Moving your Wi-Fi router around your home or office with the aim of maximizing signal coverage can be a challenge for the uninitiated.
Wi-Fi signals emitted from a router can be blocked or weakened by a variety of factors – which can leave users with weak signal and, ultimately, a poor Internet connection on their Wi-Fi-enabled device.
Vox Media has put together a video detailing what users can do to maximize the performance of their Wi-Fi routers, and how certain elements decrease the efficiency of the device.
5 steps to make your Wi-Fi faster
Wi-Fi signals are short radio waves, with a single Wi-Fi router generally having a range of around 50 metres.
The Wi-Fi signals get weaker as they travel away from the router, and are blocked and absorbed by walls and other barriers.
Here’s how you can work around these limitations.
1. Place your router in the open
Position your router near the centre of your house/office so signal strength is evenly distributed throughout the building.
Make sure it is in the open, and not hidden behind walls or bookcases– use line of sight to determine the least-cluttered position for the router.
2. Keep your router off the ground
Most routers are designed to broadcast waves slightly downwards, so placing yours on an elevated surface aids in signal distribution.
The signals Wi-Fi routers give off also can’t penetrate some of the materials that make up floors, like metal and concrete.
3. Keep your router away from other electronics
Electronic devices may interfere with the router’s signal.
TVs, computers, microwaves, and devices with a motor inside are all culprits, and your router should not be placed near one of these devices.
4. Point the router antennas in different directions
Most routers have two antennas – you want to position one vertically and one horizontally.
Devices work best when their antennas are parallel with a router’s, and the vertical/horizontal antenna placement optimises the chance of this occurring.
Antennas inside laptops are usually horizontal, and antennas in a smartphone or a tablet can be either horizontal or vertical, depending on how you hold the device.
5. Measure your signal strength
If you have problems connecting to your router, measure the Wi-Fi signal strength around your house/office.
There are a variety of apps available which can measure signal strength, and help you find weak spots.