Are WiFi signals going amiss? Spotty connection at random spots in your home or office? This tends to happen quite often while accessing the internet wirelessly via a router and there are several factors that contribute towards this end.
We have seen varying degrees of technological advancement around us in the past few years and most of them depend on the internet to work in sync — a spotty WiFi signal can hinder our day to day lives and be extremely annoying.
A slow internet connection can really get onto people’s nerves.
But luckily there are workarounds in case you’re facing slow internet by improving your WiFi’s performance with a few simple tweaks here and there. Here are five tips to boost your WiFi signal.
Adjust the Location of the Router
Positioning your router in a place with least interference is paramount to getting a strong WiFi signal in all the areas that you wish to access it. Putting it at a certain spot might hinder its signals or boost them.
Your device’s distance and the line of sight from the router is an important factor in the strength of the signal — the further you are, the weaker the signal. But interference from other electronic device is also another contributing factor towards weak signals.
If your router is placed near a TV, laptop, microwave, refrigerator, wireless media center, even a landline phone, or these devices are blocking the line of sight then your WiFi signals can be hindered — you should consider placing your router at a distance from other electronic devices.
Walls, if made with material such as concrete, can weaken a WiFi signal too. If you live in a multi-storeyed building, placing the router at a middle-ground — higher up on a shelf on the first floor of a double storeyed building or on the second floor in a triple storeyed building — will boost WiFi signals.
Use Wireless Range Extenders
Buying a wireless range extender is a good idea to boost your Wifi signal if you have a big house or office property to distribute the signals, especially when there are lots of walls weakening your WiFi signal.
These devices aren’t as expensive and are a useful tool to circumvent physical hindrances to between WiFi signal and device.
Routers works on a software — called firmware — that differs depending on the manufacturer of the router and at times something as simple as updating your WiFi router’s firmware can solve the issue of weak signals.
The firmware updates not only fix any security issues but also contain several bug fixes meant to speed up your router hardware.
You’ll find firmware updates on your router’s admin portal. Refer to the router’s manual in case of a doubt or contact your internet service provider if you can’t resolve it yourself.
Router Channels and Frequency
Since everyone is using a WiFi connection these days, those living in densely populated urban apartment setup often face interference in their WiFi signals, which is most likely due to overlapping signals emerging out of your neighbour’s WiFi router.
Overlapping signals cause re-transmission of data and if the interference is too much then it might also drop the connection altogether.
Most of the routers work on the 2.4GHz frequency which has 13 channels. Most people don’t change their router channels — which can be done via the admin portal. Changing your channel which isn’t being used might clear the congestion.
If you want to check what channels your neighbours are using, simply open the command prompt and type ‘netsh wlan show all’.
All the active WiFi signals in your vicinity and which channel they’re using will be displayed. Change your router’s channel accordingly — preferably channels at a distance from the ones in use; choose 9 if channel 5 is in use.
Alternatively, you can also choose to opt for a modern router which works on 5GHz frequency — a new standard. Since not a lot of people are using routers on this frequency, the interference is bound to be low.
Usually, the default routers supplied by any internet service provider (ISP) is of poor quality and can be a contributing factor to your weak WiFi signals. Consider switching to a better quality router which will instantly give stronger signals.
Better quality routers don’t only have a better antenna but also more antennas.
If you’re unwilling to spend money on a new router, replacing your existing router’s antenna — which are mostly detachable — is an alternative. Go for an omnidirectional antenna to replace your existing one.
If your router is fixed with an internal antenna, adding an external one to the device can help boost WiFi signal too as external antennas are generally considered to be stronger.
In the aforementioned case, buying a directional antenna will be a better bet as internal antennas are omnidirectional. Go for a directional antenna and set it in the direction where you’re facing weak signals.
In case your router with internal antenna doesn’t have an option to add an external antenna, and replacing the internal antenna doesn’t work then you can also buy a USB antenna for your computer.
The USB antenna will work as a receiver and can be positioned in any the desirable direction to boost your WiFi signal.