Why does my WiFi speed fluctuate so much? Well, a good question that we’ll answer!
The WiFi speed could be fluctuating primarily due to issues with the network router or the connecting device.
So, in this guide, we will unwrap what causes the constant WiFi fluctuations and what to do to optimize and improve the strength and speed of the connection!
The main reason why WiFi fluctuates is due to issues with the network router/modem or the WiFi-enabled device.
In addition, you could be facing a WiFi security settings blunder or anything else related to the distancing, signal obstruction, outage or interference.
Let’s envelop this problem further!
Why Does My Internet Speed Fluctuate?
Constantly fluctuating Wi-Fi speed means that your network device is not transmitting Wi-Fi properly.
If the internet is still there, but the speed is greatly impacted, it may have something to do with the physical positioning of the router, rather than the software settings/configurations.
Here are the top causes due to which your WiFi is fluctuating:
- An object or another signal is interfering with the Wi-Fi.
- The Wi-Fi router/modem runs on outdated firmware.
- There’s a problem with the wireless security settings.
- A problem with the connecting WiFi-enabled device.
- The connecting device is too far away from the router.
- A problem has occurred on the service provider’s end.
Optimize & Enhance WiFi Speed (Fix WiFi Fluctuation)!
1. Test the WiFi Speed & Fluctuation!
The first step is to measure the speed and consistency (fluctuations) of your internet (not WiFi), so we can tighten the circle of possibilities.
In case the fluctuations come from your internet the WiFi will only reflect these mini outages onto your devices, so you need to identify this early!
Tip: Perform the steps below on a Etherhet-connected PC to the router!
How to Test Raw Internet Speed?
Wait for 5-10 seconds and in the results to see the average download and upload speeds of your WiFi network.
How to Test Internet Fluctuations?
To test the consistency of the internet packets sent/received, you need to use a computer, which (if possible) is connected via Ethernet to your router.
If you use WiFi, this might not exactly work because you will be measuring the consistency of your wireless network, not your raw internet.
- Hop on your Windows computer, connected to the internet.
- Click on the “Start Menu” from the Taskbar and type “CMD”.
- Right-click the Command Prompt > “Open as Administrator”.
- In the prompt, type “ping 184.108.40.206 -t” for continuous pinging.
- Info: This is Google’s DNS, frequently used for testing.
- Check the results:
- Consistent replies = no fluctuations.
- Failure or “Timed Out” = internet fluctuations.
Note: If you observe fluctuations on your Ethernet-connected device, continue with the steps!
2. Power Cycle the Wi-Fi Router
If there’s a temporal issue with the network device, perhaps a power cycle should help with the problem.
The power cycle is a type of power reset that does not erase any of the settings/data on the network device, but clears the temporal cache and fixes issues with hardware/software.
Here’s how to perform a power cycle on your network’s Wi-Fi router:
- (Optional) Press the power button of the router to shut it down.
- Once the router has powered off, unplug the power adapter.
- Wait for 60 seconds while the power cable is disconnected.
- Reattach the power cable into the back of the Wi-Fi router.
- Wait for the router to start up and for the “Internet” LED to blink.
Pro Tip: Do another internet consistency test now to check for any improvement!
3. Close WiFi Device’s Proximity!
If you’re experiencing internet fluctuations on your WiFi, but not on your Ethernet-connected PC, the issue is not serious, and only related to your WiFi.
So, moving the device closer to the Wi-Fi router will significantly improve the WiFi connection strength and speed.
- For consistent WiFi, we recommend using the 2.4 GHz thread of your router!
The 5 GHz broadband is faster in speed, but inconsistent when there are physical obstructions such as walls, between your WiFi-enabled device and router.
To verify this theory, stand next to the Wi-Fi router while holding the connected device and run another Free WiFi Speed Test.
Info: Now that you’re in close proximity to the router, the Wi-Fi “Download” and “Upload” results should be higher.
4. Relocate the Wireless Router!
Note: Skip this step if the WiFi fluctuations happen when you’re next to the router as well!
In case only the WiFi is fluctuating but your internet is intact, there might be an issue with the physical positioning of the network device.
If the router is placed under a large object, in a field of interference or nearby other wireless devices, the Wi-Fi signal may be impacted badly…
- The router must be positioned in a central location in your home!
Any radios, RF remotes, Bluetooth devices or potentially other WiFi transmitters could cause significant interference with the Wi-Fi of the router.
So, the best solution is to dislocate all electrical devices near your router, elevate the physical position and straighten up the antennas!
5. Reduce the Bandwidth Consumption!
The reason why the WiFi speed fluctuates so much is due to network congestion that can be easily resolved.
When too much bandwidth is consumed by the connected devices, the Wi-Fi may start operating slower and slower or frequently disconnect and drop offline…
What is the Network Bandwidth?
Bandwidth is the maximum amount of data that is transmitted over a particular internet connection in a given amount of time.
Your network has a set amount of bandwidth that you cannot trespass, thus, you cannot transfer more data than you’re allowed to.
Best Ways to Reduce Bandwidth?
- Disconnect devices you no longer use from the Wi-Fi network!
- Prevent all high-data processes (streaming and downloading).
- Deactivate Proxy or Virtual Private Network (VPN) on your side!
Info: When you reach the maximum amount of transmitted data - bandwidth, your network and WiFi speed may drop drastically until operational amounts of bandwidth are restored!
6. Switch to Another WiFi Channel
Said as simply as possible, the WiFi channels are like roads for the vehicles (traffic). When there are too many routers using the same WiFi channel, the speed decreases and drops.
If you’re living in a city block or residency with a lot of network routers nearby, the WiFi channel of your wireless network might be overcrowded.
To switch to another channel, you need to enter your router’s settings by inserting “http://192.168.100.1/” into your web browser!
- The device must be connected to your wireless router via WiFi or Ethernet!
Then use admin/admin or admin/password to sign in. Next, locate the Wireless Settings or Advanced Wireless settings and select the WiFi thread for configuration.
The WiFi channel selection should be a drop-down menu to select different channels to test your WiFi with!
Note: You don’t need to restart your router when switching WiFi channels!
7. Restore the Router’s Factory Settings
To restore the optimal functionality of the WiFi, you should perform a factory reset on the Wi-Fi router.
The factory reset will restore the default values of all network settings and also reset all of your Wi-Fi networks, temporarily causing them to go offline.
We recommend doing this on a weekday so you can contact your ISP in case of any potential issues.
Here’s how to perform a factory reset on most router devices:
- Locate the reset pinhole on the back of the router.
- Insert a paperclip to press the reset button inside.
- Hold the reset button for 10 seconds and release.
- The router will undergo a factory restoration next.
Note: Set up your network device on a computer connected via Ethernet cable to the route by going to the control panel - http://192.168.100.1/.
8. Install Wi-Fi Extenders (Workaround)
If you are struggling to cover your household with reliable Wi-Fi signals, you should get Wi-Fi extender devices.
When plugged in, these outlet connectors pair with the Wi-Fi router either wirelessly or via Ethernet and become a secondary router that also transmits Wi-Fi.
Tip: There are detailed setup instructions in the user manual of the Wi-Fi extender!
Why Does My WiFi Speed Fluctuate So Much On My Computer?
When you experience major Wi-Fi slowdowns on PC, it could indicate that there is a ‘traffic jam’.
This is when another client of your ISP, a massive customer perhaps, may have accidentally done a huge data dump, during the peak hours of the day.
All remaining users that are also connected to the same ISP may start experiencing these slow-downs in periods or constantly.
This is a problem that should be addressed by the ISP but it is also possible that your PC’s WiFi receiver is faulty or there’s wireless interference.
We hope that this answers why my WiFi speed fluctuates so much. We’ve learned that to solve the issue we need to power cycle the network router and check if there’s an issue with the WiFi device.
In case nothing helps, the factory reset will make a change!
Read Next: Do WiFi Boosters Increase Internet Speed?
Kevin has over five years of experience working in various Tech startups and providing Technical solutions. He has contributed to many Tech publications and websites.