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How to Boost Your Wireless Signal

In this article I will cover How to Boost Your Wireless Signal.

If you have an older wireless router that doesn’t have all the new technology such as MIMO or multiple antennas, you can still boost your wireless signal using several methods. Personally, I have never needed to boost my wireless signal at home, but have definitely needed to do so at work.

My office environment is a place that has small rooms separated by brick walls and multiple floors, which the WiFi signal is attenuated dramatically.

Boosting your wireless signal will increase your network speed including Internet speed too. So lets get started:

Location

One of the best ways to boost your WiFi signal is to position your router. The position of your router plays a major role in the speed and strength of your wireless connection. The nearer you are to your router with a clear view of it, the better your wireless signal will be. Try to put it in the middle of your home so the signal can reach all the rooms, or at least the ones where you are mostly likely to want Wi-Fi.

Ideally, put your router high up, on top of a book shelf for example, without any clutter around it. Don’t be tempted to put it in a cupboard – it needs to be out in the open and away from obstructions if you’re going to get a good signal.

Obstructions

If you can’t really move your router to a central location, you’ll want to move as many obstructions as possible from the direct path of your router.

Wireless Channel

Your neighbors routers may be interfering with yours and causing the signal to degrade. Wireless routers can operate on a number of different channels, and you want yours on a channel with as little interference as possible. Use a tool like Wi-Fi Stumbler or Wi-Fi Analyzer to find the perfect channel in your house.

The latest routers allow you to switch between two wireless channels 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz. This means if your Wi-Fi signal is weak on one channel you can switch to the other, where you’ll hopefully get a stronger connection.

Generally the 5Ghz channel will be faster, but if interference from other electronics is slowing it down, you can switch to the 2.4Ghz channel. Read the documentation that came with your router or visit your provider or the manufacturer’s website to find out how to configure it. Your computer, tablet or smartphone should detect the new settings automatically.

Interference from Other Appliances

Other routers aren’t the only thing that can cause interference. Many household electronics such as cordless phones, microwaves, baby monitors, and other appliances run at the same frequency as wireless routers. This means that these electronic devices can interfere with the wireless signal that is being broadcast from your router, which can affect the speed and performance of your connection. Check the box of your router to see what frequency it runs at, and try to avoid using other electronic devices that operate at the same frequency. Buying a dual band router can help with this, but you can also buy cordless phones on other bands too. If you don’t want to buy new hardware, you can always try moving your router further away from interfering appliances.

Antenna

Another easy way to boost your WiFi signal is to play with the antenna of your router. Most wireless routers come standard with an omnidirectional antenna, meaning it broadcasts the wireless signal in a circular radius to reach various places in your home. If your router is in a perfectly centered location between all of your wireless devices, this is probably fine. But if your router isn’t perfectly centered among devices, you should think about replacing the existing antenna with a stronger one, known as a high-gain antenna or more directional. You can usually remove your old antenna and replace it with one of these stronger antennas to boost your signal strength, therefore increasing the speed of your connection. Another perk of a high-gain antenna is its ability to focus the wireless signal in any direction you prefer.

Updating

The manufacturers of wireless routers and network adapters often release firmware or driver updates that can improve the function of your wireless connection. You can find and download these updates at the manufacturers’ websites. Updates are usually done to fix issues, add features, and strengthen your equipment’s performance. Check for these updates on a regular basis to make sure your firmware and drivers are always kept up to date.

Secure Your Wireless Network

If your network is not properly secured, neighbors could be using your signal. This can reduce the speed of your connection because you are in a sort, sharing the wireless signal. Set up secure passwords and some sort of wireless encryption that will prevent anyone else from accessing your wireless network. All of these Wi-Fi tweaks can greatly boost the speed of your wireless connection. If one of them does not seem to do the trick, try another or even a multitude of options. It may take a little time and patience, but once you figure out what works to speed up your connection, you will be happy you put forth the effort.

Wireless Powerline Adapters

Wireless powerline adapters – also known as home plugs – use the internal wiring in your house to relay Wi-Fi to parts of your home your router struggles to reach. They’re not cheap, but they be very effective.

A wireless powerline adapter can create a Wi-Fi hotspot wherever you’ve got a free plug socket. However, while wireless powerline adapters can work very well, improved coverage isn’t guaranteed due to number of factors.

Try DIY Tricks

If you’ve tried everything and your Wi-Fi is still wack – or if you simply don’t have the money to try any of the tips that involve spending it – you may be able to boost your signal with a DIY solution. There are loads of guides and videos online that show you how you can improve your Wi-Fi signal using tin foil, a beer can, cooking strainer and even a sieve.

If you have an antenna, I found an awesome DIY method for boosting WiFi signal to one area of the house. All you need is a printer, scissors, tape, and some aluminum foil. Basically you’ll be making a mini parabolic satellite dish that will allow you to direct your WiFi signal. Don’t worry, it’s much easier than it sounds. Just print the template, cut out the two shapes, cover them in aluminum foil, and attach them to your router. It takes about 10 minutes to make and can have a dramatic effect on your WiFi signal. When I used it at my house, my signal went up by two bars even at the far corner of the home.

The results in some cases won’t necessarily be mind blowing, but you should be able to eke a bit more distance out of your Wi-Fi network with minimal effort.

Boost Your Router’s Signal with a Bit of Hacking

Another great way to extend your range is to hack your router and install the DD-WRT firmware. Not only will it give you a ton of great security features and other enhancements, but it gives you the option to boost your transmitting power. This can be dangerous for your router, but most routers can handle an increase up to 70 mW without causing any issues, and you’ll be able to access your network from much further away!

Turn an Old Router Into a Wi-Fi Repeater-Extender

Adding a wireless signal repeater to your home network can greatly increase the speed of your connection. A repeater works by extending your signal without having to add any additional wires. All you have to do is simply place the wireless repeater in a location that is between your router and your wireless device(s). It will instantly boost the wireless signal that is sent from the router to your devices, meaning faster speeds for you.

Get a Better Router- Contact Your Provider

If none of the above doesn’t help, the easiest but not the cheapest ways is to get a new router. These days, n routers usually come as standard with broadband. They use multiple antennas, so you get faster Wi-Fi over a greater range than you do with an older b or g router.

So, if your router’s a few years old you’re likely to be able to get a better one by now. However, a decent router could cost you from £50 and onwards, so try our other tips, less costly ways of speeding up your Wi-Fi before resorting to buying a new one. And, before you do, contact your current internet service provider,  and ask if there’s anything they can do to help. They may be able to offer you advice specific to your broadband package, do something from their end, offer you a better router or even get an engineer to visit you to investigate. You can also ask them to send you their latest router and sometimes this is for free.

Please leave your comments below with your thoughts or alternative methods.

Nik

Experienced IT Consultant working and living in the UK. In early years he was born and raised up in Greece and been to the UK since studies. He is passionate with technology, gadgets and computers, he really likes the internet and IT in general.

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