Check your modem and router
All right, now that you’ve checked out your satellite dish and cables, it’s time to head back inside.
It’s time to take a look at your modem and router to see if you can optimize your internet equipment to get better internet speeds. P.S. We cover some of these tips in our guide on how to get faster internet too.
Let’s be frank, the router that your ISP gave you is probably not the best. It might even be several years old by now, which means it may not keep up with today’s internet speeds.
If you can, we always recommend using your own router so you can make sure it’s not only up to date, but that it also includes the features that you want, like multiple Ethernet ports, dual-band technology, and maybe even beamforming, if you’re feeling fancy.
Recommended routers for satellite internet
Data effective 02/13/2023. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
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2. Restart your modem and router
Yeah, yeah, we’ve all heard the old recommendation to “power cycle” your modem whenever any kind of internet issue pops up.
Not to keep beating that poor, dead horse, but there might be something to this advice. Power cycling, or restarting your modem and router, can reset a troublesome connection.
Here’s how to restart your modem and router:
- Unplug your router and your modem
- Leave everything unplugged for at least 30 seconds (Go make some coffee or let your dog out.)
- Plug your modem back in, then let it boot up (this takes one to two minutes)
- Now plug your router back in and let it boot up (another one to two minutes)
- Give your internet connection a speed test
3. Update your modem’s firmware
Another quick fix for a faulty internet connection is to update your router’s firmware. Keeping your firmware up to date makes sure your router has the proper support for operating at its maximum capacity.
Think of your router’s firmware like a pro athlete eating a highly nutritious meal before a big game. They need that energy to perform well and make the winning pass.
You can find the latest firmware for your router on the manufacturer’s site. Here are some of the more popular brands that let you search for your router’s firmware using its model number or name:
4. Use an Ethernet cable whenever possible
Wi-Fi is great, but it won’t be as fast as a connection that uses an Ethernet cable. (We call this a “wired” connection.)
Why is that? Well, because Wi-Fi travels through the air instead of through a cable, your internet connection loses speed and signal strength as it travels over distance and has to go through walls, floors, and other objects. A wired connection, on the other hand, just has to travel through the Ethernet cable to get to your device.
If you must use Wi-Fi, you can try swapping to a different frequency if you have a dual-band router. If you’re currently on your router’s 2.4 GHz frequency network, try swapping to the 5 GHz frequency network. This is one of the best Wi-Fi boosters for satellite internet.
Your internet might kick into a higher gear if the frequency you swap to is being used by fewer devices that are all demanding that sweet high-speed connection.
5. Optimize placement of your router
You want your router to be like that best friend who’s always glued to your hip. (Hey, if it’s your dog, we’re not judging!)
Keeping your router close means your internet connection has less distance to travel to reach your devices. And less distance means a stronger signal—which is great for your The Last of Us binge-watching session on Max.
My parents’ router is located in their office, which is all the way across the house from the guest bedroom. So last time I visited, I bought them this TP-Link N300 Wi-Fi Extender from Amazon.
The difference was shocking. Before the Wi-Fi extender, my signal would drop out in the bedroom constantly. I couldn’t fall asleep to episodes of The Office. Yup, I had to stand on the bed and yell, “I declare internet bankruptcy!” (Office fans will get that one.)
After plugging in the Wi-Fi extender and getting it set up on the network, which took about five minutes, I got a strong, reliable signal in the guest bedroom. Yasss!
If you have multiple family members, friends, or roommates scattered about a large house, a mesh Wi-Fi system might be the best Wi-Fi booster for satellite internet to ensure every person has an internet connection no matter where they go.
A mesh system sort of blankets your house with a Wi-Fi signal by using points in different rooms. The points act kind of like Wi-Fi extenders, but (depending on the mesh system you get) they may also have an Ethernet port that allows your son to play Call of Duty on the computer in his room while your daughter plays Fortnite on the Xbox downstairs.
P.S. If you’re looking at mesh Wi-Fi systems, check out our Google Nest Wi-Fi review to see if it’s a match for your internet needs.