Install A Wifi Range Extender
One way to attain complete WiFi coverage throughout your home is to install a range extender. A range extender increases WiFi coverage by connecting to your existing WiFi router and creating a separate WiFi network that has its own name and security credentials.
While wifi extender will work, they are not without their complexities and limitations. First, because a range extender has its own security credentials, your devices must constantly log into the range extender and then back into the router as you roam around your home. Second, the range extender cannot communicate simultaneously with your router and all your devices. This cuts transmission capacity in half, because the available bandwidth is shared by the range extender, the router, and all the connected devices. Overall WiFi performance, therefore, takes a significant hit with this method.
Upgrade Your Router To 80211ac Or 80211ax
One of the easiest Wi-Fi signal boosts is a router upgrade. If you are still using an older 802.11g or 802.11n router, your Wi-Fi performance is lacking. The older Wi-Fi standards, running on older routers, do not have the same power or signal throughput as a modern router using the latest 802.11ac Wi-Fi standard.
Perhaps the most significant difference between the old standards and the newer 802.11ac standard is the data throughput across similar transmission distances. For instance:
- 802.11n, released in 2009, can broadcast around 600Mbps over a maximum range of 300 feet outdoors, and approximately 150 feet indoors. Whereas,
- 802.11ac, released in 2014, can broadcast at around 1.13Gbps over a similar range.
The difference is night and day.
Changing Your Wifi Channel For Faster Speeds
Switching your WiFi channel can also lead to faster speeds. Often, especially in apartment buildings, modem-router WiFi signals can overlap and interfere with each other, causing slower speeds and dropouts at times. A simple solution to this is to just change the channel.
Just go into the backend of your modem-router and switch the channel to a different number. Consider trying different channels to find the fastest one. This is an easy and cheap solution, although it might not solve the problem.
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Block Specific Devices With Mac Filtering
If youd rather not nuke your network entirely, you can block specific devices with a feature called MAC Address Filtering. It isnt a particularly effective security setting, since its easy to bypass, but itll work for our purposes.
Again, youll have to hunt around for this setting, but on my Asus router, it was under the Wireless MAC Filter tab in the Wireless section of the settings. Turn the MAC filter on, and youll likely be given a choice: you can either allow certain devices, blocking all others, or block certain devices, allowing all others. Since its 2021 and you probably have more than a couple Wi-Fi devices in your house, the Reject or Block setting is probably the best.
To block a certain device, youll need to know its MAC addressa 12-digit number unique to that specific device. You can find a devices MAC address by checking your routers list of connected devices, which might be under the Network Map,Client List, or similarly named option. Itll match MAC addresses to conventional names like Jacks iPhone.
Sometimes, these names are difficult to understandmany Windows computers have names like DESKTOP-BD0GFITso you may need to do some extra digging with third-party software to get more information on a given device. For example, you may not know whether your daughters laptop is DESKTOP-BD0GFIT or DESKTOP-SE8WDRE, but if you can determine which is the Dell and which is the HP, you can figure out which MAC address belongs to her.
Check Your Routers Manual
Some routers have repeater functionality built in, while others need customer firmware. Find out from your routers manual to see if its possible to use a second wireless router to repeat the wi-fi signal or use it as a bridge.
Want some more help with your home network? Our friendly tech team can help you with one-to-one support on a range of tech issues. Find out more here.
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Benefits And Downsides Of Connecting Routers
As said, the second router increases the wireless range, and you can even daisy-chain a few routers using the same method. But you should know that your internet speed might suffer, especially if you have only one outbound connection.
At the same time, two routers on the same network allow you to access all your shared files throughout the network. You can move, copy, and paste files, or play music, movies, and pictures on any computer or mobile device thats connected.
However, file sharing comes with some security concerns. Anyone who has access to your wireless network can access the files as well. More connected devices translate to more security risks, which is why its important to install antivirus software.
Where Can I Get Help With A Wifi Extender
If you purchase a WiFi extender from TP-Link or another CenturyLink partner, or from an outside source, you will need to get help directly from the manufacturer. You can usually search for the model name/number online to find user guides and online support options. Or contact technical support for that company.
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Kick Out Wifi Intruders
Security can be an issue with WiFi, especially when we only had WEP passwords, which were notoriously easy to break. Now we have WPA2 passwords, which are much more robust, but it might be worth checking there are no unwanted WiFi piggybackers clogging up your signal. If your neighbour is using your signal to download 4K videogames then your lazy-evening stream of Netflix is going to suffer.
If you have good broadband speed, very few devices connected to your WIFi signal and the device your using is bang up to date but still running very slow, somebody might be piggybacking your signal.
You will need to go about this differently depending on the manufacturer of your router. So check with the user documentation given by your provider or ring them for assistance. At Virgin Media we would be happy to help in such an instance.
You need to check your router logs for a record of any devices that are connecting and disconnecting from your network. Most commonly, routers will show these connections by MAC address. Printers, laptops, TVs, handheld devices and smartphones will all have a unique 12-character field MAC address, each character being a hexadecimal .
Check the user documentation of all your devices to find their unique MAC address and look at your logs to find any devices that shouldnt be there.
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. That’s why you might be able to get better range from your router by forcing your phone or laptop to connect to your router’s 2.4GHz network. Many routers combine the two frequencies into one network name. That’s done for convenience, but it means you can’t 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.
It’s 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.
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Buy A Wifi Repeater/ Booster/ Extender
Even though they are referred to by many names, WiFi boosters, repeaters, and extenders are basically the same thing.
WiFi repeaters are relatively simple devices that take an existing signal from your WiFi router and rebroadcast it as a new network. This new network is just an extension of your main network, and all data that go through it also go through the main network.
WiFi boosters and extenders are very similar, but they also amplify the existing signal before rebroadcasting it to create a second network. Because WiFi boosters typically have greater range than WiFi repeaters, they make sense in situations where the original signal is very weak.
A good repeater or booster costs less than $100, and it can be installed in a few minutes by anyone since the installation process usually involves only the press of the WPS button. You can find a list of the top 5 WiFi boosters at the end of this article.
To achieve the best performance when using a WiFi repeater or booster, its a good idea to use a WiFi booster app to analyze existing WiFi coverage and determine the optimal way how to extend the existing WiFi network.
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To change the password, look for an option that is typically nested under the Administration tab. The screen will likely ask for your current router password and then ask you to enter a new password.
As you create the new password, remember the usual recommendations for creating a secure password. Use one thats not too difficult for you to remember but complex enough so its not easy to guess. A passphrase, which uses a combination of easy-to-remember words, is also a good option.
Just be sure to remember the new password so you don’t have to struggle to think of it or ultimately reset the router in the future. Your routers firmware may also ask you to set up security questions and answers, another handy way to prove your identity. Youll then have to apply the settings and log back into your router.
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Does Wifi Go Through Walls
In theory, Wi-Fi signals are capable of passing through walls and other obstacles relatively easily. However, in reality, some walls are thicker or use reinforced concrete and may block some of the signals. Materials such as drywall, plywood, other kinds of wood and glass can be easily penetrated by wireless signals.
How Do I Know If I Need A Range Extender
Plug-in range extenders are a good fit when you need to boost the signal in a single dead zone. If you have more than one dead zone in your home where the speeds plummet, then you might be better off just upgrading to a good mesh router .
The best way to figure out how many dead zones you’re dealing with is to grab your phone or a laptop and run some speed tests in each room where you need to use the internet. Start with a fresh connection to your network in the same room as the router, and then pull up a good speed-testing site . Run at least three speed tests in the room, jot the download and upload results down for each one, then move to the next room and repeat.
Once you have average speeds for each room, look for spots where your speeds fall below 30% of whatever ISP speeds you’re paying for each month. Those are the rooms that could use a boost — if it’s just one , then a single range extender might be all you need. If there are more than one, then maybe mesh is the way to go.
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The Capacity Of Your Router
Sometimes the problem lies with the source of the signal. Some routers cannot broadcast the signals for a long range. Long-range routers such as ASUS RT-AC88U will give you wider coverage as compared to other poorly-performing routers.
The capacity of the router in terms of hardware and software will determine the range that the router can support. In this case, some routers range can be increased by getting high-performance antennas.
Add Signal Strength With A Wi
A Wi-Fi repeater is a second type of Wi-Fi booster. This piece of hardware actually has 2 wireless routers one to grab your existing network and a second which takes that signal to create an enhanced network with a bigger coverage area. To work well, the Wi-Fi repeater should be placed in a spot that already receives a strong signal say, in the mudroom where it picks up the network from a router in the kitchen. The repeater can then increase the network strength to a deck so that you can work at home if the weather is nice. One tradeoff: the signal is generally strong with a Wi-Fi repeater but the bandwidth may decrease, so response time may lag a bit.
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Reduce Or Eliminate The Wi
Having so many people using your network reduces the Wi-Fi performance in your home. You will experience lags when using gaming consoles or video streaming devices. This is because these are some of the internet intense activities.
You can easily eliminate the Wi-Fi leeches by changing the password and using a strong password. A strong password can have the following features:
- Is a mix of small letters and capital letters
- Has a number in it
- It has at least 8 characters
- Has a special character such as !, #, $, & among others
- The password is not very common like year and date of birth or numbers/ digits following each other on the keyboard for example qwerty01 or 12345678
- Dont include your name or the name of your children, your pet or mobile number in the password because it is easy to guess them
- The password should not be noted in a piece of paper or diary
Once the password is created, do not share it with lots of people. However, for people with many guests, get a router that gives you the ability to set guest network Wi-Fi.
Removing WiFi network parasites is a good way of how to boost WiFi signal without an antenna change.
Ways To Boost Your Wi
Check out these quick tips to boost your wireless signal from your router, extend and optimize your Wi-Fi coverage, and speed up your surfing.
Browsing slowing to a crawl, the inability to stream, dropped Wi-Fi signals, wireless dead zonesevery one of these problems is maddening in a world where getting online has become, for some, as necessary as breathing.
If you feel like your Wi-Fi has gotten sluggish, there are many tools you can use to test the speed of your internet. There are also a few tricks you can try to troubleshoot your network issues. However, if the only way you can get decent reception is by standing next to your wireless router, these simple tips can help optimize your network.
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