USB Adapter.

Network cards can be purchased at electronics stores or from your device manufacturer. USB adapters can be purchased through the AT&T online accessory store.

Update firmware and drivers

To improve your connection, make sure your Wi-Fi-enabled device and network adapter run the latest software updates and device drivers. To confirm you have the latest drivers available, visit your network card or device manufacturer’s website and look for a Support or Driver link.
Last updated: January 13, 2023