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Simple Tips to Help Optimize Your Home’s Wireless Network

 A robust wireless networking setup is vital these days in any home or apartment. However, Wi-Fi can be such a fickle thing, isn’t it? Sometimes the signal can be great and sometimes it can be annoyingly slow and make your browsing experience frustrating. If you are being constantly plagued by slow speeds, bad reception, and other Wi-Fi issues, then the problem might be with your network and it is time to fix it. 
Fortunately, you don’t need to buy a new router just yet. Here, we have listed some simple and effective tips that can help optimize your home’s wireless network. Try them out so you can enjoy fast connectivity throughout your home.

1. Update your router firmwareWi-Fi Signal Boosting Tricks, Router Firmware

Routers with old firmware generally tend to perform poorly when compared to those ones that have been regularly updated. Router manufacturers are always improving software to help you improve your speed and strength and it would be a good idea to keep a regular check on it.

Most current routers have an inbuilt update process in the administration interface. All you need to do is to find and hit that firmware upgrade button. If you have an older model, you may have to visit the manufacturer's website, download a firmware file from your router's support page, and then upload it to the administration interface. It might be a time-consuming task but will be super beneficial in the long run for your router’s performance improvements, better features, and security updates.

2. Ideal router placement is key


See Also: Can’t Connect to the Internet? Here’s What To Do

This may sound very obvious but is indeed extremely crucial. The issue, however, is that not all homes will distribute Wi-Fi signal equally and where you place the router can greatly affect your wireless coverage. Achieving optimal router placement is hence the key to boosting your Wi-Fi signal.

Most of us tend to keep our routers inside a cabinet or right by the window. However, that might not always be useful. Ideally, the router should be placed in the center of your house so that its signal can reach each corner comfortably. 

Also, do note that wireless routers need open spaces and need to be kept away from walls and obstructions. It will provide a strong signal if it's surrounded by open air. The router should also be kept away from heavy-duty appliances or electronics as they can hinder the Wi-Fi performance as metal is a big disrupter of a Wi-Fi signal.

If your router has external antennas, then direct them vertically to enhance your coverage. Mounting your router high on the wall or on the top shelf will give you better signal, too, since Wi-Fi signals radiate outward in all directions, not just horizontally.

3. Check your router’s frequency

Wi-Fi Signal Boosting Tricks, Router Placement

It may be possible that you haven’t looked at your network's administrator interface. Check it out and ensure that you have it configured for optimum performance. For those having a dual-band router, you should get better throughput by switching to the 5GHz band instead of using the 2.4GHz band. 5GHz offers faster speeds and will also ensure that you face less interference from other wireless networks and devices.

Another thing you can do is to check your router's administration interface and look for the 5GHz network option. Once there, give it the same service set identifier (SSID) and password as your 2.4GHz network. Your devices will then automatically opt for the best signal whenever they can.

4. Secure your Wi-Fi password

Wi-Fi Signal Boosting Tricks,  password

These days, malware attacks on routers are common and dangerous. Once your router has been infected with malware, your bandwidth can be stolen and the virus can spread itself across the network to other devices. Moreover, you also have to beware of Wi-Fi leeches and intruders who won’t spare any opportunity to piggyback on your network. Hence, an encrypted, password-protected Wi-Fi is a must today.

Encrypt your Wi-Fi and protect it with a strong password that can’t be easily guessed. Ideally, a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, symbols, and numbers should work well for a secure password. Try and use a unique password that doesn’t include any personal information and save it through a password manager.

Furthermore, there are apps and software like Wireless Network Watcher and Who Is On My Wi-Fi that can help you identify devices using your Wi-Fi connection and stop others from using it.

See Also: WI-FI GUIDE: Stop People Hacking Your Wi-Fi Password

5. Switch to a different Wi-Fi channel

Wi-Fi Signal Boosting Tricks,

Are you aware that there are multiple Wi-Fi channels on which a router can broadcast? Because of this, signals from other wireless networks can impact your speeds if they are also using the same channel and will lead to signal congestion. To sort this out, the best way is to find out which channel is occupied the least and switch to it.

Modern routers these days can switch across different channels when communicating with your devices. Moreover, a good router set to Automatic will try to choose the least congested channel. For further safety, you can use any good Wi-Fi network analyzer tool that will make it easier for you to select a new and unoccupied channel.

6. Replace your router's antenna

Wi-Fi Signal Boosting Tricks,  Antenna

Most Wi-Fi routers come with small, weak antennas whose gain tends to be between 4–5 dBi. However, if you don’t mind the size, then you should try replacing your router’s antenna with a new and powerful one. Getting a 10-dBi antenna would be a great way to boost your Wi-Fi’s strength at home or office without buying a new router.
When choosing a new antenna, you have two common options - an omnidirectional antenna that sends a signal to all directions, or a directional one, that sends a signal in one specific direction. If your router uses an internal antenna, then it is likely to be omnidirectional. Thus, if you are buying an external one, make sure that it is marked "high-gain" to have an effect.
A directional antenna generally tends to be better as you can point it in the direction of your weak spot, and it will broadcast the signal accordingly. For details on which external antenna to buy, check your router manufacturer's website first.

7. Get a Wi-Fi repeater or extender

Wi-Fi Signal Boosting Tricks, Wi-Fi Repeater/ Booster/ Extender
While they are known by different names, Wi-Fi boosters, repeaters, and extenders are mostly the same thing - devices to enhance Wi-Fi coverage.
Wi-Fi repeaters pick up a current signal from your Wi-Fi router wirelessly and re-broadcast it as a new network. This new network functions as an extension of your main network, and all the data that passes through it will also go through the main network. This will enable you to boost your Wi-Fi signal to a location where it was weak. 
Wi-Fi boosters and extenders also work in similar ways. However, they also connect to your network through a wired connection and re-broadcast your Wi-Fi signal to areas where the signal is low. Wi-Fi boosters generally have greater range than Wi-Fi repeaters and it would be wiser to go for them if your original signal is very weak. 
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