Everyone knows your router’s main purpose is to bring you your sweet Wi-Fi to all of your devices, but it’s not your router’s sole purpose. Your router comes with a whole slew of features that most people don’t bother to take advantage of. What they don’t know is they’re actually missing out on some key functionality that can make their Wi-Fi network better than when those features are left unattended. No matter your internet service, whether its MetroNet, Verizon, Frontier, or Earthlink Broadband, let’s dive into five router features you should have been using all this time for better Wi-Fi.
1. Enable The Guest Wi-Fi Network
Setting up the guest network seems like an over the top thing to do, but it does more than just roll out the welcome mat to friends and family that visit your home. By enabling the Guest Wi-Fi network, you’re also protecting your primary network. You can avoid awkward conversations about what your password is and your guests will be happy with your extended hospitality. If they accidentally bring a malware infected device and connect it to your guest network, it won’t infect your primary network and all the devices connected to it.
2. Download Your Router’s App
Managing your Wi-Fi network has gotten a whole lot easier than it used to be. If you’re not using the mobile app to your router, download it today. It’s a great tool that puts setting up, controlling and monitoring your Wi-Fi in the palm of your hand. Every feature you could want to use is within your router’s app and is designed to be more user friendly.
3. Enable Parental Controls
If you have kids, enabling your router’s parental controls can be one of the best things you do for your family when it comes to internet safety. They don’t replace teaching your kids about internet safety or parenting, but they are a great tool to help parents keep their children safe while they’re online. Parental controls are more than just a web content filter. Parents can filter out explicit websites and do much more like set an internet bedtime, pause Wi-Fi for the whole house, view history, view usage, set time limits, and more. For more information about your router’s parental controls, download your router’s app or visit the manufacturers website.
4. Enable Network Traffic Prioritization
One of the best and easiest ways you can make sure the things you care about run faster than the things you don’t is by turning on Quality of Service features and setting some traffic prioritization rules. While you and your family are online, your Wi-Fi network has to keep up with all of the websites, video games, TV shows, messages, emails, software updates and more. So how does your bandwidth handle all of these activities?
If you’re in a household with many internet enabled devices running at the same time, you know that your router handles it the best it can by attempting to make everyone happy equally. You also know that it doesn’t work and it’s next to impossible to make everyone happy without someone’s experience being sacrificed and this is where setting your traffic prioritization makes a big difference. You can teach your router that your favorite Netflix show is more important than the software update your laptop is running in the background or that surfing the internet is more important than downloading that huge PlayStation 5 game.
Finding your Quality of Service settings is easy to find. Simply log into your router settings and you usually can find the QoS settings under the wireless settings category. Some newer routers make it really easy to set your rules by allowing you to arrange what activities on a list organized by which are most important to you and which are the least important. Another option is making specific rules for each service and setting its priority level there.
5. Restore Factory Default Settings
Restoring your factory default settings will have you starting fresh like your router did when it was new out of the box. This includes all of your Wi-Fi settings and firmware updates so proceed with caution. Once you’re back to factory default settings you’ll have to go through all of your router’s settings and update the firmware to the most current version available.
If you find yourself in need to reset your router back to the default settings, luckily it is pretty easy to do. Most routers will return to factory settings when you hold the back button for 20-30 seconds. If you’re unsure on how to do it, check your router manual for specific instructions.