Wi-Fi is a great convenience, and many people take it for granted. But what if you can’t get Wi-Fi in your home? Or worse, your Internet connection cuts out while you’re trying to do work? Installing an extender or access point may be the answer. Let’s look at how to improve the wireless Wi-Fi network range.
What are the best ways to extend the wireless range?
1. Move the Access Point
If possible, move your access point (AP) closer to where you want better coverage. For example, if you need better reception in a room on one side of the house but not on another side, move it near that room so that its signal will reach more effectively there than elsewhere around your house.
2. Add Power Boosters
If your AP has an external antenna jack or the ability to plug in a power amplifier, you can use it for additional Wi-Fi coverage. It’s best to use a directional amplifier (like the ones made by Linksys) so that you can aim it towards the spots where coverage is weak. Note that this option will not help if your Wi-Fi signal is too strong in some areas and too weak in others – such as if microwave ovens are interfering with 2.4 GHz wireless signals, but no other part of your house needs better signal strength.
3. Add Access Points
In general, adding access points works well when they support different channels than your primary AP does. For example, if you placed your AP on channel 6 and get better coverage by going to channel 11, you could buy a second access point and put it nearby but set to use the channel that works best for your main AP. Then these two access points would work together (known as “mesh” networking). Suppose you have a router that supports multiple SSIDs. In that case, you could also set up two different networks with different encryption methods and slightly different channels to not interfere with each other.
4. Change Your Router
You might be able to change the channels used by your wireless network or improve its ability to switch between channels automatically to avoid interference from microwave ovens or cordless phones. This option requires knowing more than we can explain in this article, however.
5. Upgrade Your Router
You might be able to improve wireless coverage by upgrading your router. For instance, if you have an old 802.11g router and a newer 802.11n computer, but the two are not compatible with each other, then there’s no reason to keep using that older router. In this case, you can replace it with one that is more recent or supports higher speeds like 802.11ac (especially if you know somebody who would give you their older model).
Or if your current network equipment is too old for what newer computers support now (especially Mac computers), then try replacing at least the wireless “access point” part of it with something more unique that supports better encryption methods and faster communication speeds than before. Some older routers don’t support all the encryption and security methods that newer devices need to use, in which case you should replace it with a new one if possible.
6. Rebooting the Router
If you’re getting poor Wi-Fi coverage or slow Internet connection speeds, try unplugging the router then plugging it back in. This can sometimes help restore a weak signal where it was previously unavailable and improve overall network performance.
7. Change Your Password
If your password is too simple, somebody could use brute force to guess it and get access to your wireless networks. So, make sure that anyone who regularly uses your home network knows what its password is supposed to be (or write it down on paper so that they don’t have to remember). Better yet, change the default SSID for each network now before someone else does this for you!
8. Buy a Wi-Fi Extender
If all else fails, buy a Wi-Fi Extender like the ones made by Linksys or D-Link to improve wireless coverage in areas where it is too weak. You can also buy more than one to create a better mesh network. They don’t require any configuration once they are plugged in, but you will need an AP already set up with good signal strength. The range of these devices often depends on what type and security method they use – 802.11b/g models can only reach around 150 feet from the AP. In contrast, stronger models like 802.11n can send a strong signal over half a mile away (depending on materials used in your home).
9. Switch From Wi-Fi to Powerline
If your home already has lots of power outlets and they’re all wired together inside the walls, then you might be able to avoid Wi-Fi entirely by switching from wireless networking hardware (like an access point) to using an Ethernet network cabling through those convenient power outlets – either through its built-in wiring or by adding inexpensive phone cable adapters for each room.
Although this can be more complicated than just setting up a single access point, and it’s not generally considered a good idea in multi-floor homes, many people have had success with it nonetheless. The steps to follow vary depending on the power outlet model you have, so we cannot give specific instructions here that will work with all brands and models.
Your local big-box store (like Home Depot or Lowes) should be able to help you find the right equipment if they carry a good brand of power outlets for networking. (Note that using this option might require changing your router to support new devices.)
10. Changing the Antenna
If you’ve already tried changing the channel on your router and it’s still not giving good wireless coverage throughout your home, then you might want to consider replacing your Wi-Fi antenna instead. However, it’s important to remember that just upgrading from “1×1” (two-stream) antennas to newer 2×2 antennas will not be enough to give you better wireless coverage. Instead, look for new 5GHz dual-band models that support speeds up to 3X faster than 802.11n technology, and make sure they have a relatively long-range as well – such as by supporting at least 40MHz bandwidth if possible. You probably won’t see any real performance improvements with even the most expensive AC1200 or AC1750 routers unless their antennas can propagate radio waves through walls with enough strength.
11. Changing Wireless Frequency
If all else fails, you might need to change the frequency used by your wireless network. While most people think only of 2.4GHz and 5GHz networks, several other common frequencies aren’t often considered at home – but which can be useful if they don’t interfere with your neighbors’ equipment as much as the basic two. Options like 6GHz (the old 802.11n “top speed” option) or a lower frequency like 2.5GHz may give better results in some circumstances by avoiding interference from other nearby Wi-Fi signals – although they require newer routers and older devices won’t work on them in general.