How To Boost Your WiFi Signal
With so much of our lives dependent on a reliable home internet connection, knowing how to boost your WiFi signal can eliminate slow loading times, unresponsive smart home devices, and the dreaded buffering wheel whenever you’re bingeing Netflix or watching a YouTube video. You may have already resigned yourself to having unreliable WiFi, and you are sick to death of carrying your laptop around the house like you are Rafiki and your device is a wholly disappointing Simba. Luckily for you, we’ve got some advice on how to change that.
Find A Good Spot For Your Router
Thick walls and even closed doors are the main culprits when it comes to an unreliable and often infuriating WiFi signal, so positioning it in a central location out of the way of obstacles and anything else that could disrupt the signal should be the first thing you try.
You’ve also got to find the right height for your router box. One that’s too low or too high won’t provide the proper signal range, so it’s best to place it at waist height on a desk or a shelf and away from metal objects that will scatter your signal to ensure the signal spreads through the house.
Keep The Router Updated
One way you can boost WiFi signal in your home is by keeping the router updated, but this is a solution that few people know about.
As technology evolves, router manufacturers are always tweaking the firmware to deliver the best results possible for your home. If you are experiencing a patchy-at-best wifi signal, it may be worth checking out your current version and then finding out how to update, although how easy this depends on the router and the brand.
Give Devices A Break And Disconnect Unused Ones
Just like we get exhausted from working non-stop, so too does your device and its WiFi signal. We know this sounds like something someone who does not understand how computers work might say, but it’s actually the truth.
Switching your smartphone and tablet off regularly will give it the break it needs. Likewise, any devices, such as e-readers, that you do not use frequently should be disconnected and switched off, as these are only hogging up valuable bandwidth.
Check The Frequency
If you can, look at your network admin interface to ensure it is configured to deliver the optimal performance. Many routers work on the 2.4GHz band as a default, but if 5GHz is available, you can switch to that to help you boost your signal.
With 5GHz, you will enjoy faster speeds and less interference from close-by routers which are likely using 2.4GHz also. The 5GHz doesn’t reach as far as 2.4GHz, though, but with less interference and obstructions, it should still cover your whole house.
Upgrade The Antenna
Routers with an internal monitor may allow you to install an additional external antenna, which is better at sending and receiving stronger signals, therefore boosting your signal with no need to replace the whole router.
Your router may have come with replacement antennas, but if not, you can find plenty of options online which offer omnidirectional functionality, which sends a signal in all directions, or directional ones that direct the signal in a single direction, which is useful if your house has any WiFi Dead Zones.
Cut Off Leeches
We all know how important wireless security and encryption are in the modern world, and any password-free router is a prime target for anyone who doesn’t want to spend money on their own WiFi connection. Creating a password will keep them out, free up signal bandwidth, and also keep your important information, such as passwords and bank details, protected from hackers.
Purchase A Booster
If you’re still looking for ideas on how to boost WiFi signal, then purchasing a WiFi extender or booster is one of the most reliable methods you can try. These devices plug into sockets around the house and connect to your main router which then rebroadcasts the signal through a new network.
Signal boosters use your WiFi signal and then emit an additional signal that allows you to connect. They are excellent for large houses or those with a lot of obstructions.
Control The Quality
If you live in a house with many people, whether it’s a family home or a house full of college students, you know that all it takes is one person downloading or streaming a bandwidth-hogging application to slow the upload speeds to something reminiscent of the horrors of dial-up. However, all is not lost, and you can control the Quality of Service (QoS) to ensure this does not happen again.
To do this, all you need to do is:
- Log in to your router as an Administrator
- Locate the Wireless Settings tab
- Select QoS and then configure the QoS rules to limit bandwidth usage so everyone gets their fair share
- Save the new settings and allow the router to restart for these changes to take effect
Go Open Source
Our more techy readers can also consider Open Source software such as DD-WRT, which allows you to improve performance and also unlock access to advanced networking functions including VPNs, increased security, and customization options.
You can find routers that can run DD-WRT, or you can download the software and install it onto any router you have in the house, although we’d advise checking the compatibility first.
Reboot Your Router
Sometimes, though, it’s a classic case of simply turning your router off and on again. We’ve already mentioned giving your devices a break, but your router may need to reset once in a while, too. If you’re experiencing bad signal, try switching your router off for half an hour to give it, and you, a break, and then go back to it before trying any other suggestions.
Even though some may argue that having a reliable WiFi connection is no god-given right, with such a vast reliance on your internet signal to do everything from chat to friends, look for jobs, or kick back and relax after a long day, it’s worth exploring ways to improve and boost your WiFi signal.