- As router technology advances, the signal range has declined due to a switch from 2.4 GHz bands to the narrower 5 GHz bands.
- Boosting your Wi-Fi signal can be achieved by switching channels, buying a new router, moving the router, or using a range extender or wireless access point.
- A wired connection can be a reliable alternative for high-demand devices like game consoles.
Sometimes a router’s Wi-Fi signal needs a boost. You may need to do this after replacing a router. As router technology advances and speeds increase, the signal range has declined. A switch from 2.4 GHz bands to the narrower 5 GHz bands is to blame.
As a result, laptops, tablets, and even game consoles may no longer connect to your network. Even if the devices connect, they may struggle to maintain a connection and hamper speeds. This is where boosting your signal is vital, ensuring your devices stay connected.
Step 1: Perform a Speed Test
Before making changes to a network, you’ll want to perform a speed test. This provides a benchmark for any changes you make, ensuring you don’t worsen things. You can perform a speed test using a phone or tablet.
On any web browser, go to SpeedTest.net and click “Go.” The test will take a few minutes, but once complete, write down the results or take a screenshot. Ensure you perform subsequent speed tests with the same device and location. To better understand how far your Wi-Fi goes, perform multiple speed tests throughout your home.
Step 2: Switch Channels
Next, try changing the channel your network operates on. Type 192.168.1.1 on an internet browser to manage your network settings. From there, you will need to go to the Wi-Fi settings and find the channels listing. Most people do not change their Wi-Fi channel and use default settings.
This is a major problem if you are in an apartment building or have close neighbors using the same channels. Because there is no way to confirm this, go ahead and change the channels to a different random number. Once done, save the changes and wait for the router to reset, then see if there is any noticeable difference.
Step 3: Buy a New Router
A potentially controversial option to boost your Wi-Fi signal is simply buying a new router. You may not need a new router if the existing one is still new. However, you should buy a new router if yours uses outdated protocols. Older 802.11g routers need replacing, but newer 802.11n routers may still function well enough.
Newer 802.11ac and 802.11ax routers perform significantly better. You have a myriad of options. So, try to get the latest and best one you can afford. You can buy a mesh router system that relies on numerous devices spread throughout the home if possible.
Step 4: Move the Router
If buying a new router is off the table, or you bought a new router but see no improvement, then you should move your router. This is easier said than done, depending on your home’s wiring. However, you should place the router in the center of your home for even coverage.
You don’t need to move the modem. Simply run an ethernet cable from the modem to the router’s new location. Before running wires, try moving the router to see if the new location will make a difference. Multi-story and large homes may require a range extender or a wireless access point.
Step 5: Get a Range Extender
Getting a range extender is the easiest way to boost a Wi-Fi signal. Unlike adding a repeater or access point, range extenders don’t require extra wiring. This makes it a perfect solution for renters who cannot add new wiring for an access point. Similarly, it is excellent for those without tools to run wires or anyone who doesn’t want to go through the hassle.
Range extenders come with a simple setup guide that generally entails plugging the device into an electrical outlet. Then, you connect it to your existing network, where it can pick up a signal. Finally, the range extender outputs the signal. The main drawback is you must place it in an area with a Wi-Fi signal.
Step 6: Add a Wireless Access Point
Adding an access point is another drastic method of boosting your Wi-Fi signal. However, it is also the most effective. An access point is similar to a router, but instead of directing connections to specific devices, it only repeats the router’s wireless signal. Access points are common in commercial buildings where a centrally located router cannot reach the entire building.
Access points are distinctly different than a router, but you can also use a router as an access point. Repurposing an old router as an access point is easy but requires changing a couple of settings. Additionally, you can purchase an actual access point, but it may cost more than a router. Finally, you must run an ethernet cable from your current router to the access point.
Step 7: Go Wired
The final and perhaps most controversial option is to add a wired connection. This is like cheating since the end goal is to boost Wi-Fi. Anyway, it is an excellent choice for specific devices, particularly in offices where you’ll need an internet connection for a computer. This way, you will never need to worry about poor Wi-Fi signals again.
Similarly, a wired connection will benefit high-demand devices like game consoles. The downside is that specific devices, like mobile phones, cannot connect to a wired connection. Additionally, running ethernet cables is expensive, especially if you can’t do it yourself. The benefit is that once an ethernet connection is established, you can connect to a wireless access point later.
Check out the video below from Trusted Reviews for easy tips on improving your Wi-Fi signal. The most common fix for slow Wi-Fi is turning your router off and on. If that doesn’t work, there are other steps you can take to get your Wi-Fi up to speed.
Boost Signal Strength Versus Increasing Speed
When your Internet is a little slow, your first instinct is probably to call the Internet service provider. But that may not fix the problem if your signal is weak. Raising your internet speed only increases the connection speed coming into your home. Meaning a slow or inefficient router will cause your network to bottleneck.
Similarly, a poorly placed or broken router may be the culprit. A good way to determine the problem is to perform a speed test with a wired connection. That way, you can deduce where the problem lies. If you have good Wi-Fi coverage, but your Internet is still lagging, contact your Internet service provider to inquire about raising speeds.
|Perform a Speed Test
|Buy a New Router
|Move the Router
|Get a Range Extender
|Add a Wireless Access Point
The image featured at the top of this post is ©Thapana_Studio/Shutterstock.com.