As our lives become more deeply intertwined with the digital world, the demand for better Wi-Fi services also rises. But not even the most expensive Wi-Fi service can guarantee a smooth and speedy Internet connection if you don’t optimize your usage of the facility. Here are six steps to boost your Wi-Fi signal.
Before Starting: Identify the Weak Spots in Your Home
Your Wi-Fi router creates a grid of electromagnetic radio waves invisible to the naked eye in your house. These waves are responsible for the facilitation of the Wi-Fi signal to your devices. Make use of a Wi-Fi scanning app to identify the parts of the house where the density of Wi-Fi signal waves is the lowest.
These are the areas where you need to avoid using the Wi-Fi. Instead, try to use the Wi-Fi in the spots with the strongest signal strength. The WiFi Analyzer app is a useful tool for creating a map of an area’s signal strength.
Step 1. Remove Blockages
Sometimes other electronic devices in your house can be responsible for blocking the electromagnetic waves coming from your router, leading to poor signal strength. For instance, an air conditioner operating directly next to a router can sometimes interfere with the Wi-Fi.
To determine if a particular device is causing problem, turn that device off and see if it affects the Wi-Fi signal strength. If you do find some interference, either move the machine if you can’t turn it off permanently, or move the router itself to a different position.
Step 2. Use an External Antenna
Remember the old radio sets that used to have extendable antennas at their backs which you would pull out and move around to catch a better signal? Similarly, you can buy an external antenna for your router to transmit Wi-Fi signals equally in all directions across greater distances.
If you already have an external antenna, move it around manually and take note of which position allows for capturing the strongest Wi-Fi signal on your electronic device. You may also want to move the router itself to a spot where it emits the strongest signal.
Step 3. Use an Extender or Mesh System
While the antenna picks up existing Wi-Fi signals, an extender is used to extend the range of your Wi-Fi signal. This is particularly useful in larger homes or office settings where a number of people in separate areas use the same digital network.
Using an extender is the more costly choice, but it is more convenient than using an ethernet cable. If more people are using the Wi-Fi, you can ask them to chip in towards buying the extender. A repeater is a device that is also used for the same function as an extender.
For those unfamiliar with technology, an extender can be a difficult device to set up. In such cases, you can use a Wi-Fi mesh system, which can be plugged in and controlled via an app to effectively provide Wi-Fi to every corner of your location. While an extender will boost your current Wi-Fi network, the mesh system creates an entirely new network for your use.
All in all, a mesh network is easier to set up and control but is also the more expensive choice compared to an extender.
Step 4. Switch to a Different Wi-Fi Channel
Wi-Fi is supplied through separate channels, like TV channels, and just like with TV, you can change the Wi-Fi channel if the present one isn’t doing it for you. If a nearby router is using the same channel as you, it can reduce the speed of your Wi-Fi.
Again, you can use an app like WiFi Analyzer to check which channels other routers in your area are using. Go to your browser’s online interface and switch to a channel with the least amount of users.
Step 5. Turn Your Transmission Signal Up
Check your router settings for one that is related to the transmission power of the signal. It is sometimes indicated by the letters “Tx” or something similar. Once you have located the option on your Wi-Fi’s online interface page under Advanced settings, check to see if it is turned up to 100%, and if not, turn it up to a maximum for better signal strength and range.
However, sometimes the transmission signal may be set at less than 100% by your Wi-Fi supplier for legal or hardware-related reasons. Talk to your supplier before changing your transmission signal strength to ensure you are not harming your router or doing something unlawful.
Other Factors To Consider
Frequency: Most Wi-Fi networks in the US use the 2.4 GHz frequency to propagate Wi-Fi signals. But you can also choose to switch to the 5 GHz spectrum. Since this frequency is generally used less, you get a less congested network connection, with greater stability and less disruption by neighboring routers.
To switch to 5 GHz, you will need to access your Wi-Fi’s internet access page as an admin and change the settings for the 802.11 band selection field from 2.4 to 5GHz.
Updating Router Firmware: Using the same router for several years often means the firmware in the device has become outdated, leading to poor performance and weaker protection against network malware. Every router manufacturer uses a slightly different process to update firmware, but the resources for doing so are usually available on their website, along with the files which you need to download to update the router firmware.
Getting The Latest Router: If your router is too old or outdated to keep up with modern Wi-Fi networks, your best bet for improved performance would be to simply buy a new one with a better Wi-Fi standard. It is better to spend money on a new, more efficient router than keep using your old one that performs poorly and leaves your network vulnerable to attacks from newer forms of malware.