Here are six ways to extend Wi-Fi coverage and get a stronger wireless signal at home if your network doesn’t reach the locations you want it to.
For many people, especially those who work from home, Wi-Fi is as important as running water. It might be really aggravating when it’s slow or continually dropping out, spoiling your Zoom conversation, or interrupting your Spotify stream.
It’s possible that your situation is even worse: no signal in some areas of the house, or a connection that isn’t strong enough to view a web page, let alone verify who’s at the front door via your video doorbell.
Also, I have to say, wifi and wifi redirect are two different technologies.
Too much distance from the wireless router (wireless signals decrease with range), thick brick or stone walls, and interference from other devices are the most common causes of Wi-Fi ‘blackspots.’
There are a few options for fixing this, but it all relies on how much money you want to spend and where the issues are located. Here are the six most common techniques to increase your Wi-Fi range:
- Move your existing router to a more convenient location.
- Purchase a new, more capable router.
- Invest in a Wi-Fi mesh kit system.
- Purchase a WiFi booster or booster.
- Purchase a Wi-Fi-enabled powerline networking adapter set.
- Switch from 5GHz to 2.4GHz.
Let’s take a closer look at each of those alternatives.
Check the location of your wireless router if your residence has poor Wi-Fi upstairs. Make sure it’s out in the open (even if it’s unsightly) and, if feasible, in the center of the house, clear of impediments.
Don’t stow it away in a cupboard, on the floor, or behind the television. Try to raise it since Wi-Fi signals travel more easily over open space.
1. Adjust your router’s location
Are the aerials on your router movable? The Wi-Fi signal radiates from the antenna’s sides, and pointing up (perpendicular to the router) is usually the best way to avoid signaling into the ground or ceiling. If you have more than one antenna, you might try adjusting them to different angles to get the best coverage.
3. Upgrade to a more powerful router
If the poor or slow Wi-Fi persists despite the router being moved, consider upgrading to a better one.
802.11b, 802.11g, 802.11n, 802.11ac, and Wi-Fi 6 are the oldest to newest Wi-Fi standards. If you have an older wireless “b” or “g” router, you should upgrade to a newer model that provides a longer range and quicker connection rates.
Why not be a little cheeky and request that your ISP send you a new wireless router? If you’ve been a customer for a long time, it should be able to assist you, but be wary if it urges you to sign a new contract.
The latest Wi-Fi standard, according to popular belief, provides the best performance and range. While this is partly true, the fastest speeds come at the sacrifice of range, so you’ll get the best coverage from a router that runs on 2.4GHz rather than 5GHz. Click here for additional information.
This is where mesh Wi-Fi comes in, and it’s why we strongly advise you to purchase a kit, which can be less expensive than a single router in some circumstances.
Keep in mind that these newer Wi-Fi standards require your devices to support them as well. Instead of purchasing a new laptop, you may get a USB wireless adaptor that fits into a USB port for as little as £10. You may also install a new wireless adapter within the casing of a desktop PC or through a PC Card slot, but good luck with a Mac! Check out our list of the finest USB Wi-Fi adapters for 802.11ac.
3. Get a Wi-Fi mesh kit
A mesh network is two or more routers that work together to create considerably wider Wi-Fi coverage than a single router can ever provide, in case you missed the intro and went directly to this section. It replaces the Wi-Fi on your existing router and is simple to set up.
When you connect one of the mesh Wi-Fi kit’s units to a spare port on your existing router, it creates a new Wi-Fi network to which all of your Wi-Fi devices connect.
The second (and third, if necessary) mesh device places somewhere else in your house, commonly on a different floor or on the opposite side of your property. The devices communicate with one another to form a single super Wi-Fi network that is both strong and fast and can often extend into your garden if you have one.
In our assessment of the best Mesh Wi-Fi, we go through the distinctions between the cheapest and most costly systems, but our current top selection, the TP-Link Deco P9, mixes Wi-Fi with powerline networking for superb coverage and speed at a fair price.
4. Make use of powerline adapters
Powerline adapters are gradually being phased out and replaced with mesh Wi-Fi, but there is still a role for them – as previously stated, the Deco P9 kit employs the technology. Traditional powerline adapters, on the other hand, can be the cheapest way to expand Wi-Fi if you only require a signal in one room or even a separate building, such as a garage.
Simply put one adapter into a power outlet near your router and connect it to it with an Ethernet cable (usually supplied in the box).
Then, connect the second adapter (which must have built-in Wi-Fi) to a power outlet in the other room, such as a loft, garage, or other outbuildings. It will operate as long as any detached building receives power from the main house where the router is installed.
In most circumstances, these generate a new Wi-Fi hotspot rather than enhancing an existing wireless network, like a Wi-Fi extender does. Powerline Wi-Fi kits are more expensive than extenders, but they are more adaptable and can give quicker speeds.
5. Purchase a wireless booster
Wi-Fi extenders, also known as repeaters or boosters, amplify your Wi-Fi connection by ‘capturing’ and rebroadcasting the wireless signal from your network. Some people, understandably, ask whether they actually work: they do, but they aren’t the best solution if you require extremely fast Wi-Fi rates.
They are, however, inexpensive and simple to install. Models such as the TP TL-WA860RE Link are available for as cheap as £20 / $20. This, however, employs the older 802.11n protocol. If you want something quicker and more up-to-date, the TP-Link RE300 (802.11ac) costs around £35 / $35.
A Wi-Fi repeater can be used to amplify the signal from a router located on a different floor of a house or on the opposite side of a building.
Read here: What is Wi-Fi?
The repeater receives the radio signal from half of its internal antenna and sends a new signal with the other half, effectively halving the potential speed of the original Wi-Fi signal.
This should not be noticeable when doing normal online browsing, email, and so on, but it can be felt when moving large files around the network, such as high-definition video. That is why we choose Powerline for more difficult tasks. However, you may find that it is still adequate for watching Netflix or YouTube.
As indicated in the figure above, a Wi-Fi extender should be put in a central area, not too far away from the main router. If you place the repeater at the far end of your primary network in the hopes of boosting the signal, you will limit the speed of your connection to the rest of the network and the internet.
Keep in mind that the amplifier only enhances the signal. If it is installed in an area where WiFi is already weak, it will send out a weak signal. If you put it in a place with a lot of WiFi, the signal will be stronger.
A range extender should be situated halfway between your main router and the desired wireless devices, preferably in an open corridor or large room rather than a crowded area. Cordless phones, Bluetooth gadgets, and microwave ovens are examples of possibly interfering devices.
6. Use 2.4GHz Wi-Fi rather than 5GHz Wi-Fi
Wi-Fi can operate on either the 2.4GHz or 5GHz frequency bands. Many people believe the latter is superior because it provides faster speeds.
This, however, comes at a cost: range. The shorter the wavelength, the higher the frequency. And, unlike 2.4GHz waves, 5GHz signals cannot penetrate walls, ceilings, desks, or, yes, people. In fact, this is why 5G promises such fast speeds: it uses far higher frequencies, known as millimeter waves, but these signals have a difficult time passing through glass, trees, and even rain.
Here’s how to figure out which of my Wi-Fi networks is which
2.4GHz, on the other hand, is better at transmitting a signal over a longer distance at slower speeds. As a result, forcing your phone or laptop to connect to your router’s 2.4GHz network may allow you to obtain a better range from it. Many routers amalgamate the two frequencies into a single network name. This is done for your convenience, but it means you won’t be able to choose which network to connect to.
If this is the case with your router, go to the settings page and look for a Wi-Fi menu where you may split the two frequencies into two independent network names.
It’s important to remember that 2.4GHz devices are competing with other devices that use this frequency, such as microwaves, baby monitors, Bluetooth, and others.
These can cause interference, reducing the speed and range of a Wi-Fi connection. The wider your desired range, the less speed you can have; the more your desired speed, the more you must reduce interference and work closer to an access point.
So your mileage may vary, but understanding the differences between Wi-Fi bands is important because you may use them to your advantage.
To avoid interference, we offer a detailed step-by-step explanation of how to alter the channel your router uses.