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Hi-fi your wi-fi with these 6 hot tips

At my house, the responsibility for maintaining peace and order rests firmly with the wi-fi. 

It’s an unreasonable burden to put on a small plastic box, but damned if I’m taking responsibility for my bad behaviour every time a TV show stutters. No, it’s the wi-fi who must be blamed. 

But before you tell me I’m being childish (I am), I’d like you to know I’m on a redemption journey. I now know that to get the best out of my modem, I need to do the best for it too. Here’s what I’ve learnt. 

Treat your modem like a moggie 

Cats like life a certain way, and so does your modem. 

I’m thinking specifically of my sister’s cat who used to leap two-and-a-half metres off the ground to nestle on top of the wardrobe. She was both the centre of attention, and completely untouchable. 

Your modem is pretty similar – it likes to be up high (think desks and shelves), and right in the middle of the action. If you comply, it’ll reward you with better signal and not pooping in the laundry basket. 

Get with the frequency 

You might not have heard of modem frequencies, but there’s a good chance you’ve seen them. 

Ever gone to connect to your wi-fi network and seen two versions – one normal (or with 2.4GHz at the end), and one with 5GHz at the end? They’re your modem’s two frequencies. 

Depending on where you are in the house, you can use them to your advantage: 

2.4GHz: slower wi-fi speeds, but better if you’re further from the modem. 

5GHz: faster wi-fi speeds, as long as you’re closer to the modem. 

Spreading devices across different frequencies also stops them from fighting for bandwidth (and family members from fighting each other). 

Don’t see two options? You might have a newfangled modem that chooses the right one for you automatically. Lucky. 

Do some channel surfin’ 

Even if you’re on the right frequency, things like appliances and neighbouring wi-fi networks can still interfere with your signal. If that’s the case, changing wi-fi channels might help. 

I like to imagine channels as a small slice of a bigger frequency cake – instead of sharing your slice with someone else, you can choose another that hasn’t had their grimy hands all over it. 

How you change wi-fi channels will depend on your modem. If you don’t have the guide anymore, you might be able to find a digital copy online.  

How to set the channel on a Belong modem

Watch out for signal stiflers 

When you can get the whole internet on a tiny, untethered, handheld device, it’s hard to believe wi-fi could possibly be troubled by life’s everyday obstacles. 

But modems can actually be kind of pernickety – if you put them behind something they don’t like, they might snub you for it.  

Things that can block your wi-fi signal include: 

  • Walls and floors (especially brick, metal and concrete) 

  • Appliances like microwaves, fridges and TVs 

  • Mirrors 

  • Devices with wireless technology like game consoles and set-top boxes 

  • Aquariums (no, really) 

Cheat the system 

And by cheat the system I mean use a perfectly legal wi-fi extender or repeater. These plug into your modem – or connect to it wirelessly – and amplify your wi-fi signal. 

These are particularly good if your house has annoying things like walls, or faraway rooms where you like to keep the kids. 

Get troubleshooting 

When I first moved into my new place, the internet was as patchy as the cat who used to let herself into my partner’s house, who was also called Patchy. 

Then I used my provider’s troubleshooting tool and realised I’d plugged something into the wrong spot. I fixed it and it changed my life. 

If you’re a Belong customer, you can try the Belong troubleshooting tool in My Account

Down the wormhole

What’s the deal with refurbed phones?  

You can buy a second-hand phone from a random on Marketplace, or you can get one that’s been given the all-clear by an expert. You pick. 

More about refurbished phones
More about refurbished phones

Internet tips for parents 

Things you can do – and tools you can use – to help your kids get all that internet goodness safely. 

How to keep kids safe online
How to keep kids safe online

Internet on the go 

Need the internet, but not the calls and texts? A data-only SIM can keep you online once you’ve left your wi-fi bubble. 

See data plans
See data plans