Our world is becoming increasingly more connected by the day (smart home devices, nest thermostats, refrigerators, coffee makers… you get the picture). And because of the ‘internet of things’ ever-expanding reach, it is vital that we have a speedy wifi connection to handle all the traffic flowing through our home.
The unfortunate truth is though; there are a lot of us who can’t seem to get the speeds we need to operate all of our devices. If you’re one of the unlucky masses that is struggling from slow wifi, there’s no need to panic; we’ve got seven tips to help you boost the wifi reception in your home.
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Before you go out and spend your hard earned money, there are some things that you can do to instantly boost the signal strength throughout the entirety of your home. And that is to put your router in a place where it will be able to broadcast a signal to every room in the house.
Wifi works similarly to cellular phones, by using radio waves to disseminate information to wifi enabled devices within its range. But just all radio waves, there needs to be a line of sight (LOS). Sure, you can still get a signal without it, but that signal will be decreased.
Place it in the open
To help give your router a better LOS to other devices there make sure you keep it in the open. I know it looks better to have it hidden away, but being tucked behind stuff or shut in a cabinet will drastically reduce the distance it can travel.
Put it in a central location
Wifi signals can travel through walls, but it can only go through so many before the signal becomes too weak to provide internet to anything. Put your router in the center of the house, that way the signal can be broadcast everywhere in your home.
Another way to get wifi to the furthest reaches of the house is to purchase a wifi booster. They are easy to find, and most are relatively inexpensive. There are three different types of boosters.
These are the first generations of wifi extenders, and they work by rebroadcasting the wireless signal that it receives from your router, then transmitting that signal to a localized area. These are the cheapest forms of extenders, but they are also the least effective because the signal that they rebroadcast loses strength. If you have a small area to cover these may work for you.
Range extenders are always a better option than repeaters are but a little more expensive. These work by connecting to an Ethernet or coaxial cable and rebroadcasting the wireless signal throughout the house. Because it’s a wired connection, you don’t have to worry about latency drops or signal disruptions.
These are far and away the best extenders out right now. Instead of rebroadcasting a signal they work directly with your router using a wired connection. If you have a large house, with a lot of range to cover, this is by far your best option. It gives wifi to every floor and every corner of the house. You can even use it to extend the signal to your yard.
The antennas that come with most wifi routers are notoriously week. They’re small and dainty little things that do less to offer signal strength and do more to add to your frustrations. But that doesn’t mean antennas don’t work, of course, they do (we’ve all used bunny ears to watch tv before).
Try purchasing a better antenna to increase range. The only issue is, a good antenna is about 10 to 15-inches long and is quite the eyesore.
Periodically, the router manufacturer will send out firmware updates, but they don’t happen automatically, and in my experience, they don’t give you any notifications about it either. So make sure you check for updates manually every so often. You can do this by googling the manufacturer’s login site, log-in (the default username is usually “admin,” and the password is usually “password”) then hit the check firmware update tab.
If there is an update available go ahead and accept it. Not having the updated firmware doesn’t just slow down your connection, but it leaves you more susceptible to malware attacks that can infiltrate their way into the devices connected to your router as well. Yes, regular update checks ARE that important.
Using passwords for your wifi is an absolute necessity these days, especially if you live in an apartment complex. Neighbors or people who are just passing by like to sign into other wifi signals and use them as a makeshift hotspot.
This kind of data leeching can wreak havoc and cripple your speeds. Not to mention, if your ISP caps your data, they’re robbing you of data, and potentially costing you money on your next billing cycle.
If you’ve got a current generation router then it most likely has dual-band technology. This means that it can work on either 2.4ghz band or a 5ghz band, and it can even use both bands at the same time without sacrificing speeds. Often, we use the same band without even realizing it, and when you’re using multiple devices simultaneously, that can slow things down severely.
Try switching bands, and see if it helps any. 5ghz bands offer faster speeds but have less range, while the 2.4ghz band has more range but slower speeds. It’s also a smart idea to assign specific bands to specific devices. For instance, if you’re gaming on a wireless connection, you should have your console connected to the 5ghz band.
Or you can allow your device to choose which connection will work best.
If all else fails you probably just have to purchase new equipment. Like any other product, wireless routers have a finite shelf-life. Over time, they begin to lose signal strength, either because the technology has become outdated, or from normal wear. Also, if your modem isn’t fast enough, then the wifi is going to suffer too.
There are several reasons that your wifi signal can be weak, and usually, there is more than one reason behind it. But now that you’ve got the information it shouldn’t be too difficult to troubleshoot the problem and rectify it.
Once you’ve fixed the issue, go ahead move to where your wifi used to be at its weakest. Log into a speed check site and check your speeds. Viola, you’ve now got a strong signal that covers the entirety of your house!