tweaking our home network

For a few months now, I’ve noticed that our home network is just painfully slow either on accessing files over the network or just surfing the net. We have three PC’s on the network, two of them run on Windows 7: a desktop, our media center and a Sony Vaio laptop running on Windows XP. We also have a few gadgets that occasionally piggyback on the network: three mobile phones and PMP (portable media player) with wi-fi and the only thing that connects them together is a 4-port wireless Linksys WRT54GC.

Googling (and Binging) around, I saw a couple of tips on how to improve our hapless router’s performance. Some of them are straightforward, like picking a good location for your router so that it has good coverage on each of the device on the house. Some of them are just trivial, which I will cover here:

  • The first that I did was to change my router’s channel. It turns out that most routers use the same channel by default so if you’re in a wifi congested area, connection gets weaker. To change your router’s channel access the router’s page, if you’re using a Linksys router, point your browser to:


    You will be prompted with a security dialog box, provide the credentials. The default username is admin, leave the password empty.

    Go to the wireless section of the page and the value router’s wireless channel. Six, one and eleven are common values so stay away from them. You can download net stumbler to detect the channels that are being used around your area.



  • The next thing that I did is to tweak the settings of each of my PC’s wireless adapter. I’m not going to discuss them here since most of the things that I did was just fiddle with the values of the adapter’s settings. I suggest that you check the documentation of your network adapter first before changing anything.

    To view your wireless network adapter’s settings, right-click on “My Computer” > Manage > Device Manager > On the right pane, expand “Network Adapters” then double click your network adapter.


  • The last that I did – it may sound Greek but just bare with me – was toimage configure my router to use  OpenDNS instead of the default DNS  from my ISP (SmartBro). OpenDNS is a fast, secure and reliable DNS alternative, in english, it’s just plain better. Anyway, applying DNS can be a little tricky depending on the router’s model. Case in point, Linksys WRT54GC only allows you to specify the DNS using “Static IP” and not “DHCP”. The first thing you need to do is go to the router’s settings page just like on the first tip. Once you’re there, go to the Set-up section of the router’s settings page. If you’re using a Linksys, its the default landing page. On this page, change your “Internet Connection Type” to “Static IP”. After this, you will need to supply the values for the fields. I found the values of these fields by checking the “Status” page of my router setting page.


    Copy these values on their respective fields.

    Don’t forget to click the “Save Settings” at the bottom of the page.

After these steps, there’s a noticeable change of speed in copying files over the network and some very subtle change in internet connection. There you go. I hope these tips help. Leave me a comment if you have some questions.


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Filed under Linksys WRT54GC, OpenDNS, SmartBro, Tech

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