If you are someone who has a Wi-Fi setup at home, ask yourself these questions -
- Are the signals from your Wi-Fi router dropping out every now and then?
- Do you wish for more coverage?
- Does your Windows notifies you about a weak signal?
If your answer for any one of the questions above is an Yes, you have come to the right place. This article provides some tips to improve the signal of your wireless network and possibly extend its coverage area.
Guide to improve and extend Wi-Fi coverage at home
1. Position your wireless router & modem in a central location
See if you can place your wireless router in a central location in your home. Say if you have a two-storeyed building placing the router in first floor makes sense. Don’t worry if you can’t move your wireless router, because there are many other ways to improve your connection.
2. Check for any Interference
Make sure interference from other Wi-Fi networks or other transmitting devices aren’t hindering your signal. Metal, walls, and floors can also interfere with your Wi-Fi signals. Devices such as Bluetooth adapters, cordless phones, wireless cameras, wireless keyboards or mice, and wireless speakers or even microwaves can hinder the signal strength. Download and use NetStumbler to check for all the networks in the area.
3. Replace your router’s antenna
Normally, the WiFi routers come with omni-directional antenna, which means that they broadcast in all directions around the router. In case your router is near an outside wall, most of the signals will get transmitted outside the home, so the best thing in that case would be to go buy a hi-gain antenna that focuses the wireless signals in only one direction. You can aim the signal in the direction you need it most.
4. Check and Replace your computer’s wireless network adapter
Sometimes, your router can broadcast strongly enough to reach your computer, but your computer can’t send signals back to your router. In order to improve this, you can try replacing your PC’s wireless network adapter that uses an external antenna. Note that laptops usually come with excellent antennas and hence won’t need to have their network adapters changed.
5. Upgrade to Wireless N
If you think there is no issue with the router’s positioning or interference or the network adapter, you can consider upgrading your devices to 802.11n. But this would involve buying brand new equipment as the older 802.11g or b isn’t upgradable with latest firmware. Wireless N uses multiple-in-multiple-out (MIMO), a smart antenna technology, and other improvements that make for much larger coverage areas and faster connections. To get full improvement, you also need to use both Wireless N for the router and the wireless adapters.
6. Add a wireless repeater
This is a very common suggestion you would come across everywhere. Wireless repeaters extend your wireless network range without requiring you to add any wiring. Just place the wireless repeater halfway between your wireless access point and your computer, and you’ll get an instant boost to your wireless signal strength. They don’t even cost more, so it surely makes sense to go for quality wireless repeaters.
7. Update your firmware or your network adapter driver
Router manufacturers regularly make free improvements to their routers. Sometimes, these improvements increase performance. To get the latest firmware updates for your router, visit your router manufacturer’s Web site. The same holds good with network adapters as well.
8. Pick equipment from a single vendor
Now this might look weird, but it really works. You often get better performance if you pick a router and network adapter from the same vendor. Some vendors offer a performance boost of up to twice the performance when you choose their hardware.
9. Extend Coverage Using Access Points
Another way to boost your Wi-Fi signals is by using additional access points to your network. This method uses Ethernet cables to connect these additional access points back to your router. You might need to hide those additional cables!
Hope you find this article useful. Share your experiences!