Wi-Fi has completely changed our way of life and has done away with (most) wires that were carried everywhere in the old days. This is not to say that Wi-Fi can’t be overwhelming.
Sometimes it’s just a matter of not having enough bars on the signal meter. Sometimes the signal seems to be strong, but the connection is not working properly.
If you’re having trouble getting good Wi-Fi performance, perhaps one of these helpful tips will get the internet back good.
Identify Wi-Fi weaknesses
Determine the weak locations of the WiFi network
Radio waves and light are part of the same electromagnetic spectrum. The only real difference is that our eyes are insensitive to radio waves, so we cannot see them. However, understanding that radio waves and light are one and the same helps to understand why in some places you are not getting a good signal.
Most of the materials pass the radio through, others absorb quite a lot, but not all, and still others reflect this. You can use the Wi-Fi scanning app on your smartphone to measure the strength of your Wi-Fi signal at various locations in your home. This can help you locate dead spots and then try to figure out what might be interfering with the signal.
Then you can either clear the blockage, move to another location yourself, or use the other tips below. One app that works like a charm is WiFi Analyzer, so this is a good place to start.
Wi-Fi uses sophisticated digital radio that is fairly immune to random interference from other devices that generate radio signals as well. However, you may be within range of something that emits radio waves at the right frequency and power to block or weaken your WiFi connection.
This could be something like a radio-controlled toy or an air-conditioned car that is too close to the router or receiving device. Use the elimination process to turn off or relocate devices that may be associated with radio interference.
Wi-Fi is split into separate channels, which allows two devices on the same range to work without interfering with each other. Usually modern routers choose a clear channel, but it can happen that you have a conflict. For example, your neighbor’s new router might be configured to be the same as yours.
It’s pretty easy to check and fix. Use an app like WiFi Analyzer to check what channels other WiFi routers in your area are using. Then log into your router’s interface through a browser and change the channel setting to one that no one else is using.
If it has already been tuned to a specific channel, you can change this setting to automatic instead.
Switch to 2.4 GHz band
Switch to the 2.4GHz band
Many modern routers are “dual band” and operate at 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz. The 2.4 GHz band is slower but has a better range. Usually the device and router will automatically select the best band.
However, you can try switching your router to use only the 2.4GHz band to see if that improves the weak signal. If so, it could be a distance issue or just material blocking the 5 GHz bandwidth between the device and the router.
Of course we don’t want to use slow lane for everything. So if forcing the 2.4GHz band works, you will need to do one of several. Many dual band routers actually offer two separate WiFi SSIDs – one for each band. In this case, make sure the devices having problems getting the 5 GHz band are connected to the correct one.
You can also tune the device to the 2.4GHz band in your own settings, making sure it only connects to a stronger signal without affecting anything else.
Increase transmission power
There should be a parameter in your router settings related to signal transmission power. This is usually referred to as transmit power or something similar, but varies from model to model.
Set it to 100% if not already done. This should significantly improve the range and signal strength.
Use an external antenna
Use an external antenna
If your router is of the type that uses internal antennas, you may want to consider adding external antennas to it to increase range and signal quality. Check the manual to see if your model actually supports an external antenna.
You can buy them inexpensively from most online retailers and screw them into the correct connectors on the back of your router. It may not be as elegant as the internal antenna array, but it is definitely more efficient!
Adjust the antenna
Adjust the antenna
If you have external antennas on your router, you can try adjusting them. If they can grow, make them longer. Rotating and guiding them in a specific direction also changes the shape of the WiFi bubble, which can help eliminate dead spots. Although with the risk of creating new ones.
This might be the right solution if it allows you to get Wi-Fi where you need it and take it away from places where you don’t use it.
Move the router
Move your router
Of course, one simple solution might be to simply move the entire router. Placing it in a more central location can ensure that all devices are within its signal range. It can also be in a position where there is a lot of radio blocking material.
Get an extension cord or repeater
Get an extender or repeater
This method is expensive, but it is the easiest way to increase your Wi-Fi coverage. You can buy devices that will extend the range of your router, and this is the only real solution for large homes.
Wi-Fi extenders are placed at the edge of the router’s coverage area and act as a signal repeater, adding another Wi-Fi zone next to the original one. Powerline extenders are especially useful. They send network signals through your home’s electrical wiring and then create a Wi-Fi hotspot at one end.
Both the router and repeater need to be connected to the same electrical circuit for the router and repeater to work, but this means you don’t need an Ethernet cable and you can extend your Wi-Fi wherever there are power lines.
Buy another router
Buy a different router
This is the most radical thing you can do, but sometimes it’s the best option. Routers are usually designed and calculated for use in specific environments. For example, some routers are best suited for large one-story houses. Others have better vertical range.
Maybe your router just isn’t working where you want it to. You may have been sold the wrong model, or you have moved, and what was good for your old location is no longer up to date.