Are wifi speeds slow upstairs but not downstairs? Does your internet signal fluctuate when you walk from room to room? Router placement, network management software, and wifi boosters might be able to help. Here are popular solutions for extending your wifi range.
Adjust the placement of your router
Routers should live in a central location away from obstacles or interferences. If you live in a three-story home, place it on the second floor. If you live in a two-story home, place it on the highest surface on the first floor. Most routers emit radio waves that travel downward. Thus, you should always keep your router elevated. Even if you can’t remove obstacles from your space, be sure to not place the router behind furniture or TVs.
Replace your router's antenna
Many routers have an internal antenna built into the system to offer a layer of protection. That said, external antennas can provide a greater range. You may want to purchase an external antenna from your router manufacturer if you do not already have one. External routers should be pointed vertically to provide the widest range of coverage.
Install DD-WRT software
Depending on your router, you may be able to install additional software to help extend your wifi range. One of the most popular solutions is DD-WRT. This software can help you:
Your router runs on electricity. While the amount it uses will depend on the manufacturer, the average router uses about 6 watts. That said, it’s unlikely that your router is harnessing its maximum power. In fact, power plays a large part in your wifi range. This type of software can help you control the amount of electricity your router uses. Keep in mind that too much power can cause your router to overheat. As so, you should consult with your owner’s manual first.
Add a wifi access point
A wifi access point is similar to a satellite station (or node) of a mesh network. The difference is that an access point requires a hardwired connection (an Ethernet port) to the network. Think of access points like a bridge connecting a city (your router) to an island (your device). Without it, data (or in this case, people) would not be able to travel as far. These devices should live in rooms where the wifi signal is weakest. While access points are limited to rooms with Ethernet ports, they can help to extend your wifi range.
Purchase a wifi extender
Wifi range extenders, also known as wifi range boosters, are like wifi access points but do not require Ethernet cables. Instead, they use a wireless connection to transmit data from the router to nearby devices. Imagine you’re standing in front of the Mona Lisa. There, you have an uninterrupted view of the painting. Now imagine you take a picture of the painting and send it to a loved one. While they will still be able to see the painting, the quality won’t be as clear or strong. That said, your phone has allowed them to experience the image without being directly in front of it. In this case, your phone is acting as the wifi extender, granting access to something without being in direct range.
For the device to work, it must be in a wireless range to the router. As a best practice, consider placing the wifi extender anywhere between the router and the farthest point of connection in your home. This will vary depending on your space and router signal. Be aware that not all wifi extenders provide a secure connection. As so, your data may be at risk of theft since others nearby can easily join your network.
Besides strangers using your wifi, you may have too many family members online, too. Make sure that you choose an option that keeps your home and data secure.
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