10 Tips How To Boost Wi-Fi Signal
I will try to explain some simple ways how to boost Wi-Fi signal. The most easiest way is to buy a new router. But what if you already bought the coolest one? Or you do not have enough money for it? Then there are several ways, with minimal cost to you. Yes, in some cases it will be necessary to get into the settings and “do some hacker work”, or spend some extra money on additional equipment, but basically, these are exclusively “free” tips.
1: Set the Antenna Correctly
How does a Wi-Fi signal from an omnidirectional action antenna spread in space? I immediately want to assume that the access point is the center, and the signal from it goes in all directions according to the type of rays. Based on such ideas, we get a sphere form that covers all room space, and at the same time, the floor where this room is located, as well as the upper and lower floors.
In fact, this is not like that at all. Wi-Fi coverage is a toroidal field. Its shape resembles a donut whose axis is an omnidirectional antenna. The direction of the Wi-Fi signal spread depends on which route the antenna is directed.
How to properly position the router antenna? To select the optimal position of the antenna within the floor, it must be placed at a right angle so that it is strictly perpendicular to the floor. As a result, the radio waves will run parallel to the floor. Thanks to this, the waves will be able to cover the entire area that the user needs.
2: Correctly Place the Router
One of the main reasons for poor coverage is the incorrect location of the router. Since the antenna spreads radio waves in all directions from itself, the strongest signal is near the router. But the farther from the network device, the wi-fi is weaker. At the edge of the coverage zone, the signal completely becomes “no”, and it is interrupted.
If you put the router against the wall, part of the radiation will go outside the building, but the corners of the room remote from the router will remain almost uncoated.
The location of the Wi-Fi router in the apartment, in the very center of the room, is ideal. This solution allows the electric wave to spread in all directions parallel to the floor. As a result, the presence of dead zones is virtually eliminated.
Unfortunately, in practice, it is almost impossible to place the router in the middle of the apartment, house, office. The reasons for this are the lack of outlets, problems with laying the cable, complicated layout.
How can you get out of the situation? Very simple: you need to place the router as close to the center of the room as possible. Coverage will still be much better than if the device was in the corridor or in the corner against the wall.
Improper router location is the main reason for poor coverage.
Near the router, the signal is the strongest, and the farther, the weaker. At the edge of the zone, the signal becomes completely weak.
Placing the router in the center of the room will allow the electric wave to disperse in all directions parallel to the floor, virtually eliminating dead zones.
3: Provide Direct Visibility of the Signal
In his personal diaries of how to get a good wifi connection, Captain Nemo repeatedly noted that walls and partitions are the main obstacles to a Wi-Fi signal. In addition to walls, any shielding barrier with metal content can become a serious obstacle to a Wi-Fi signal ‒ most often it is a mirror, an aquarium, or a steel statue of Darth Vader.
Demolition of all the walls in the apartment is the best solution to all your problems, but this is troublesome, yes. It’s easier to think about finding the optimal placement point for the signal source. Your wireless router should be as close as possible to the center of the room and not lie on the floor but should be placed at least a meter from the floor.
Wi-Fi signal strength is affected by obstacles. The radio wave, which operates at a frequency of 2.4 GHz, has relatively small diffraction since it is a quite short range with the router. Tens of centimeters, which is the length of such a radio wave, are not enough to go around the classic obstacles of the room: walls, furniture, appliances.
For this reason, when the signal passes from the router to the connected device through the walls and the above objects, the energy is partially absorbed and partially reflected. Only the remnants of the signal reach the addressee ‒ the device connected to the wifi file.
How much the obstacle absorbs depends on the material from which it is made. Most decibels absorb concrete and load-bearing walls ‒ 20-25. The effective distance ‒ the percentage value of the radius of the wave after it passes the obstacle ‒ in this case, is 15%.
Why do you need to know this? Now let’s figure it out.
The Wi-Fi standard that arose back in 2009, 802.11n, is capable of covering an area with a radius of 400 meters without obstacles. Now let’s calculate what signal level will reach the client device through obstacles. Suppose a user has installed a router in the bedroom but wants to sit on the Internet from a telephone in the kitchen.
What distance can the router cover if the wave has to travel as many as three walls? To do this, you need to consistently multiply the “clean” coverage area by the percentage of effective distance.
- First wall 400 meters * 15% = 60 meters
- Second wall 60 meters * 15% = 9 meters
- Third wall 9 meters * 15% = 1.35 meters
What does this mean? Unfortunately, in the kitchen, the device will not be able to catch the network, because the signal simply will not reach there.
It is possible to calculate where the dead zones will be with the help of such calculations. It is also worth considering that metal structures, as well as mirrors, do not pass the radio signal at all. Therefore, if such objects stand in the way of network deployment, dead zones will form behind them.
4: Eliminate Sources of Interference
Not only objects but also other wireless signals can interfere with the Wi-Fi signal. So, the public frequency, which is used to work on all devices via Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, is 2.4 GHz. Although the bandwidth of Bluetooth is small, it is still capable of causing interference that prevents the access point from working stably.
A microwave can also interfere with a signal spread. This applies to furnaces that use a magnetron for operation. It also operates in the frequency range of 2.4 gigahertz. The magnetron radiation is so strong that it is completely knocked out of the microwave’s protective shield. As a result, the signal from the wireless network is fully illuminated.
What to do? There is only one conclusion: either do not put the router next to the microwave oven or put up with the fact that when the microwave works, the devices will not be able to catch the Wi-Fi signal.
5: Disable Unnecessary Communication Protocols
In the admin panel of the router, in the settings, you can select the modes with which the created access point will work and boost your wifi signal. Wi-Fi b and g standards give a low speed for receiving / transmitting data. They have a shorter range. A slightly more modern mode of operation of routers “n” is able to provide data transfer rates of up to 150 Mbps. In ac mode, the router can transfer up to several gigabits per second. Of course, their distance is also greater.
You can switch the router to a faster mode, but provided that the router and other devices connected to the wireless network support high-speed standards.
Typically, network equipment uses mixed mode: b / g / n / ac. This ensures that the router is compatible with devices that support older Wi-Fi standards.
But there is a catch: if there is an old laptop or smartphone on the network, then it will transmit data via its own channels, for example, g or n. During the transition to another mode, a change in modulation occurs. Therefore, the range of the signal, as well as its speed, decreases. If you remove the mixed mode, leaving only high-speed, there will be no modulation. However, older devices that support another network will not be able to work with it.
Nevertheless, if the user has only one such device, you can purchase a wireless adapter that supports the modern standard. Another solution is to connect the device to the network via an Ethernet cable.
6: Switch to Another Channel
When you started a network search, you probably noticed more than once that a couple more, or even a dozen other people’s Wi-Fi signals walked around your apartment. For some reason, few people think that other people’s networks operate in the same frequency range as yours, and this is not good.
If the user installs the router in an apartment building or office, then one of the best methods to increase the Wi-Fi coverage area will be to select another channel.
The fact is that networks that operate at the same frequency form interference. They look like circles on the water. These disturbances interfere with each other.
Wi-Fi works on various channels within its range. There are about 13 such channels in total and the router switches between them. Yes, it can automatically find the maximum free channel, but it doesn’t always cope with it qualitatively.
The way out is to determine which channel the router works on, and change it to the most unoccupied manually.
How to boost your wifi signal:
- Download and install a special program on your PC: there are many free versions in stores.
- Find the freest channel and write it on a piece of paper.
- Go to your router settings through the administration panel.
- Find channels.Enter the desired “free” in the appropriate field.
- You will have to do this manually.
- Save changes to settings
Owners of dual-band routers that can operate at frequencies of 2.4 and 5 GHz can switch to the second, less busy frequency. More on this is in the description of the 10th method.
7: Adjust the Transmitter Power
Omni-directional antennas of routers do not work on the principle: the more powerful, the further. For them, not only power matters but also feedback from the client adapter.
Otherwise, the sense in receiving and transmitting data is lost: even if the device is connected to the access point, no action will be taken to exchange data using wi-fi.
This effect is called asymmetry. The router recognizes and transmits data to the device, and the network device does not respond since a wireless adapter with a short-range is integrated into it.
The effect of asymmetry can be eliminated. To do this, go to the settings of the router through your account. By default, the maximum power is set. The user needs to reduce it by one.
It is also worth considering that the maximum Wi-Fi signal level set in the settings can degrade the quality of feedback from network devices that are located next to the router. The fact is that the radio signal will be so strong that it drowns out the weaker signal produced by the adapter.
8: Changing the Antenna
In low-cost router models, antennas are installed by default, whose gain is 3 dB. Of course, the antenna, in principle, is not able to increase the flow power on its own. But you can increase its ratio. Then the radiation pattern will change and the signal will spread further.
This can be compared with the light mode of the flashlight. So, the dipped beam mode is a wide beam that illuminates a large space. But the main beam mode is a narrow beam that hits pointwise, but further.
Given this, it becomes clear that as soon as the coefficient increases, the radio signal will spread to a further distance. But in this case, the coverage area will narrow: it may turn out that the Wi-Fi signal closer to the ceiling and the floor completely disappears. Perhaps lying on the couch, sticking to social networks, will not work.
If, the user still decided to put the antenna with a higher gain than the antenna of his router ‒ this is not a problem. The SMA connector is the standard for connecting such accessories, so choosing and buying the right model for your router is an easy way of how to extend a wireless network.
9: Install Repeaters
Installing repeaters requires additional financial investments, but this is a great option to boost your wifi signal. It is almost indispensable for places with a large area. It will also be useful for buildings with a complex layout.
As a repeater, which is able to expand the coverage area of Wi-Fi, you can use not only a special device ‒ a Wi-Fi repeater. The role of such a Wi-Fi network extender can be assumed by a second router that supports WDS technology. Each option has its own characteristics.
So, if you use a special repeater, this device connects to the access point and repeats its data. Then the device creates a new point with a different radio signal. The Wi-Fi signal will be strong and stable throughout the room.
If the router appears in the local network, working in WDS mode, then you will be able to generate a “seamless” Wi-Fi. The access point in this case will be one for the entire coverage area. This option has a drawback: the speed of data exchange will decrease by a couple of times. So if speed is a priority, it’s best to buy a repeater.
Note: modern tablets, smartphones, and other devices are equipped with the function of “smart Wi-Fi” ‒ roaming. Thanks to it, the device automatically reconnects to the access point, whose signal is stronger. The connection is not interrupted.
10: Go to the 5 GHz Signal
To go to such a range, you need a router that supports it. Using this router boost method, you can significantly increase the speed of reception/transmission. The new frequency is a real salvation for offices and apartments, where the air is clogged with neighboring radio waves on a more standard 2.4 GHz range.
Go to five gigahertz in the settings of the router. In this case, the coverage area will increase, and the signal will increase. But it is worth considering that moving the router to a different range is convenient if all other devices connected to the wireless network also support a frequency of 5 GHz.
Bonus: Procedure for Improving Coverage
The main thing in improving the Wi-Fi signal is to determine what territory the coverage should cover:
- Rooms located on the same plane ‒ it is enough to correctly place the router.
- Rooms located on several floors ‒ you can work with antennas: try changing their slope. However, most likely, you will have to purchase at least one repeater per floor.
- Complex layout ‒ clearly requires the installation of a repeater.
Further, actions depend on the capabilities of the network equipment. Owners of dual-band routers and devices with the same adapters can change 2.4 GHz to 5 gigahertz. If the router supports only one range or the user has many devices that do not work on five gigahertz, you can find a more free channel and reconnect the router to it.
If the methods listed in the article, including power adjustment and replacing the antennas, do not work, then you can rearrange the router and furniture. The most convenient option, in this case, is to purchase a repeater or use a second router as it.
You can increase Wi-Fi coverage by various methods: from rearranging the router to acquiring a repeater. All methods are reduced to eliminating dead zones, providing high-quality feedback from network clients with minimal loss of speed. By combining the options for increasing coverage, you can achieve the spread of the signal to the maximum possible area without loss in speed.