Equipped with a wireless router from your ISP, most Wi-Fi networks are usually pretty effective. For home setups, a quality router is usually more than enough to run a decent network. After all, even your closest neighbors can usually see your wireless network. There are, of course, exceptions.
If you live in a very large house, or your ISP has placed your router in an odd place, such as a closet, your Wi-Fi signal may not reach all parts of the house properly. When it comes to streaming media, a weak Wi-Fi signal leads to high lag and choppy videos.
Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to boost your WiFi signal strength. Here are some of my top recommendations for improving weak Wi-Fi. Please note that this article is specifically about Wi-Fi, not your Internet connection.
If you have a slow internet connection, check out my article for many ways to improve your internet speed.
Use the latest WiFi protocol
Wireless AC has pretty much become the standard, but if you haven’t upgraded to a wireless AC router yet and are still using Wireless G or N, you might want to consider upgrading. AC wireless has proven to be a much more efficient technology that not only provides longer Wi-Fi range but also improves signal strength and stability.
Of course, an AC wireless router will be most effective with AC wireless devices. If you’re using a new device with a built-in wireless card, such as a laptop, check which wireless protocol it supports.
It is also worth noting that after AC there will be AD, AH, AJ, AX, and so on. You don’t have to use the latest protocol, but you also don’t want to lag behind multiple protocols. Wireless N and AC also support MIMO, which allows for multiple antennas.
Get a dual-band router
You may have noticed that some routers offer a feature called dual band. This means it supports both 2.4GHz and 5GHz networks. So what’s the difference? 5 GHz allows you to operate at much faster speeds than 2.4 GHz, but at a shorter distance.
A dual band router can be useful because you get faster speeds when you get closer to the router, but you can switch to a 2.4 GHz network when you are further away as 2.4 GHz signals can travel further and travel through more walls. Unfortunately, you basically have to manually switch between these two networks.
Contact your ISP
Since most people use the default router provided by their ISP, it’s a good idea to make sure you have the best one. Most ISPs will install a cheaper router with less speed and fewer features and then try to convince you to upgrade later.
If you subscribe to a service, you can usually get them to provide you with the best router before subscribing to them. If you are already a customer, you can always try to threaten to leave. Unfortunately, to get the best router, you usually have to pay a monthly fee or buy it in advance.
However, if you buy a router in advance, never buy one from an ISP. Instead, head over to Amazon or eBay and buy there. You can always call a specialist who will install the router if you are not comfortable doing it yourself.
Use a cable signal booster
If you have cable Internet, several factors can affect the actual signal strength of the cable from the cable company to your home. If you live in a busy area with a lot of households, the actual cable power your home receives may not be optimal. Other than that, things like splitters that allow you to plug in a cable in every room tend to weaken the signal, and the more splitters you have, the weaker the signal.
A cable signal booster can help improve the signal on your home Wi-Fi network by acting as a booster. Essentially, these devices look and function like regular coaxial splitters. However, they are designed for the most efficient distribution of cable signals. Cable amplifiers will also improve the signal strength of your TV.
Router Optimization & Firmware Update
This is pretty much a matter of course, but it’s always best to have the most recent firmware for your wireless router. As technology changes, firmware updates are required to keep the router operating at peak performance.
You should also tweak your router’s settings for maximum performance. For example, if you get a lot of noise, you can change channels. In most cases it is set to Auto, but sometimes it’s worth setting it up manually. For tips on firmware and configuration, it is best to consult your router’s user manual.
For the best Wi-Fi coverage, place your wireless router in the center of your home. It should also be placed not too close to the floor, but not too close to the ceiling. Wi-Fi signals travel laterally, and most of the time, Wi-Fi devices such as laptops are used at the midpoint of the home. For example, you usually sit on the couch with your laptop; you are not lying on the floor (most of the time) or standing on the stairs.
Use multi-router network setup
All the methods mentioned above still won’t help you if you live in a very large house and the distances are too great, even for the latest wireless protocol with MIMO technology. In such cases, you will probably need to install a second router.
This could be a wireless extender / repeater, a wireless bridge, or just a second wireless router. I’ve already written about setting up a second separate network using a second wireless router, but you can also add a second router to the same network.
For example, if you have a Verizon FIOS, you can purchase another identical router and configure it as a MoCA LAN bridge. You can configure a second router with the same WLAN ID and password so that devices connect to the closer router.
Buy a WiFi system
There are many companies selling Wi-Fi systems these days. These are mainly wireless mesh networks. They include several identical routers that you plug in at different locations in your home.
The main advantage of these systems is that they configure and communicate with each other automatically. This makes them much easier to set up, and you can add as many devices as you like to expand the range of your wireless network.
Eero. is one example of a Wi-Fi system. Comes with three access points for about $ 500. You can control and customize everything through the app and it takes half an hour to set up. Of course, you lose all the flexibility and control you have when buying a traditional router.
Another company I know is Open-Mesh. Fortunately, consumers can buy it too, and it’s great for living spaces. Again, these are much more expensive solutions, but in the end you will be a happy tourist.
Add WiFi Booster Antenna
Depending on the specific model of your WiFi router, it may be compatible with the optional WiFi booster antenna. Wi-Fi antennas seem to have mixed customer reviews, but for about 50% of people they are worth it. WiFi booster antennas work on the same concept as the retractable antennas on old boomboxes. While the default antenna may be built-in or minimal, a separate WiFi antenna can help improve WiFi network signals.
Use the Powerline Adapter
Some people simply cannot get a wireless signal in a certain part of the house. Perhaps the wall is made of a material that blocks Wi-Fi, so nothing other than a direct cable connection will work. You can always try connecting a network or coaxial line to this location, but if that is not possible, a Powerline adapter may be a good alternative.
There’s nothing special about speed, but it’s definitely better than nothing. You basically plug them into the wall, one place where your router is and another where you need an Ethernet connection. Most have only one Ethernet port, but some, like the Actiontec port described above, have multiple ports for connecting multiple devices.
Disable other devices
If you use gadgets heavily and have many devices connected throughout your home such as cameras, phones, monitors, IOT devices, etc., it might be worth turning off some devices to check for any interference.
Other devices, such as microwave ovens, can also interfere, so try to keep the router away from any other electronic devices.
Using any of the above methods should help strengthen your Wi-Fi network, and using a combination of methods should dramatically improve the efficiency of Wi-Fi in your home. Are there any other good ways to help improve WiFi signals? Let us know in the comments! Enjoy!