VANCOUVER -- Is the internet in your house starting to feel like dial-up? With so many people working from home, studying online and streaming video, at-home Wi-Fi systems are feeling the strain. And it doesn’t take long to get frustrated with a bad signal.

Bell’s home internet use is up 60 per cent during the day, and Telus says its use has gone up 25 per cent overall. And many of us have no idea how to fix household slowdowns when there are too many people online. 

But Consumer Reports Tech Editor Nicholas De Leon has some tips. His first: locate your router and learn to understand it. 

“Think of a router as an electronic traffic cop,” he says. “What it does is it directs the internet connection from your internet service provider throughout your home in the form of Wi-Fi.”

There’s more to getting a good signal than just buying a good router, De Leon says. You also need to know where to put it. 

“For the best results, you should place your Wi-Fi router in the centre of your home, so the signal can reach as much of your home as possible.”

Many parts of your house can act as Wi-Fi roadblocks – starting with brick walls, floors and even closed doors. 

“That includes refrigerators, microwaves or other appliances- where the WiFi signal may bounce off and not pass through,” De Leon says. “Water absorbs radiation, so your Wi-Fi may have trouble near pools, tubs, and even a fish tank.”

If reconfiguring the space doesn’t work, it may be time to consider a new router, especially if your current model is more than three years old. 

If you live in a small space, without many obstructions, you could try the RT2600ac wireless router from Synology for around $350. It has automatic firmware updating and testers say it’s easy to set up. 

And if your home is large and the signal doesn’t reach the far corners, consider a mesh network-style router that works with a hub and satellite units to spread Wi-Fi throughout your home. 

The eero Home Wi-Fi system, which costs about $370, has automatic firmware updating and can be set up easily using an app on your phone.