Wireless Internet connectivity has become an important amenity for modern households, but it can be frustrating when not set up properly.
Whether it is congestion on your Wi-Fi network, sub-par networking hardware, or terrible coverage, there are many factors which can affect performance.
There are ways you can boost your Wi-Fi signal however, including simple tweaks like changing a few settings on your current setup.
Below are five ways to improve your Wi-Fi signal at home.
The location of your router compared to your devices is important.
Your signal extends outwards from your Wi-Fi router’s antennas, so be sure that you have placed the device in a central location in your home.
Wi-Fi signals are stronger when they do not have to penetrate thick walls, so if you are a room or two away, consider moving your router or device closer to each other.
Additionally, there are certain devices such as microwaves which can interfere with your wireless signal, and it is a good idea to place your router in an area where there are few electronic devices.
Change channel and frequency
One of the easiest ways to improve your wireless network coverage is to change the settings on your router by accessing its configuration page.
Many Wi-Fi routers have 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands, and you should connect to the 5GHz band if your device supports it – as this is generally less congested and has a higher bandwidth capacity.
When it comes to congestion, you may also want to try changing the Wi-Fi channel for each SSID on your router to give your signal a boost.
This is usually set to Automatic, but many cheap routers do not automatically detect the best channels available. You could be better off by testing channel ranges to find the least congested option.
Another minor change you can make to your router is to upgrade its firmware.
This can improve the performance of your router and fix any errors which may result in diminished Wi-Fi propagation.
Updating your router’s firmware can be done via the administration interface for your device, which you can access by typing the default gateway IP into your web browser.
Some routers will also allow you to boost the power to the Wi-Fi antenna and improve the signal strength, although this is not always available.
Experienced users who would like to boost power to their Wi-Fi hardware can install open-source firmware such as DD-WRT to access a bigger range of customisation options.
If you have a spare router lying around, you could always use it as a Wi-Fi range extender.
These can be used as standalone networking devices and connected via Ethernet or Wi-Fi to your main router to repeat the wireless signal and improve signal strength.
You can also set up another router as a repeater, bridging it to the original router via a wired connection.
Upgrade your router
If you are struggling to reach top connection speeds and notice severe connectivity drop-off throughout your home, it may be a good idea to upgrade your router.
This is especially true if your current hardware does not support 802.11ac Wi-Fi connectivity or MIMO technology, which drastically improves maximum bandwidth.
Better routers also overheat less often than cheap hardware, and they are generally far better at delivering a stable Wi-Fi connection across a larger area.
There are a number of features to consider when purchasing a new Wi-Fi router, including port speed limitations, Dynamic DNS, and Wi-Fi standards.
For more information on buying a new router, read our article on this topic.