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There's nothing more frustrating than being at a climactic moment in your favorite show on Netflix and suddenly losing internet connection. On my TV, it actually shows my download speed slowly disappearing. 10mbps... 7mbps... 2mbps... flatline. At this point, many people are prone to either throwing their remote across the room or calling their internet provider to complain about horrible service. However, there are some things you can do right in your home that can help you boost your internet speeds.

Diagnosis

Before you start buying new routers or range extenders, you should first get an idea of what your average download speed currently is. There are many free websites out there that can tell you this information, but speedtest.net is one of the veterans in the field that is user-friendly and widely trusted as one of the best. Run the test at different times of the day. See how it's affected by someone else streaming videos on a another device. This will all help provide insight into the issue you're having. If you notice a problem only at certain times of the day, the problem might not be your modem or router, but rather that your internet provider is oversubscribing and getting backed up during internet rush hours. It's also a good idea to change the password on your Wi-Fi network in case you have a neighbor that you're providing free internet too.

Update your hardware

If you're paying $60+ per month on high speed internet but can't ever stream videos there's a problem. Many people assume that paying more for internet automatically means they'll get faster download speeds. If you're using an outdated router, however, it won't matter how much you pay monthly, you're still going to see slow speeds. Check out some of the latest model routers on Amazon or at Best Buy and read the customer reviews. You won't want to buy any routers that are more than a couple years old as Wi-Fi technology progresses somewhat rapidly.

Tweak your router

If you recently purchased a brand new router but aren't getting the results you expected, maybe you need to make some changes to the router itself. Try setting the antennas vertically and placing the router on top of a cabinet in your house for better signal reception. Alternatively, you could look into replacing the antennas on your router for ones that will emit a stronger signal.

Expand your signal

If you live in a large house or often use devices in the basement, far away from your router, you might consider buying a wireless range extender. Extenders come in various shapes and sizes. Some are tiny adapters that stick out of your power outlet, others look just like routers, and others work as a system of small routers that you place around your home to provide blanket internet coverage.

Pretend you're in IT

There might be some changes you can make to your router that will make a huge difference in internet speeds. Sometimes that means updating the firmware of your router, other times it means switching the channel your router is broadcasting on to avoid interference with other routers or wireless systems. To make these internal changes, type in the IP address (usually located somewhere on the bottom or back of your router) into your browser and type in your username and password, then follow instructions for your specific router.

Many of us work long hours all week so that we can afford the luxuries of a nice home. Unfortunately, keeping your home clean and updated requires even more time that you don’t have.

The good news is that there are a growing number of ways to make your home less high maintenance. Things like automation, decluttering techniques, and cleaning hacks have made it easier than ever for us to take care of our homes while still having time to enjoy them.

Home automation

Tony Stark’s skyrise in Iron Man, the Jetson family’s house, and Nathan’s lab in Ex Machina all have one thing in common: robots that help make our home lives easier. What was once reserved for sci-fi, however, is beginning to be introduced at affordable prices in the real world.

There are many different types of home automation devices available on today’s market. One of the simplest time-saving devices is Amazon’s dash button. You can buy a button for several different household items. You keep the buttons in your cabinet or pantry and when you run out of, say, laundry detergent you can simply press the button and Amazon will automatically order and ship more.

For something more advanced, home assistants are gaining in popularity. Amazon’s Echo, Google’s Home, and others are currently gaining traction. They typically look like a normal small speaker. But with them you can order items online, set alarms and reminders for things like cleaning or car maintenance, control your lights and thermostat, and more.

Cleaning robots

You’ve probably seen the Roomba before--the small robot that vacuums your house for you by learning the floor layout. If you haven’t, now’s the time to look into them. The market is diversifying and the technology is improving, making them even more helpful to have around the house.

Robots aren’t just for the indoors. You can now purchase a robot that mows your lawn for you. It learns the parameters of your yard, how to avoid obstacles, and soon it’s cutting the grass while you sit back in a lounge chair.

Smart weatherproofing

While we’re on the topic of your home’s exterior, let’s discuss some ways to make the outside of your home low maintenance. Gutter guards and leaf filters are a great way to make sure your gutters don’t get clogged, protecting your gutters and in turn your foundation.  

When it comes to roofing, there are now several alternatives that will outshine and outlast traditional shingles. Metal roofs are growing in popularity as they now come in several aesthetically appealing forms.

Cleaning hacks

The best cleaning hacks are the ones that save you time and reduce the number of times you have to clean something. For the shower doors in your bathroom, cleaning them with Rain-X glass cleaner (built for car windshields) will keep them clear and shining longer.

Dusting a home takes a lot of time. Most people see dusting as an inevitable weekly task. However, there is a way to reduce the dust that gets kicked up in your home. The amount of dust that builds up on the surfaces of your home is largely due to air conditions. An air purifier and a humidifier can both help to reduce that amount of dust in your home.