5 ways to make the wifi in your NYC apartment faster

By Austin Havens-Bowen  |
January 19, 2021 - 2:00PM

Try restarting the modem or calling your service provider's tech team if your wifi is lagging.


If you’ve been working from home for 10 long months like many New Yorkers, and your wifi suddenly seems to be slower, there’s a chance that it actually is. 

That’s what I found out when I decided to investigate why my computer takes a long time to load images and videos, and it turns out there are a few reasons why this happens. 

In my case, paying some attention to the modem did the trick. When I called Spectrum to report the problem, I was told not only was my bill increasing again (ugh!) but that my modem had been online for 36 continuous days. The tech was able to do a couple of things remotely (more about that later) and my wifi did speed up a bit.

Of course, your fix might not be so simple. There’s a chance that your current speed might not be fast enough for your entire family to work and learn from home, or your modem or router might be outdated. Either way, there are ways to boost your internet speed.

Having trouble with the internet speed in your NYC apartment? Here are five things you can try.

Restart your modem 

Remember the old saying that if it doesn't work, just unplug it and plug it back in? Well it can actually do the trick when it comes to your modem. That’s because the longer your modem runs, the more likely a software glitch can happen, according to CNET. Some have reset buttons and others will need to be unplugged, but either way, 30 seconds should do the trick. Some providers also have apps that show you the status of your modem and allows you to reset it from your phone. Once all of the lights are re-illuminated, your devices should reconnect, and hopefully your modem’s quick rest break speeds your connection.

Call your internet service provider

You can call your provider’s tech support team and have them troubleshoot your connection like I did, if restarting your modem doesn’t work. When I did this, the representative was able to reset some of my settings and send a signal to my modem. In addition to troubleshooting by changing settings, and sending you a fresh signal, they can also let you know if your equipment is outdated.

Upgrade your equipment

If rebooting your modem or router doesn’t work, you might need to upgrade your equipment. The most up-to-date technology uses a separate modem and router, which gives you more flexibility, so if you’re using a two-in-one (like I currently am) then you might want to swap it out. Spectrum will swap out your old equipment for their most recent equipment, free of charge and you’ll pay the same modem rental fee each month. 

You can also buy your own modem and router and save a few bucks on your monthly bill. Wirecutter recommends the TP-Link Archer AX50 router, which is available for $150 at Best Buy. And if you want to upgrade your modem too, check out the Motorola MB7621, which you can buy for $78 on Amazon

Buy an extender

If you live in a large apartment, or perhaps a townhouse or house, then you might want to invest in a wifi extender (sometimes called a booster or repeater), which spreads the wifi connection throughout larger spaces by boosting the signal. If you work in a second-floor home office, and your router is downstairs in the living area, then this is a good option for you. 

Google Nest has their own router and wifi points if you want an integrated system. And, if you just want to buy a booster, Wirecutter recommends the TP-Link RE220, which is available for $30 on Amazon, and simply plugs into an electric outlet. 

Opt for a faster speed 

And, if none of the above speeds up your wifi, you might have to bite the bullet and pay for faster internet speed. Of course, it’s not just your computer that is using the Internet but also phones, tablets, and smart-home devices and all of that can require a faster speed if your whole family is online working and learning from home. So, take that into account when picking a speed. 

Most providers have tiers ranging from 100 Mbps (megabyte per second for non-techies) up to 940-plus. If you want to switch providers in the process, you can read more about how to pick an internet provider here.



Austin Havens-Bowen

Staff Writer

Staff writer Austin Havens-Bowen covers the rental market and answers renters' questions in a column called Realty Bites. He previously reported on local news for the Queens Ledger and The Hunts Point Express in the Bronx. He graduated from Hunter College with a BA in media studies. He rents a one-bedroom apartment in Astoria with his boyfriend and their two cats.

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