It may seem like a hassle to troubleshoot your network’s wireless performance, however, there are only two main factors to consider; speed and range. Many people are not aware that it is possible to have one without the other. That is to say, you can have a super fast wireless network, but if you only get OK speed when your laptop is in the vicinity of your router, then your speed isn’t worth that much. In this case, you will need to boost the range of the signal.
To be honest, range and speed issues are both consider to be performance related and there are several factors that may have an impact on this which include:
1. Your computer’s distance from your router
2. The way that your office or home is structured may block the router’s signal
3. Interference from the signals of other routers
4. Structural interference (e.g. if your washing machine, dryer, and furnace are between your laptop and router)
5. Your router’s software may be outdated
These are just a few of the reasons why your connection might be wacky or even nonexistent. Thankfully, there are many ways to boost your WiFi signal; and some of them don’t cost a penny. However, all solutions are not created equal and some may run you a pretty penny or two; this is dependent on the problem that you are specifically experiencing with your router.
Are you interested in learning how to boost your Wi-Fi connection? Keep reading for 8 ways to do just that.
1. Change Your Wireless Channel
Wi-fi routers work on certain channels and your router usually chooses one by default. Some routers will automatically choose the channel that is the least crowded but it doesn’t mean that your specific router has that capability. In this case, you will have to check to see which channel isn’t crowded and change it manually to boost your signal range. It is important to note that, most US routers operate on 1 of 3 channels (1,6, and 11). In order to change the channel of your router you must go into its interface to make the necessary adjustments. If this seems difficult, there are free tools that can help you with this task.
2. Update Your Router and/or Adapter Firmware
Upgrading your router’s firmware is a solution that is often overlooked because consumer routers do not typically notify users when updates are available. In order to check if your router’s firmware can be updated, you must visit it’s manufacturer’s website and search for firmware or you can also check your router’s interface. Once you have found the applicable update, simply upload it through the interface.
If you would like to upgrade the firmware for your adapter by heading into your network settings to find out the name of your specific adapter. Once you have this information, simply head to the manufacturer’s website to make sure that you have the latest updates.
3. Simply Change The Position of the Router
Is your router nestled away in your entertainment center? Or perhaps, it may be right next to your modem, but this isn’t necessary. Actually, it is ideal to place your router should be in a central location to get the most out of it.
4. Buy a Second Router to Create An Access Point
It is possible to set up your router as a wireless access point. To do so, you need to connect the second router’s LAN port to the primary router’s LAN port. If your primary router’s IP address is 188.8.131.52 and its net-mask is 255.255.255.0, you could make the second router’s IP 184.108.40.206 and use the same net-mask.
Newer routers make this process easier but if you have another router that is practically new (about a year old), you may be able to use it also.
5. Replace Your Antenna
The newer 802.11n Wi-Fi routers are being made with internal antennas, but there are some who still have, or support, external ones. If you are the owner of such an antenna, you will be happy to know that these antennas can often be upgraded. You should consider a high-gain antenna, which can be position edso that the Wi-Fi signal goes in the direction you want.
6. Get a Repeater and/or Extender
Most major wireless networking vendors offer devices that act as repeaters or wireless extenders. While they can extend a Wi-Fi signal, they can be tricky to set up, can cause interference with the signal, and can be expensive. A good repeater or extender can set you back almost $200.
7. Buy a New Router and/or Adapter
How about getting new routers and adapters altogether? Upgrading your home network to 802.11n and using the 5GHz band should give your wireless signal a noticeable performance improvement. 2.4GHz is said to have a greater range than the 5GHz band, but that’s only noticeable when the router is supplying wireless coverage to large areas like a college campus or office building.
8. Reboot Your Router
The simplest way to do this step is to simply unplug your router, wait 30 seconds, and then plug it back in again. However, if you would like to completely reset your router’s settings back to the factory default (erasing any special settings in the process) you must use a paperclip and push it into the tiny pinhole.
If none of these solutions seems to work, you may have to resort to something drastic like the expensive option of working with a single vendor. Vendors are quick to say that their products will work with other vendor’s products. But it just makes sense that a vendor’s own products will be most compatible with other products produced by the same vendor. If possible, try to limit your network devices to one vendor. That means not only your router or adapter, but also your antennas, repeaters, and access points.
The Bottom Line
There are many solutions available to help you boost your Wi-Fi connection, but all of them are not created equal; some may be free and some may cost you a pretty penny. Therefore, you may want to try out the simpler options first in order to help reduce the strain on your pockets.