Bad speeds over Wi-Fi? Try this one simple step

OK folks, here’s one that happened to me.

I have a streaming box in the bedroom attached to a TV. I mean, pretty much everyone does, right? Because, you could watch on your phone but it gets to be late at night and your eyes don’t want to focus that close. The box has been there for years, and it performs perfectly well.

Until it didn’t.

One night I noticed long delays in connecting. I actually noticed buffering the video, something I hadn’t seen in a very long time. The first night I chalked it up to random happenstance. Maybe another device was autoupdating and sucking my bandwidth, or maybe the neighbors were streaming a lot at that moment. Hey, it happens.

And then the next night I noticed the same thing. The same thing the night after that. Something was up. My home internet was robust; I streamed the same content just fine from my phone. No, something was up.

And then I noticed.

It was getting time to do a little cleaning and I set off to dust the electronics in the bedroom. I don’t use dusting wipes or sprays or anything and I don’t recommend you do either. I always use some canned air and a feather duster. If there’s residual dust I can wipe it off with an alcohol wipe. You don’t want residue getting on all your stuff.

It was then I noticed that the streaming box was literally one inch further back on the dresser than it usually was. I saw the fine layer of dust with a gap in it that showed it had been moved. I wish I’d thought to take a picture of it, since that would have made this article just a little better.

So here’s what I did.

I moved that little streaming box back one inch. This meant a different part of it was directly under the TV, but I am not exaggerating here. I am talking about a difference of one inch. Really.

And that little inch made all the difference. Performance problems went away and I haven’t seen them since. I moved it another inch in that direction, but I didn’t get “even better” performance. It’s just, moving it that one inch seemed to have done it.

Oh, by the way I should mention that this is all Wi-Fi here. It’s not a case where a weak wire or bad connector could have gotten tightened or loosened. It’s just, there was a spot where the radio waves weren’t getting to the box, and there was a spot where they were.

Here’s the moral of the story.

When you’re diagnosing connection problems, start with little changes. Move something just a little bit. Tighten something just a little bit. Make the minimum possible change to see if it makes a difference. Because, sometimes, inexplicably, it does.

The other moral is, when it comes to the best answers to the hardest questions, keep reading this blog. And when it comes to getting the best accessories for your consumer and professional electronics, shop the great selection at Solid Signal.

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.