Most people use whatever router their ISP provides them — because routers aren’t easy for the average person to buy and a really good one isn’t nothing short of cheap. If you have to make-do with one router in your home, and you find there are rooms and corners where the WiFi signal doesn’t reach or if it does the Internet speeds are very low, it’s quite obvious you will need to figure out how you can improve the router’s signal in your home.
Here are a few basic things you can try to boost the WiFi range without replacing your router.
1. Move The Router
If your ISP set up the router in your home, there is no guarantee that they found the best place for it. Most people settle with putting the router next to the most easily accessibly power outlet or wherever they can restart it easily. Sometimes the emphasis is on aesthetics instead of functionality. A router should not be placed;
- Next to a stove, fridge, microwave, or other such electric appliances
- Next to anything that is metal e.g. that vase your aunt got you when she came back from vacation
- Inside a cabinet or any sort of case that makes it look less ugly
- Anything metal e.g. don’t put it on a metal shelf or a metal stool
Find a place that’s suitable and somewhat in the middle of your house so that the WiFi signal reaches all the rooms. This one is going to be hard to manage with perfect precision but you can move the router out of a bedroom and into the hallway at the very least.
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2. Change The Channel
A router isn’t the only wireless device in your home. If you live in a building, your neighbors probably have internet and a wireless router as well. Their router, your router, and most wireless devices all use the same frequency to transmit a signal. The default frequency is 2.5Ghz and it is divided into smaller bands. Without getting too technical, some bands or channels overlap when they transmit a signal. Within the 2.5Ghz frequency, you should select the 1, 6, and 11 channel as there is no overlapping there. If your router uses the 5Ghz frequency, you have more bands to choose from. You can select the 36, 40, 44, 48, 149, 153, 157 and 161 bands to boost the signal.
You will need to access the admin panel of your router to change the channel.
3. Upgrade Antenna
Some routers don’t have antenna but those that do often have ones that can be replaced. If your router doesn’t have an antenna, ask your ISP to provide you one that does. You might need to tell them the router in your home doesn’t work as well to get them to change it and it might not be easy to get the exact replacement you want. If your router does have an antenna or two and they can be replaced, considering upgrading them. Buying an antenna is much cheaper than buying a new router and it will make a noticeable difference.
4. Upgrade Firmware
Check if your router’s firmware is in need of an upgrade. If a new version is available, upgrade to it. You might be surprised but this can actually improve the performance of your router. The firmware might patch problems or improve the overall performance of the hardware it’s running on and result in a stronger WiFi signal.
5. Signal Boosters And Access Points
We’re getting into hardware improvements here. You can buy signal boosters and install them to boost the WiFi signal in your home. They aren’t expensive and will resolve most signal problems. If a booster isn’t doing the trick, you can supplement it by adding an access point or two. It can be particularly useful if you need your WiFi signal to reach two or more floors e.g. both the basement and the attic.
If your router is particularly old, you might want to invest in a newer model. You don’t need to get the latest model that’s available but your router model shouldn’t be obsolete. Additionally, you should refrain from using hacks like beer cans or metal mesh make-shift antenna to boost the signal. There’s a popular hack that encourages users to use concave metal objects like cans to boost the signal. While this does amplify the signal, somewhat, it does so in one direction. If you only need to use the WiFi in one particular part of the house, see if you can just move your router there. If you want to disburse the signal more evenly, this hack isn’t for you.
When you’re looking for the best place to place your router, take the help of a signal mapping app. It will be able to tell you the signal strength that various parts of your house are getting from the router in its current position.