How to Boost My Wi-Fi Signal Strength?

Poor Wi-Fi connectivity can be caused by several factors, including malfunctioning routers, an internet package that does not provide adequate speed or bandwidth, or poor router placement. You can improve your signal by purchasing a new router, adding an antenna or booster, placing your router in a central location within your home, and ensuring that your household use doesn't exceed what is included in your provider package.

Internet service is costly, so it makes sense to want consistent reception no matter where you are in your home. Sadly, many consumers experience frustration when Wi-Fi signals deliver slower speeds in certain rooms or floors, or simply fail to deliver the speeds that you are expecting. In some cases, consumers might be tempted to spend money on higher-priced Internet packages or purchase new equipment.

While these options may be suitable in some cases, it's a good idea to consider free or less expensive options before committing to a higher monthly Internet bill the purchase of a new router.

Understanding the Causes of Poor Connectivity

There are many things that can interfere with Wi-Fi connectivity, Internet speeds and stream quality. These include:

Your broadband package: It may be that there is a mismatch between your current broadband Internet package and household usage of the Internet. If you have multiple Internet users in your household and each person has several devices (such as phones, tablets, computers, smart speakers), it may be that your household is exceeding the speeds and bandwidth that you are paying for.

Wi-Fi pirates: Neighbors and others may be hacking into your connection without you knowing.

An outdated or malfunctioning router: Your Wi-Fi router is the device that translates analog data into digital data, allowing your devices to access the Internet. If it is old or malfunctioning, your connectivity won't be good.

Poor router placement: Wi-Fi signals can be impeded by walls, cabinet doors and other objects.

Home appliance and device interference: Some appliances and devices, such as microwave ovens and wireless baby monitors can interfere with Wi-Fi signals. Large aquariums can also inhibit signals.

What You Can Do

There are several things that you can do to improve your home Wi-Fi signal strength:

Identify the source of the problem

Before calling a technician or buying new equipment, try to figure out the cause of your Wi-Fi slowdown. By doing this, you may be able to save both time and money.

Connection Limitations

It may be that your Wi-Fi signal is just fine and the problem with slow speeds or erratic performance has another cause:

1. Check your Internet package and take note of your bandwidth and speeds.

2. Next, find a bandwidth calculator online and enter information about your household's internet usage. If the calculator shows that your usage likely exceeds your bandwidth, you have two choices: Reduce household usage or upgrade your package.

3. Use an ethernet cable to connect your computer to your modem. From there, perform a speed test (your ISP should provide one on its site or you can use a third-party speed test site). If your speeds are slow, contact your ISP and ask for technical support. Once the slow speeds are resolved, your Wi-Fi reception will likely improve.

4. Check the status of your router to see what devices are connected to it. You can do this in the settings menu on your computer. Another option is to use the mobile app provided by by your Internet service provider to check your router settings. If someone is accessing your Wi-Fi without your permission, change the password on your network.

Router Age & Placement

When did you get your current router? If you can't remember, that's OK, but it may well be that your router needs to be updated. If you rent your equipment from your Internet provider, call and ask about getting a replacement. If you own your router and you've had it for more than three years, you may need to replace it.

If your router is up-to-date, consider its placement: If you are like most people, you'd prefer to not have your router out in the open where it can clash with your decor. Unfortunately, many people remedy this by putting their router in a cabinet or behind another object, such as an appliance or electronic device. These methods of concealment, unfortunately, inhibit signal quality, resulting in poor speeds and performance.

Routers should be placed in a central room in your home and in an area free of obstructions. If you are concerned about appearances, there are router cord organizer boxes that can conceal cords and create a tidier appearance. Keep your router away from electronics, large appliances, and aquariums, all of which can cause signal interference.

Other Options for Boosting Wi-Fi Signals

If you've done the best you can with the placement of your router and still need a stronger signal, consider the following:

1. Adding an antenna to your router, if it doesn't already have one. These antennas are affordable and can offer a simple solution to poor speeds and dropped connections.

2. Purchasing Wi-Fi extenders. These extenders, sometimes known as "pods," plug into electrical outlets and boost the Wi-Fi signal around your home. You can place these extenders into any room in your home where you want to improve connectivity. Keep in mind that you may not need more than one or two boosters: Try purchasing one at a time to see if your coverage improves. Add boosters as needed, but don't waste money on buying several at a time unless you are very sure that you'll need one on each floor, in your basement, or in multiple rooms.

3. Purchasing or renting a mesh router. A mesh router can connect to satellite routers that, like boosters, can be placed around your home or building for maximum coverage. These systems can get pricey, but many people report a great deal of satisfaction. Your ISP may also offer to rent a mesh router system to you. If you prefer to have your ISP manage your equipment, renting may be an excellent option that allows you to upgrade for free when necessary.

The decision to invest in extenders or a mesh router should be made after working with your internet service provider to determine the cause of slow speeds. Keep in mind that if you do purchase these items from a retailer that is not your provider, you may have difficulty getting technical support from your ISP in the future. You may need to work with the seller or manufacturer of the router or devices if they malfunction.

Final Word

Nobody wants to pay for Internet service that under-delivers. At the same time, you don't want to pay for unnecessary services, equipment or more bandwidth than your household really needs. It's critical to investigate and address any issues with your service that are not related to your router before making further decisions about your speed issues.

In many cases, problems with Wi-Fi signals are related to poor router placement and, in some cases, very thick walls that inhibit signals. These issues are often addressed by placing the router in a central location and, if necessary adding additional signal boosters around your home.

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Asked 5 months ago
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