How To Boost A Wireless Signal
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Extremely slow web browsing, inability to stream, Wi-Fi signal drops, wireless dead zones – each of these problems is maddening in a world where Internet access has become as necessary as breathing for some. (well maybe not
How To Boost A Wireless Signal
If you find that your Wi-Fi has become slow, there are many tools you can use to test your internet speed. There are also a few tricks you can try to fix network issues. However, if the only way to get decent reception is to stand next to your wireless router, these simple tips will help you optimize your network.
How To Boost Wifi Signal And Improve Your Wifi Performance
Before you blame Wi-Fi, make sure the internet coming into your home is working properly. Find an Ethernet cable and connect your computer directly to the modem – you may need a USB to Ethernet adapter (opens in a new window) if your laptop doesn’t have an Ethernet port.
Run a speed test (opens in a new window) to find out your internet speed. If it doesn’t match the speed listed on your Internet bill, you may need to call your Internet service provider or replace your modem. If your speed test matches your internet bill, but it still seems slow, it might be time to splurge on a better plan. (My grandmother was convinced her Wi-Fi was bad, only to be told she subscribed to a 3 Mbps turtle connection.)
If everything is fine with the modem, try running the wireless test again while standing next to the router. If you’re getting similar speeds near your router, but not anywhere else in your home, your Wi-Fi coverage may be to blame. If your internet is still slow when you’re standing next to your router, you may have outdated hardware that needs to be upgraded.
Before proceeding with the configuration, it is recommended to update the router. Router manufacturers are constantly improving software to increase speed. How easy or difficult it is to update the firmware depends entirely on the make and model of your device.
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In most modern routers, the update process is built right into the administrative interface, so just click the firmware update button. Other models, especially if they are older, still require you to visit the manufacturer’s website, download the firmware file from your router’s support site, and upload it to the admin interface. It’s tedious, but still good because it would be such a simple solution.
In fact, even if your wireless network isn’t working, you should regularly update your firmware for performance improvements, feature enhancements, and security updates. To help you with this, we have a guide to accessing your router’s settings.
If you really want to get the most out of your current router, adventurers should check out third-party firmware like the open source DD-WRT (opens in a new window). This can improve performance and give you access to more advanced network features, including the ability to install a virtual private network (VPN) directly on your router. It’s a little tricky to set up, but for tech-savvy users, it can be useful.
Affects the wireless coverage area. It may seem logical to place the router inside the cabinet and to the side or right next to the window where the cable enters, but this is not always the case. Instead of moving it to the far end of your home, the router should be, if possible, in the center of your home so that its signal can easily reach every corner.
Best Ways To Boost Wifi Signal And Extend The Range
In addition, wireless routers need open spaces, away from walls and obstacles. So while it’s tempting to put that ugly black box in a closet or behind a stack of books, you’ll get a better signal if it’s surrounded by open air (which should also prevent your router from overheating). Keep it away from powerful devices or electronics as their operation in close proximity can affect Wi-Fi performance. If you can remove just one wall between your workspace and your router, you can greatly improve your productivity.
If your router has external antennas, place them vertically to increase coverage. If you can, even elevating the router helps – mount it high on a wall or top shelf to get the best signal. There are many tools available to help you visualize your network coverage. We like Ekahau’s Heatmapper (opens in new window) or MetaGeek’s inSSIDer (opens in new window), which show you both the weaknesses and strengths of your Wi-Fi network. There are also many mobile apps such as Netgear WiFi Analytics (opens in a new window).
Look at the network administrator interface and make sure it is configured for optimal performance. If you have a dual-band router, you’ll probably get better bandwidth by switching to the 5GHz band instead of the usual 2.4GHz band.
Not only does 5GHz offer faster speeds, you’re likely to experience less interference than other wireless networks and devices because 5GHz isn’t used as often. (However, it can’t handle obstacles and distances, so it won’t necessarily reach the same distance as a 2.4 GHz signal.)
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Most modern dual band routers should offer you the option of using the same network name or SSID on both bands. Check your router’s admin interface, find the 5GHz network setting and set it to the same SSID and password as your 2.4GHz network. This way, your devices will automatically select the best signal whenever possible.
(If your router doesn’t give you the option to use the same SSID, just give it a different name, like SmithHouse-5GHz, and try to connect to it manually whenever possible.)
Interference is a big problem, especially for those who live in densely populated areas. Signals from other wireless networks can affect speed, not to mention some wireless phone systems, microwave ovens, and other electronic devices.
Did you ever play with walkie-talkies as a child? You may remember that devices had to be on the same “channel” to hear each other. And if you happen to be on the same channel as your neighbors, you could eavesdrop on someone’s conversation, even if they’re using a completely different set. In the same way, all modern routers can switch between different channels when communicating with your devices.
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Most routers will select a channel for you, but if nearby wireless networks are also using the same channel, you will experience signal congestion. A good router set to auto mode will try to select the least congested channel, but older or cheaper routers may simply select a predefined channel, even if it’s not the best. This could be a problem.
On a Windows PC, you can see which channels nearby Wi-Fi networks are using. At the command line, type
, and you’ll see a list of all wireless networks and channels in use nearby. The network analyzers mentioned above can also display this information, often in an easy-to-read graphical format.
In the office, for example, most of our networks and our neighbors’ networks use channels 6 and 11. In general, for 2.4 GHz you need to stick to channels 1, 6, and 11 because they are the only ones that don’t overlap with other channels (which can reduce performance) . However, 5GHz typically uses non-overlapping channels, which should make choosing the right one much easier.
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If you find that the “Auto” setting doesn’t work for you, log into the router’s admin interface, go to the basic wireless network category, and try to manually select one (ideally one that isn’t used by many networks in your area). . Run another speed test to see if it gives a better signal and faster speeds than the “Auto” setting in your problem areas.
Note that channel congestion can change over time, so if you select a channel manually, you may want to check every now and then to make sure it’s still the best.
The problem may not be related to Wi-Fi interference or range. If your network is open or has a weak password, there may be an unwanted guest or two on your network. If your neighbor downloads multiple 4K movies over your Wi-Fi, your video calls will suffer.
These tools can help you find a list of devices on your Wi-Fi network, which can help you sniff out uninvited neighbors. Your router’s admin interface can also be a sort of traffic analyzer that will tell you which devices are using a lot of data – you might even find that one of your kids is using up bandwidth without you even realizing it. (If so, here’s how to reset them.)
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Once you find the intruder and fix the problem, secure your network with a strong password – preferably WPA2, as WEP is notoriously easy to crack – to prevent others from joining you.
Most modern routers come with Quality of Service (QoS) tools to limit the amount of bandwidth used by applications.
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