What Is A Wi
A Wi-Fi extender is the smallest, least complicated solution when looking to speed up, or beef up, your Internet signal especially if you have a single area in your home that is poorly served. Its also easier to set up and deal with, and usually the least expensive option.
A great Wi-Fi extender can also function as a wired access point you physically connect it to your primary router with Ethernet cable to get the fastest potential speeds for devices connected to your extended wireless network. This will always be the best option for performance instead of using a wireless connection as the backhaul, as its known, but not every extender supports this kind of a setup.
Extenders come in all shapes and sizes, differentiated by descriptive numbers like AC1200, Wi-Fi 6 or 802.11ax that indicate a devices potential speed. Based on the Wi-Fi technologies, protocols and extender supports, you may think youre getting a better product, but the numbers you see on the box dont tell the whole story. Even Wi-Fi extenders with identical specs can have wildly different performance, which is why our long-term testing will help you sort through the many choices.
Why Is The Connection Speed Only 54 Mbps Or Lower When Connecting An 80211n Adapter
4.1. Most 802.11n devices will experience an 80% reduction in bandwidth when using legacy WEP or WPA/TKIP security methods. The 802.11n standard specifies that high performance cannot be achieved using one of the above methods. The only exception is for devices that are not 802.11n certified.If you don’t want speed degradation, use the AES WPA2 wireless network security method or an even more secure one.
4.2. In some cases, when using an 802.11n Wi-Fi adapter and an 802.11n wireless access point, only the 802.11g standard is connected. This situation may be because the default access point has WPA2 technology with the TKIP protocol preinstalled in the wireless network security settings. Again, the recommendation is that in WPA2 settings, use the AES algorithm instead of TKIP and then connect to the access point using the 802.11n standard.
Another possible reason to connect only on 802.11g is that Autodetect mode is selected in the access point settings. If you want to establish a connection on the 802.11n standard, do not use the 802.11b/g/n autodetect mode, but manually set the connection to use only 802.11n. But remember, in that case, 802.11b/g clients will not connect to a wireless network, only clients that support 802.11n.
Improving Laptop Wifi Connection: Is It Your Isp Or Is It You
As mentioned before, the first step would be to eliminate the problems that influence connectivity performance. These can happen because of ISP issues or something related to the networking equipment in your home or office.
First of all – run an Internet speed test. If you’re paying for a certain connection speed, but the test reveals that it is much slower than advertised, then contact your ISP and see how they can help.
Another possibility you have to take into account: is your ISP throttling your connection? Here’s a guide to determine if your ISP is trying to conserve bandwidth.
Of course, there might also be some issues related to equipment that could lead to slow performance or even intermittent connectivity problems: defective devices , bad wiring or too many appliances plugged in at one time on the same circuit as wireless access points.
This is usually reflected in Internet outages and maintenance work done by the ISP. In case you don’t see any reported outage in your area, make sure you contact your provider and let them know something’s wrong.
These are the most common issues on the ISP’s side. Next – let’s see how you can improve your laptop’s WiFi connection by getting more signal to your laptop.
You May Like: How To Connect Blink Module To Wifi
What Does ‘wifi 6’ Mean
Once you start shopping for a router, youre likely to hear a lot of buzz about WiFi 6, a new technology standard that promises faster speeds, a longer range, and better support for the ever-expanding fleet of connected devices in modern homes.
Also known as 802.11ax, WiFi 6 replaces the WiFi 5 standard formerly known as 802.11ac, which debuted in 2013, and WiFi 4 , which dates back to 2009. The consortium that sets these standards announced a WiFi 6 certification program in September 2019, and a number of routers that support the standard are now available, including three models in our ratings.
But only a few internet-connected devices are currently WiFi 6- compatible. WiFi 4 and 5 devices can connect to a WiFi 6-compatible router, but they get none of the technologys speed benefits. So our experts say its fine to hold off on making the leap if you can save money on a slightly older model. If you still have a WiFi 4 router but your smartphone, TV, and laptop all support WiFi 5, get a WiFi 5 router instead, Fisco says. That will set you up for a good five years.
Get A New Wifi Router
Your WiFi speed and range heavily depend on your router. If you have an older router, it might not be able to support newer WiFi standards. For example, an 802.11n router can support speeds up to 600 Mbps, while an older 802.11g router can only support 54 Mbps.
The most common standard these days is 802.11ac, which supports speeds up to 3.4 Gbps , at least theoretically. So, if you are looking for a new router, make sure that it says 802.11ac, or wireless AC, or WiFi 5 on the box to ensure you get the fastest WiFi.
You can also check out our list of the best WiFi routers to narrow down your choices.
You May Like: 2 Wifi Networks In One House
Is Your Router A Slowpoke
If your WiFi connection is noticeably sluggish, you may be tempted to write off your current router as a dud. But dont be too hastythere may be other factors at play.
First, take a look at a bill from your ISP to see what level of broadband youre paying for. Youll need a connection of at least 25 megabits per second to stream Netflix video for 4K TV, for example. If youre not paying for that, or if you dont have access to that kind of speed where you live, a brand-new router wont help you.
You can easily run a speed test using a service like fast.com to see what youre really getting. You may want to run this test a few times. First, run it with your laptop plugged into your router to check your speed in the best-case scenario. You can then move around with your laptop to different areas of your home to see how fast WiFi is at different locations.
Next, youll want to assess the placement of your router. They tend to do best when set up in the center of a home, allowing the signal to reach out in every direction. A router tucked away in a corner may not have the range to travel to the other side of the house, or from the second floor to the basement, because the signal degrades the farther it gets from the source.
If your router is already in a central location, the slow connection might be due to obstacles in the house that can impede a WiFi signal. You can try moving the router around a room to address such problems.
Use A Mesh Network To Boost The Wifi Signal Through Walls
Like I said, I now work in an older building and there are two areas separated by a huge concrete wall which does not let the WiFi signal pass through, unless you sit right next to the wall and decide to rely on the 2.4GHz network. I said 2.4GHz because the 5GHz usually has a hard time going through walls and its far more prone to interference. This means that its less reliable in longer distances and it wont do that great radiating through objects. So, naturally, I decided to use a mesh WiFi system and create a seamless single network by relying on multiple mesh nodes. I think its been six years since I tested the Eero mesh system and since then, there have been numerous advancements in tech, most notably being the transition to the newer WiFi 6 standard.
Still, the core concept remains the same. One main unit gets connected to the Internet and the others get scattered around the house, while still communicating wirelessly. Ideally, the units should use a dedicated band for the inter-node connection and leave the other/s to the client devices. And there are various options available on the market, from dual-band to tri-band systems, those with identical units, separate types of routers that can be used in a mesh network and more.
Recommended Reading: Two Wifi Routers In One House
What Sort Of Problems Can Wifi Extenders And Boosters Solve
The following can all cause problems with WiFi signal strength
Walking from your bedroom to the kitchen considered an HIIT workout in your home? WiFi travels okay over distances up to a cool 100m in clear air but gets a lot weaker if it has lots of walls or staircases to get by. If you have a large home then a WiFi extender could help solve the lack of WiFi strength upstairs and in the rear of the accommodation.
Does your home play host to multiple internet-savvy occupants who are using multiple internet-hungry devices at the same time from all corners of the property? A communal WiFi extender will help disseminate the signal in a fair manner and avoid any confrontation.
A lot of old properties have incredibly tough walls. Understandably, WiFi finds it as hard to penetrate such walls as, so you might need to give the signal a helping hand to get round them.
Areas of a property that dont seem to get WiFi no matter how good your broadband package are known as dead zones. These can be combatted using WiFi extenders to bring those obsolete spaces a breath of digital fresh air.
Maximum Data Rate And Connection Speed Are Different Things
To begin with, many users incorrectly focus on the connection speed , which is displayed in the connection information. For example, in the Windows operating system, it is shown in the ‘Speed’ field on the ‘General’ tab of the ‘Status’ window of the wireless connection.
The wireless adapter driver displays this number. It shows what connection speed at the physical layer is currently used within the selected standard, i.e. the operating system only reports the current physical connection rate .
The actual bandwidth of the connection may be significantly lower during data transmission. The real data transfer rate depends on many factors, such as 802.11n access point settings, the distance between the client and access point, the number of wireless client adapters simultaneously connected to it, etc. The difference between the connection speed that Windows shows and actual data rates are primarily due to the amount of service data, wireless packet loss, and retransmission costs.
For information on how to check wireless network transmission rates, see the following article .
Recommended Reading: Optimum Hotspot Password
If Your Devices Are Connected To The Slower 24ghz Frequency Band You Can Probably Boost Your Performance Quite A Bit By Switching To The 5ghz Band Dave Johnson/business Insider Reposition Your Router
If your router passed the speed test but your Wi-Fi is sluggish or drops out a lot, it might just be positioned poorly. Wi-Fi signals have trouble penetrating solid materials, and certain things stop the signal cold like brick walls, metal appliances and large volumes of water, like fish tanks. In general, the best place to put your Wi-Fi router is in a central location, so it has the best chance of reaching the extremities of your home. But if you mostly need it in one part of the house and you’re having Wi-Fi trouble, consider moving it closer to where the internet action is. You might also need a mesh router or a Wi-Fi repeater, which we’ll talk about later.
Get A Stronger Antenna
Most WiFi routers come with small, weak antennas. Its not that manufacturers want to save every cent they can, but powerful WiFi antennas tend to be hideously large. Compared to the antenna that came with your router, which probably is just a few inches tall and has around 4 dB gain, a 10-dB antenna can be anywhere between 10 to 15 inches tall.
But if you dont mind the size, a new, powerful WiFi antenna is a great way how you can boost WiFi at home or office without buying a new router.
There are several different types of WiFi antennas, but the only type you need to care about is the common rubber duck antenna, which is an electrically short monopole antenna that consists of a springy wire in the shape of a narrow helix, sealed in a rubber or plastic jacket to protect the antenna.
Such antennas use the same RP-SMA connector, and there are many different models available on Amazon and other online stores. Some even come with a handy extension cable that allows you to place the antenna farther away from your router to achieve optimal signal distribution.
To boost WiFi signal, you need to purchase an antenna with more gain than your current one. The gain of an antenna system relative to an isotropic radiator at radio frequencies is expressed in dBi, or decibels relative to isotropic. Most home routers come with small antennas, whose gain tends to be between 45 dBi. Replacing such antenna with a 9 dBi antenna should provide excellent signal boost.
Recommended Reading: See Saved Wifi Password Mac
Tip #: Check For Equipment That Might Be Causing An Interference
As wireless networks utilize radio frequencies to send and receive data, theres a chance your wireless signal may be weak due to interference from equipment sending radio signals. All of the following devices can interfere with wireless signals:
- Cordless telephones
- Some satellite TV receivers
In general, wireless technology of various sorts is only increasing. This means that you likely have multiple forms of wireless equipment sending signals throughout your home. If any of that equipment is operating at the same frequency as your wireless router, interference is going to occur.
Youll know that youre dealing with a signal interference issue if any of the following are true:
- Your wireless devices consistently show low signal strength or the signal strength appears to go up and down even when youre not changing locations
- You experience a far slower internet connection when connected to Wi-Fi
- Your file transfer rates suffer when connected to Wi-Fi
- Bluetooth devices have difficulty pairing
- You regularly lose internet connection
If you believe there may be interference issues, turn off your other devices that are also sending out wireless signals, one by one. Check to see if there is a difference in the signal strength or range after you turn off each device. If you see a noticeable change after any device is turned off, youve found one of the culprits.