Four Ways to Improve Your Home Internet Speed

So I'm trying to load a webpage off the internet, it's taking forever. I notice the ads are severely slowing up the pace at which I work on the web. Then I have one of those thoughts. You know, those thoughts that turn into hours of research. I wondered if I could block ads on my entire network to improve both throughput and reduce annoyances to all devices that are connected to my router. The answer was yes, well sort of.

Right now our network consists of two WRT54Gs. One is running DDWRT, an aftermarket firmware, and the other is factory. While the DDWRT version is accessible, it's being utilised as a network bridge. The factory WRT54 firmware is unfortunately restricted to only four websites that it can block within it's firmware filters. So that's why I targeted was Google's Ad network, AdSense. (Do not ask why I don't update the firmware on this router or buy a new one.... just go with me on this.)

This may seem somewhat counterintuitive since this (contextual advertising) is how I've made my living for about a decade, but when it comes to precious home bandwidth, less is more. It's pretty simple too. Each router is a little different, so you may need to find out how to logon to your router to make this happen. With these old archaic Linksys routers, you simple type 192.168.1.1 in your browser....


1. Block (some) ads.
  1. Go to 192.168.1.1 (no username, password: admin) *varies from router to router (lookup here)
  2. Click on Access Restrictions
  3. Type  Ad Block in the policy name field
  4. Click on Edit List of PCs (a new window opens)
  5. Under Enter IP ranges, enter 192.168.1.101 to 192.168.1.150
  6. Save that window and close it out.
  7. Back on Access Restrictions,  click, under PCs: Allow (Internet access)
  8. Under Days: Everyday
  9. Under Times: 24 Hours
  10. Under Website Blocking URLs, enter:
    1. www.googleadservices.com
    2. pagead.googlesyndication.com
    3. pagead2.googlesyndication.com
    4. pagead46.l.doubleclick.net
  11. Click save settings and be done.
And that's it. Unfortunately it's not going to block all ads, nor all of Googles.... but it does get the majority of AdSense ads (as you will see when you reload this page), saving that precious bandwidth and speeding up page load times.  It might not make a huge difference if there's just one person in the house, but our access point often sees 20 connections at a time.  If you want to get a little more crazy, you can use a host file to block access to more ads on your PCs. You can use this tool (don't worry it works on all browsers).

But that's not all.

While you're in there, let's make a few more changes. Like updating the DNS servers (the servers that convert website addresses to numerical values). Most of the time this is handled by your Internet Provider, but I found Google's DNS to be a whole lot faster. Google uses two IPs for this, 8.8.8.8, and 8.8.4.4. Ironically, 8.8.4.4 seems to be faster from my house, so I list that first (there's tools to confirm this, but it's safe to say it's probably faster for you too).

2. Update DNS

Go to 192.168.1.1
  1. Under Static DNS 1, enter 8.8.4.4
  2. Under Static DNS 2, enter 8.8.8.8
It's worth a note, there are other DNS providers including Open DNS which offers the opportunity to block some less friendly content. Just get the DNS address you prefer and enter it in these fields.

3. Change the Beacons

There's a couple more settings to speed things up you can make under Advanced Wireless Settings:
  • Beacon Interval: set to 350
  • DTIM Interval: 2
These settings have to do with how often wireless cards sleep in your device. They also reduce packet bandwidth overhead enough for me to increase throughput. So better battery life on cell phones and more bandwidth makes this worth the time to change these settings. Don't forget to save your settings before exiting.

4. Change your wireless channel.

If you live in an area with a lot of access points (most everyone does), changing your wireless channel (under Basic Wireless Settings) can significantly improve wireless speed. There are numerous tools that you can download to your Android (Wifi Analyser) or Apple phone (Wifi Scanner) to find out which channel is the best (basically the channel with the least amount of routers on the channel). While my router defaults to channel 6, I found channel 1 significantly improved speed.


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