How to optimise your home WiFi

  • 11/10/2023
  • Sponsored by - Chorus
Family sitting on the couch using multiple smart devices.
There are some simple tweaks you can make to improve your Wi-Fi setup and enjoy your fibre to its full potential. Photo credit: Supplied

Having a good WiFi setup is a crucial part of home life for most New Zealanders. Whether it’s working from home, gaming, video calls, or streaming TV.  

Almost three million Kiwis now connect to the internet using a fibre broadband service, giving them access to some of the fastest and most reliable broadband in the world. However, poor WiFi setup can prevent you from getting the best performance from your fibre connection.  

Having a good WiFi connection is just part of having a comfortable, functional home, so it’s worth putting in a few minutes to make sure things work smoothly.  

How to tell if your WiFi isn't performing well 

If web pages load slowly, videos buffer or uploads/downloads are unusually slow, it might be your WiFi acting up. Weak signals in parts of your home or constant disconnections are red flags too. Gamers facing high ping times or lag, and Zoom meetings that suffer from poor call quality, can all indicate your WiFi might need attention. 

Don't worry though - there are some simple tweaks you can make to improve your Wi-Fi setup and enjoy your fibre to its full potential. 

Simples fixes for the most common setup issues 

Firstly, do a speed test at to get an idea of your current Wi-Fi speed. It’s quick and easy to do.  

Why your Wi-Fi speed might be different to your plan speed 

You can think of the speed advertised for your broadband plan (or plan speed) as representing the full capacity of a broadband service to your home. At this point, your broadband is typically shared from the modem to multiple devices around the house via WiFi.  

There are a number of things that can affect how you receive your WiFi signal throughout your home, such as modem placement, interfering walls and the age of your devices or modem. This means your WiFi speeds can end up being less than your plan speed.  

Other factors that can impact your broadband performance include your choice of service provider and your plan technology type (e.g. fibre, fixed wireless, copper, HFC or satellite) 

Plug in data-hungry devices with an ethernet cable 

If you regularly use devices which demand lots of bandwidth like your smart TV, computer, or gaming console, it may be worth considering plugging these devices directly into your modem using an ethernet cable. If you’re the only one using the WiFi, this may not be an issue, but if you have a busy household with other data hungry activities happening, it can cause everything to slow down. Plugging in devices such as these will help free up the WiFi connection for the rest of the home.    

If you're renovating your home and have your walls exposed, this would be the optimal time to consider running ethernet cabling throughout your entire home. Ask your electrician to feed the ethernet cable through the walls into a jack point which you can then plug your devices into. Think about the key areas you may need these jack points; it could be your living room for the smart TV or gaming console, your home office for your computer or even the bedrooms and kitchen if you’re keen to future-proof your space.  

As appliances get more data hungry you never know what the future holds, and you’ll likely want a connection in rooms you wouldn't think of now. The desire to have more appliances and devices plugged straight into your fibre connection using fixed wiring (ethernet cabling) is likely to increase. 

Place your modem in your home hub for optimal WiFi performance. 

Whether it’s schoolwork, video calls, streaming or gaming, you'll want to ensure you have a good WiFi set up so each of those devices can get reliable, fast internet at peak usage times. Where you place your modem can have a big impact on your WiFi performance.  

Place your modem in the spot where the most online activity occurs. Usually this is the living area where family members gather to stream content or work. The closer you are to the modem, the better your Wi-Fi signal will be.  

An easy small fix to improve performance is to raise your modem off the floor. WiFi signals tend to radiate outward and downward from the modem, so putting it on a shelf or table can improve signal coverage.  

Avoid placing your modem by obstructions like walls, furniture, or large appliances that can block or interfere with the WiFi signal. It may also be tempting to put your modem in a cupboard, which will block your WiFi signal. A good rule of thumb is if you can see your modem, your WiFi performance should be at its best.  

Maximise your WiFi with a mesh system if you've a larger or multi-story home.  

Sometimes being close to the modem and plugging data hungry devices in isn’t always practical, especially in big houses.  

This is when a mesh system can be a straight-forward solution. Mesh systems help to boost your WiFi coverage to the harder to reach points of your home, which can be common in large or multi-storey homes. Areas that are far away from the modem are commonly called "cold" WiFi zones and mesh systems placed in these "colder" WiFi areas will help improve the connectivity across your home.  

You can purchase mesh systems from your local electronic stores, or some service providers include these as part of their plan. There are many options available including Google WiFi, AmpliFi or Orbi and they're generally straightforward to use, often via a smartphone app.  

Taking the time to consider how and where you will use the internet in your home and making some of the adjustments above can greatly increase the functionality and enjoyment of your home WiFi system.  

For more information and tips, visit   

Article created in partnership with Chorus.