The integration of wireless connectivity into our daily lives is at previously unimagined and unprecedented levels. We use wireless connections on our smartphones, tablets, personal computers, smart TVs, Internet of Things devices, cameras, and a near-infinite array of devices on a Wi-Fi network. A poor Wi-Fi signal can, therefore, cause an inordinate amount of frustration and upheaval in our daily activities. Simple tasks like downloading data or checking a camera feed can seem near impossible, not to mention data-intensive activities like streaming movies or video calls. This article will educate you on the best ways to boost Wi-Fi signals giving you a stronger, smoother connection.
Wi-Fi is itself a family of wireless network protocols that are commonly used to provide access to a local network of connected devices. Wi-Fi uses radio waves to wirelessly transmit information at certain frequencies, most commonly 2.4GHz and 5GHz, which are then divided into multiple channels. Devices that are compatible can network through wireless access points to the internet and other devices. In the same way that cell phone signal boosters for home boost signal strength, poor Wi-Fi signals can also be improved in many different ways.
Since the creation of the first wireless network in 1971, there have been significant improvements in the field of wireless networking. Wi-Fi 6, is a large upgrade to Wi-Fi standards that promises higher speeds, low latency, better battery life for compatible devices, and better connections which means you may not need to invest in a portable cell phone signal booster just yet.
What causes poor Wi-Fi signals?
You may have positioned your router in the best possible location and bought the latest equipment but still suffer from poor to non-existent Wi-Fi signals. Here are some of the reasons you may be having problems.
- Obstructions-certain types of construction materials, thick walls, pillars, furniture, and other home appliances reduce range for Wi-Fi wavebands which work best for line-of-sight use. This is especially true for 5GHz networks which don’t penetrate solids nearly as well.
- Physical distance-the coverage of different Wi-Fi access points ranges from some that cover a single room to an entire building with factors like the frequency broadcast strength affecting the distance. Most access points will have a range of about twenty meters indoors after which you start getting poor signal
- Interference-devices that use the 2.4GHz band like microwave ovens, radios, and walkie talkies can interfere with your Wi-Fi signal. Interference can be caused by overlapping channels in the 5-channel band. Interference with other devices’ use of access points also occur when many access-points default to the same channel.
- Router capacity– multiple users on your router can prevent it from providing reliable wireless access to the internet. Bandwidth-intensive activities can easily overload the capacity of your internet connection making it slow to a crawl.
The best ways to boost your Wi-Fi signal
Here is a comprehensive guide on how to fix poor Wi-Fi signals in your home and office.
The first step in fixing any problem is to diagnose it. Find out why you are having poor signal and understand the nature of the problem. This can easily be done by downloading a Wi-Fi analyzer app, which can help you understand your network and pinpoint the problem.
As in real estate, the golden rule for router efficiency is location, location, location. Devices in your home that use the same frequency band as your routers like microwave ovens and radios will emit electromagnetic waves that interfere with your router signal.
Thick walls and different materials such as metal also obstruct Wi-Fi wavebands. Wi-Fi signals are typically stronger in large open spaces and you should find a central location in your home to place the router, away from electromagnetic devices.
3) Update your router firmware
Router manufactures are always releasing updates for your device’s software which helps with better performance and security. Connect to your router’s network and log in to check if it is using the newest available firmware and if it isn’t, download and install the updates.
4) Change your frequency and channel
If you have a dual-band router, you could try switching to the 5GHz band from the 2.4GHz band. 5GHz offers faster speeds and you will be a lot less likely to encounter interference from other devices since it is not as common. It is however not so good at covering long distances or penetrating solid obstacles.
Routers that use the 2.4GHz band occupies 5 channels. Overlapping channels with other access points can, therefore, cause interference. Some routers also default to the same channel on initial startup which may cause congestion. If your router is not capable of picking uncluttered channels, go to your router’s settings and search for the least occupied channel.
5) Buy a Wi-Fi repeater or booster
Wi-Fi repeaters and boosters generally have the same purpose as cheap cell phone signal boosters for home. Wi-Fi repeaters work by rebroadcasting the existing signal as a new network while boosters first amplify the existing network before rebroadcasting it and work well for very weak original signals.
6) Secure your network
An unprotected Wi-Fi network could slow your speeds to a crawl as it may attract unwanted freeloaders who reduce your bandwidth plus it also makes your connection less secure. Encrypt your Wi-Fi connection using a strong password to keep away unwanted users.
If you are still relying on obsolete hardware, you will not get the best possible efficiency and performance. Update your router to a newer device or you could upgrade to a Mesh Wi-Fi network. Mesh Wi-Fi systems are meant to replace your router by placing satellite nodes around your house to create a single wireless network.
Just as with homemade cell phone signal boosters, you could always try making your own external homemade Wi-Fi antenna to try and boost the signal.
Martin Cooper once said, “Wireless is freedom. It’s about being unleashed from the telephone cord and having the ability to be virtually anywhere when you want to be.” Wi-Fi has virtually transformed our lives; allowing us to access the internet from anywhere, connect our smart devices, and run our homes and offices.