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7 Simple Ways to Boost Your Wi-Fi Signal

July 24, 2015
Reading Time: 3 mins
Author: Kevin Spanner

Wi-Fi has become a staple for millions of people, but one of the main problems that Wi-Fi users face is weak signal strength. Weak signal strength can seriously hamper your productivity since it results in slow connection speeds and a smaller range of coverage.

However, there are several things you can easily do to increase your signal strength and throughput:

1. Move your Wireless Router or Access Point to a Central Location

Distance is a major consideration when it comes to Wi-Fi. The signal weakens the farther away you are from the wireless router or access point.

Remember, WiFi signals hate water. They're also not too crazy about metal, mirrors, glass, brick, insulation, and human bodies. Keep your wi-fi equipment away from as many obstacles as possible.

The distance between the router and connecting devices, as well as the number of walls and floors in between, make a big difference.

In order to get even coverage throughout your home or office, you should always choose a central, high location for your Wi-Fi equipment - out in the open.

Mobile apps like Assia's Cloudcheck or Amped Wireless's Wi-Fi Analytics Tool let you walk through your office and identify dead spots, so you can figure out the best places to put your WiFi devices.

2. Change the Channel

Wireless routers and access points broadcast Wi-Fi on a specific channel. If you live in a crowded area with many Wi-Fi networks, like an apartment complex, then signals from other wireless routers or access points could interfere with the signal from your own.

To avoid this problem, use a less crowded channel. You can change the channel by accessing your wireless router's settings through a connected device. Many modern wireless routers and access points even come with software to help you determine the optimal channel to get the most out of your wireless network.

Mobile apps like WiEye for Android let you view all the wireless nets nearby to see what channels they're on. (Sorry, iPhone fans — Apple has banished WiFi scanners from the iTunes Store; you'll have to rely on a desktop app like WiFi Scanner for Mac or WiFi Channel Scanner for Windows.)

3. Turn on Security

Someone could be stealing your Wi-fi signal. They could be saturating your throughput so you miss out.

Lock them out with better security. Set up a password on your wi-fi router so that only authorised users/devices can connect to your wi-fi signal.

Ensure you are using the latest WPA/WPA2 security algorithm options that keep hackers from breaking into your network

Also, don't publicise your wi-fi Network Name to strangers. Configure your router and uncheck "Enable SSID Broadcast." You can still access your network, of course, but it won't be discoverable by those not in the know.

4. Check for interference from a nearby cordless device

Baby monitors, older cordless phones, microwave ovens and wireless speakers are just some of the common household gadgets that also use the most common 2.4Ghz wi-fi frequency. These can interfere with the wireless signal from your router.

Deal with the conflict by moving the router away from these devices and ensuring that no devices that could potentially interfere lie in a straight line between your router and the gadget you're trying to get online with.

5. Update the Firmware

Wireless routers and access points — much like the devices you connect to them — run on embedded, permanent software. This type of software is called firmware.

Updating your device's firmware can improve its performance. To do this, you need to visit the website of your router's manufacturer. There, you can download the router's latest firmware. You can upload the updated firmware into the router by using a connected device.

In addition to keeping the firmware on your wireless router or access point up-to-date, you also need to regularly update the firmware on your mobile device's wireless adapter.

6. Add Additional Hardware

You can also boost the signal by using additional equipment. External antennae and wireless range extenders can increase the range of coverage for your wireless router or access point. You can also use a wireless repeater to send the signal even farther.

If you are still having trouble, you should consider buying a newer wireless router or access point, since newer models have larger ranges and faster signal speeds.

7. Use wires when possible.

As fast as the newest WiFi standard is, a wireless connection still isn't as fast or reliable as a standard wired one. When possible, connect bandwidth-hungry devices that stay in one location directly to your router via networking cable, and save the wireless connections for the stuff that moves around.

Wi-fi devices are designed for only a small number of connections. Limit this number and the stronger speed you get out of it


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