Check Channel And Frequency
Having your router on the same channel as those in neighboring homes or apartments can cause interference and prevent optimal Wi-Fi performance.
The most common channels for the default 2.4 GHz frequency are 1, 6 and 11, and if your closest neighbors are using the same channel you are, its likely youre both getting less than you should from your signal.
How can you figure out which channel is being used the least in your area? There are many tools available to analyze signal use, including an app for Android called “Wifi Analyzer” and inSSIDer for Windows. These tools look at nearby networks to determine which channels have the heaviest usage.
Once you know what to avoid, go to your routers wireless settings and pick the channel with the least traffic. While youre making changes, try switching the frequency from 2.4 GHz to 5 GHz.
This may offer a performance boost if you have a dual-band router or recently upgraded to the AC Wi-Fi standards. Not only does 5 GHz support up to 1300 Mbps speeds, its also used by fewer devices and should provide more stability for Wi-Fi connectivity.
Upgrade Your Router Or Add Extenders
Replacing your router is always something of a last resort. Not only can a new router be expensive, but it’s a lot of work to set up a new router and have your various devices join the network. But if your router is limited to obsolete 802.11n or 802.11g standards, for example, you might want to look for an 802.11ac or Wi-Fi 6 router.
If you have an especially large house and your router isn’t yet obsolete, you might want to add one or more Wi-Fi extenders. These are small, affordable devices that amplify the Wi-Fi signal and therefore extend the coverage area in your home. You’ll generally need to plug them in close enough to your router that they receive a solid, reliable signal, but are close enough to your home’s “dead zone” to fill in the gap. The major disadvantage of extenders is that they usually have their own SSID, so you need to change Wi-Fi networks when going from one end of the house to the other.
Another alternative: Upgrade to a mesh network. Mesh routers usually come in two or three components rather than a single router, and you connect them in different locations throughout the house. Together, they deliver a strong and fast signal over a much larger coverage area than a typical router can do on its own. For recommendations on this front, check out Insider Reviews’ guide to the best Wi-Fi mesh networks.
Check Your Wired Internet Connection
Before you blame the Wi-Fi, make sure the internet coming into your house is performing as it should. Find an Ethernet cable and plug your computer directly into your modemyou may need a USB to Ethernet adapter if your laptop doesnt have an Ethernet port.
Run a speed test to see your internet speed. If it doesnt match the speed on your internet bill, you may need to call your ISP or replace your modem. If your speed test does match your internet bill, but it still seems slow, it may be time to pony up for a better plan.
If the modem seems okay, try running the test again wirelessly, standing right next to the router. If you get similarly good speeds next to the router, but not elsewhere in the house, then your Wi-Fi coverage may be to blame. If your internet is still slow standing right next to the router, you may have some outdated gear that needs an upgrade.
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Make Sure There Are No Wifi Freeloaders
An unauthorized person or device who is connected to your network is a WiFi freeloader. The amount of devices connected to your network affects your internet speed. Well, these freeloaders take up bandwidth on your network because WiFi is a shared medium, so the more devices, the less everyone gets to use.
So the next step is to check and see if you have any WiFi freeloaders and protect your network from unauthorized use.
Nowadays there’s an app for almost everything.
Most likely your internet provider has an app, which you can download and see what devices are on your network. In addition, you can also download Fing from the or Apple Store, which will give you the ability to check for freeloaders, as well as other additional network information that could be useful.
Nowchange your WiFi name and WiFi password!
Whether you found WiFi freeloaders or not, it’s important to protect your bandwidth from future WiFi leeches by changing to a new and strong WiFi password, as well as changing the name of your WiFi. Here’s why…
Many of us may be tempted to use the name and password that was given to us by your ISP, but this can leave your network vulnerable since many ISPs choose from a certain set of passwords, and knowing the ISP name gives hackers a better sense of how to hack your network.
So, change your WiFi name and your WiFi password to something unique. You should be able to do it online or through your ISP’s app.
How Does Your Router Work
Understanding the basics of what your wireless router does will go a long way toward helping you fix some hiccups.
Think of a router as an electronic traffic cop, says Richard Fisco, who oversees electronics testing for Consumer Reports. Once its hooked up to the modem provided by your internet service provider , a router directs the internet connection throughout your home, making it wirelessly available to devices like your laptop, smart speaker, and smart TV.
Your router serves as a link between the outside world and all of your personal and financial data. The tax return you filed electronically? It travels through your router. Those numbers you share online with Amazon? They exit through the router, too.
Thats why a router has to be a security guard in addition to being efficient and convenient. A good one receives routine firmware updates from the manufacturer to combat potential threats from hackers and other neer-do-wells.
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Use 24ghz Instead Of 5ghz Wi
Wi-Fi can use one of two frequency bands: 2.4GHz or 5GHz. Many people think the latter is better because it offers faster speeds.
However, this comes at a price: range. The higher the frequency, the shorter the wavelength. And 5GHz signals cannot penetrate walls, ceilings, desks, and, yes, people as well as 2.4GHz signals. (Incidentally, this is why 5G is promising such fast speeds, because it uses much higher frequencies called millimetre wave but these signals have a tough time getting through glass, trees and even rain.
2.4GHz, on the other hand is better at delivering a signal over a greater distance, at slower speeds. Thats why you might be able to get better range from your router by forcing your phone or laptop to connect to your routers 2.4GHz network. Many routers combine the two frequencies into one network name. Thats done for convenience, but it means you cant choose which network to connect to.
If your router is like this, log in to the settings web page and look for a Wi-Fi menu where you can split the two frequencies into two separate network names.
Its worth bearing in mind that 2.4GHz devices face a battle because lots of other things also use this frequency including microwaves, baby monitors, Bluetooth and more.
So your mileage may vary, but it is well worth understanding the difference between Wi-Fi bands, as you can use these to your advantage.
Use A Long Range Router
Even if you have a fast connection, too many electronics can often overwhelm your WiFi. A typical home is streaming video, playing games, and surfing the Internet at the same time. Luckily theres long range smart routers like the Nighthawk that promise WiFi for up to 45 devices, and houses and businesses as large as 3,000 square feet.
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How Can I Improve The Wi
Before you restart the router to improve the speed of the Wi-Fi signal to your iPad, find out where the problem is. Connect to the wireless network from two different devices, such as a laptop and the iPad, from the same spot in your house.
How to fix low Wi-Fi signal strength?
Distance and barricades significantly degrade the Wi-Fi strength and thus its ability to provide a solid experience. If you continuously face low signals, consider moving closer to the router. Similarly, if there are multiple thick walls between the router and your devices, try to relocate the former.
What’s A Good Wifi Signal Strength
The ideal WiFi signal strength is between -55 dBm and -70 dBm, depending on how close or far away from the access point you happen to be.
- -30 dBm = Excellent – Max achievable signal strength. Your device is most likely only a few feet from the AP to achieve this signal. Neither a typical nor desirable in the real world.
- -67 dBm = Very Good – Minimum signal strength for most business applications
- -70 dBm = Okay – Minimum signal strength required for a decent packet delivery.
- -80 dBm = Not Good – Minimum signal strength for basic connectivity. Packet delivery may be unreliable.
- -90 dBm = Unusable – Approaching or drowning in the background transmissions and is causing serious interference with the signal. Any functionality is highly unlikely.
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Consider Your Home Layout
The signal from your router is a great feat in technological innovation but unfortunately, it is easily thwarted by distance and barriers. The radio waves are much shorter compared to those used in radio transmission so will lose strength pretty rapidly, meaning keeping your devices closer to your router is an effective way to boost Wi-Fi signal.
If youre in a big home, buying extra boosters to put in different positions around your house can help to stretch the service throughout the house. These waves also get absorbed and blocked by walls and services so, you know, forgoing all your belongings probably wouldnt hurt either. Who needs furniture when you have the full Sopranos box set just ready and waiting?
Invest In A Range Extender
One or two simple pieces of extra hardware can extend the range of a Wi-Fi signal into remote parts of your home.
Range extenders or network repeaters pick up the signal and bring it into rooms out of the reach of the router, but the trade-off is a slower connection for anyone using a device in those areas. Another option is to get another router and a long Ethernet cable to create a second access point still connected to the main modem.
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Check Your Wifi Channel Plan
We talked about 2.4 and 5GHz bands, now let’s talk about selecting the proper WiFi channel within those bands. Selecting the proper WiFi channel is important because there may be too many nearby users on the same WiFi channel as you, which is causing interference and a sort of traffic jam.
Nowwithin both frequency bands, we have a number of channels , and here is how it breaks down:
- 2.4GHz = 3 channels that don’t overlap
- 5GHz = 25 channels that don’t overlap, but only 9 are universally supported on most devices
Note: Identifying the devices that are being used on the network is also so important to the design process because we need verify all of the supported channels of each device. That way we can then exclude any channels from the design that are not supported by the devices.
Image source: Wireless LAN Professionals
As a basic guideline, we want to use as many non-overlapping channels as possible, and avoid channel reuse at all costs.
If your access point is operating on a channel other than one of the overlapping channels, that’s when co-channel and adjacent channel interference happen.
Co-Channel interference happens when there’s another device that are operating on the same frequency channel as youit technically behaves more like congestion.
You can check for adjacent and co-channel interference with WiFi Analyzer. As a visual for what to look for and the difference between the two types of interference, please see image below:
Achieve Optimal Router Placement
Not all homes will distribute Wi-Fi signal equally. The fact is, where you place the router can hugely affect your wireless coverage. It may seem logical to have the router inside a cabinet and out of the way, or right by the window where the cable comes in, but that’s not always the case. Rather than relegating it to a far end of your home, the router should be in the center of your house, if possible, so its signal can reach to each corner with ease.
In addition, wireless routers need open spaces, away from walls and obstructions. So while it’s tempting to put that ugly black box in a closet or behind a bunch of books, you’ll get a better signal if it’s surrounded by open air . Keep it away from heavy-duty appliances or electronics as well, since running those in close proximity can impact Wi-Fi performance. If you can eliminate even one wall between your workspace and the router, you can drastically improve performance.
If your router has external antennas, orient them vertically to bump up coverage. If you can, it even helps to elevate the routermount it high on the wall or on the top shelf to get a better signal. There are plenty of tools to help you visualize your network coverage. We like Ekahau’s Heatmapper or MetaGeek’s inSSIDer, which show you both the weak and strong spots in your Wi-Fi network. There are plenty of mobile apps, too, such as Netgear’s WiFi Analytics.
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Tips To Get Better Wifi Signal To Your Laptop For Faster More Reliable Connectivity
Here are a few tips on how to boost the WiFi signal on your Windows laptop, MacBook or Linux laptop: