We’ve all felt the pain and frustration that goes along with a crummy Wi-Fi connection. Whether you’re suffering gameplay lag in Call of Duty or enduring endless buffering of video streams, we feel your pain. Wondering how to boost WiFi signal? Fortunately, you’re not completely helpless. Read on to find out how to boost your WiFi.
Move Your Router to Extend WiFi Signal
We get it. Wi-Fi routers aren’t exactly aesthetically pleasing. But whatever you do, please don’t hide them away in some unseen corner of your house! While we recognize that there is a natural inclination to stick your router in a closet or cupboard, don’t do it. A wireless signal has to travel from its point of origin (in this case your router) to your device. In order to do that, the signal has to pass through walls, doors, floors, furniture, people, dogs, basically anything solid. All of these obstructions can and will weaken your Wi-Fi signal as it travels throughout your home or office.
A Wi-Fi router broadcasts its signal in all directions so ideally you’d want to move your router to a central location in your house. If your router is in a far corner of the house, roughly half of your precious Wi-Fi is being broadcast outside. If you absolutely can’t move your router consider positioning it’s antennas so that they point towards your weak spots. No antennas? You can try to position your router higher up, this might help your signal avoid obstructions closer to the ground. If you’re wondering how to boost WiFi signal, moving your router is the best place to start.
Change the Channel to Boost WiFi Signal
Put down the television remote, we’re talking about your wireless router. You’ve probably heard the word “gigahertz” floating around routers. This is in reference to the radio frequency that your router operates on. Most routers operate on the 2.4 GHz frequency. This means that your neighbors’ routers are probably using the same frequency as well. Since all of these devices are using the same frequency to transmit their signals, their transmissions can interfere with one another. This interference can have a negative impact on your Wi-Fi signal. Luckily, routers operate on smaller bands or channels within the 2.4 GHz frequency.
Grab a free tool like WifiInfoView and launch it while connected to your Wi-Fi network. This tool will pick up all of the routers within range, so find yours and make note of which channel it’s operating on. Next, have a look at all of the other routers in the area and see which channels they operate on. If you’re sharing a channel with a bunch of other routers, switch to a different, less congested one using your router’s Web interface. Moving to a channel less traveled should boost your WiFi signal.
Rumble in the Router: 2.4 GHz vs 5 GHz
Many of today’s routers transmit their signals over two different frequencies simultaneously. These routers are called “dual band“, and operate on both the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz frequency. Because nothing is ever black and white, there are pros and cons that go along with each.
The 5 GHz frequency has significantly better speeds, supporting up to 1300 Mbps, whereas 2.4 GHz only supports 450 to 600 Mbps. That being said, 2.4 GHz is far superior in range and its ability to pass through obstructions that could otherwise block the signal. Of course, the 5 GHz frequency isn’t nearly as congested, which means that you should enjoy a speedier, more stable connection.
Generally speaking, 5GHz is best suited for smaller homes and apartments, and 2.4 GHz is best for larger homes and offices. If you have a dual band router, your best bet is to experiment with each one to see which frequency boosts WiFi.
Use a Wi-Fi Range Extender (aka Repeater)
These little devices are hailed as life savers by some and expensive paperweights by others. Their main function is to alleviate Wi-Fi dead spots without having to replace, move or tinker with anything. They work by “catching” the Wi-Fi signal your existing router is transmitting. The range extender then “pushes” that signal further, hopefully reaching areas that it couldn’t before. Essentially, it’s a way to extend WiFi signal a bit further.
Be aware that range extenders don’t work for every situation. Range extenders are, however, relatively inexpensive and are super simple to set up. You literally just plug them in to a free wall socket and let them do their thing. For best results, place the range extender about halfway between your router and the dead zone. If you’re still having problems, try placing it in different spots to see if you can extend your Wi-Fi signal.
Use a Powerline Adapters to Extend WiFi Signal
Powerline adapters have a better reputation than range extenders, but they’re not as wallet friendly. These gizmos use the existing electrical wiring in your home or office to deliver data (i.e. the Internet). They are pretty simple to use: take one powerline adapter and plug it into a socket somewhere near your router. Connect your router to the powerline adapter using an Ethernet cable. Take the other powerline adapter and plug it somewhere else in your home or office. You can then use an Ethernet cable to connect a device of your choice. Since data is transmitted over your electrical wiring, it is not susceptible to the same interference as wireless signals. This generally means better performance and a more stable connection.
Invest in a Wireless Mesh System
If you have a large area with numerous dead spots, you might want to consider switching from a traditional router to a wireless mesh network. Without getting too technical, a wireless mesh network uses a number of individual “nodes” to bounce Wi-Fi back and forth, effectively blanketing an area in Wi-Fi.
One of the best known wireless mesh systems currently available is Eero. The standard package includes three Eero units that are configured using the Eero mobile app. Once the initial set-up is complete, the Eero units will automatically connect to each other and cover your home in Wi-Fi. Wireless mesh systems like Eero have been touted as the future of Wi-Fi connectivity. Considering how simple and effective it is, there may be some credence to that claim. If you want to learn more, check out our Eero review.
How to Boost WiFi Signal: Bottom Line
In the end, to answer the question of how to boost WiFi signal really depends on your specific situation. It could be as simple as moving the physical location of your router, or it could be more involved than that. Try out the tips listed above one by one to see what works for you.
Do you use any of the tips mentioned above to boost your Wi-Fi signal? Have you adopted a wireless mesh system? Does it boost your Wi-Fi signal? Are there any tips we forgot to mention that can boost a Wi-Fi signal? Let us know in the comments.