Increasing Wi-Fi Range

December 14, 2023

[avatar user="Jamie Poindexter" size="thumbnail" align="left" link="file" /]byJamie Poindexter|Nov 30, 2021|Jamie's Tech Corner,Our blog

If you are getting poor performance when connected to a wireless network (Wi-Fi), there are several things you can do. More devices are becoming Wi-Fi capable, from computers and tablets to TV’s and even appliances. It is important to have stable and wide full coverage in your home. The 2.4ghz Wi-Fi band has an indoor range of 150 feet while the faster 5ghz band is about 15 feet less. That is due to its narrow wavelength. Of course, this varies greatly due to environmental factors such as, the material the house is made of and even other devices causing interference. If you are getting low signal strength in any part of the house, here are a couple of things you can do to improve the signal.

1.Move the routerThis isn’t always possible but if you can move the router/modem to a more central location, this may give better coverage to the entire house. Your cable company may need to move some of the wires or run an ethernet to this new location. In certain situations, this may not be possible.

   2.Upgrade the routerIf you have an older router, upgrading to a new one could provide better range as well as speed. Most modern routers have a 2.4 band and a 5ghz band. The 2.4 band has a better range but, 5ghz has better speed and is less susceptible to interference. Most routers also combine the 2 bands to give you the best possible speed.

3. Change channels on routerMost routers will pick a channel to use for the bands that it supports. Sometimes it may choose a crowded band and cause interference with neighboring devices and other routers. You can choose the channel to use from the routers interface. Use an app on your phone such as “Wi-Fi Analyzer” to see what channels are being used around you. Then you can choose one that is not currently in use.

4.Add an extenderThere are a couple of devices and methods to extend the range, if the above doesn’t work. You can add another router in “AP” mode. This is another router that is connected to the main router and moved to an area where the signal is poor. It can be set up to either use the same SSID as the main or to have its own name. For example, you could move the AP to the bedroom and have a SSID broadcasted named “Bedroom”. The devices that are in that room can then connect to that AP. This does require running an ethernet to locate where the new router will be located but, it provides the best possible signal. A variation to this would be to do it wirelessly. There are devices that use a mesh technology to connect to the main router. Instead of running a wire, the new router connects to it wirelessly and then boosts the signal. If running a cable is not possible this is a good way to extend the Wi-Fi. The downside is if your router is not getting a good signal from the main router, then the speed may not be adequate. Also, some routers are not mesh capable. While they can connect to the main router over Wi-Fi, they do so by using one of the bands which causes you to lose a lot of speed. Therefore, this method should be avoided.