You need Wi-Fi for so much more than just accessing the Internet from your computer. Want to binge a hot show on Hulu or Netflix? You need Wi-Fi. Want to turn on the lights in another room? You need Wi-Fi. Feeling a little warm and want to turn the thermostat down without getting up? You need Wi-Fi.
All these conveniences are great, but they are only as good as the strength of your Wi-Fi signal. Here are nine ways you can boost that signal. While these may sound super difficult and technical, they really aren’t. You can also do a search for more information on any of these.
- Update your router firmware (aka software). Most routers have the update process built into the interface, so you only need to hit a firmware update button. With an older model, though, you might need to download the firmware from the manufacturer’s Website.
- Find the best place for the router. Make sure the router is in an open space, away from walls, appliances and electronics. Try putting it on top of a shelf or table to get a better signal. Also in a multistory home try to avoid putting in on the top or bottom floor. If your router has external antennas, orient them vertically.
- Frequency. If you have a dual band router, use the 5GHz band instead of the 2.4GHz band to improve performance.
- Switch channels. Wi-Fi networks run on channels, and if many networks in your area are using the same channel, that can hurt performance. On Windows-based PCs, you can see what channels neighboring Wi-Fi networks are using. Then you can pick a less congested network and switch your router to that channel.
- Control quality. Many routers come with Quality-of-Service tools to limit the amount of bandwidth apps use. This allows you to specify which apps and services get priority, and set lengthy downloads for less busy times.
- Upgrade your hardware. Older routers simply do not have the bandwidth that new routers have, which is critical given the demands we are putting on our networks. For best performance, try an 802.11ac router, which has the greatest bandwidth.
- Add an antenna. If your router only has an internal antenna, try adding an external one.
- Wireless range extenders. If your wireless network covers a large area or multiple levels, or has to go through thick walls, a Wi-Fi extender can boost the signal. Place the extender close enough to the main router so that it picks up a solid signal, but also close enough to the weak spot so it can extend the signal.
- Mesh-based Wi-Fi systems. Wi-Fi systems are designed to cover every corner of your home. They include a main router that connects to your modem, and satellite modules that you place throughout your house to ensure you get a quality signal throughout.