How To Maximise Your Wi-Fi Signal Using Your Existing Router

Homes in India come in all shapes and sizes. While there are huge open homes in smaller towns and the rich can afford to build big bungalows, most need to be content with smaller apartments and houses. In both the situations, Wi-Fi signals may not be as strong in all places and that can be fairly frustrating.

So what can you do to get a better wi-fi signal throughout your house? Let’s get to it.

1. Location, location, location!

Wherever you’ve placed your wi-fi router, you have to remember a few basic things. Firstly, the wi-fi network any router creates is spherical. Placing a router next to a concrete or stone wall is counterproductive and it’s best to place it at a height for maximum range.

Wireless routers create spherical shaped networks, so place them accordingly

Keeping these things in mind, you’d do well to place a router in a much better position. Even if that means moving a little bit of furniture around.

2. Changing bands – from Pop to Rock!

Ok, we’re not talking about rock bands. But rather the wi-fi band on which the signal is transmitting. Quite a few modern routers (with 802.11ac rating) have 2 channels – the standard 2.4GHz channel along with the 5GHz channel. The 2.4GHz channel, however, is used by other devices like cordless phones too.

Plus, the chances of all your neighbours using the same band for their wi-fi are fairly high. Which is why it makes sense to switch to the 5GHz channel from the interface (or GUI, Graphical User Interface) of your router. To do that, access your router’s page by finding out the Default Gateway of your network.

Example of a router’s interface

On Windows 10 (or lower), open the command prompt screen by hitting START and R key simultaneously, then type CMD in the bar and hit enter. On the command prompt, type IPCONFIG and hit enter. Note down the Default Gateway displayed and enter that address in your browser’s address bar. I’ve noted down some generic addresses of popular routers, to save their owners some time –

  • NetGear routers: In your browser, navigate to http://routerlogin.net.
  • TP-Link routers: In your browser, navigate to http://tplinklogin.net
  • Linksys routers: In your browser, navigate to 192.168.1.1.

From here, change the default band value from 2.4GHz to 5GHz.

3. Change channels – “Saas & Bahu” no more!

If changing bands didn’t help much, then there’s something else that you can try changing. This can also be accessed via the GUI of the router under wi-fi settings or advanced wi-fi settings.

4. Update the firmware regularly

Again in the GUI, you will find a section for the firmware of the router. Like any device, the firmware needs to be updated regularly for optimal use.

5. Hardware changes – newer antennas

Those were all the changes that you can attempt at a software level. Let’s get to the hardware bits and pieces now. Investing in antennas are your next best bet for improving wi-fi signal. There are two major types of antennas – Omnidirectional and simply – Directional.

An additional antenna works great for your wi-fi signal

Omnidirectional antennas can increase the wi-fi area in all directions, like a sphere. In this way, the signal they generate is the same as your router, but they will extend of the range of the signal by a good margin.

Directional antennas can boost the wi-fi signal in a long thin area. The whole idea of getting to know which areas of your house get a weaker signal can be ascertained using Android apps like Wifi Analyzer and Directional antennas can be used to boost wi-fi signal in those areas.

6. Buy a repeater

If your router already has antennas or you don’t want to replace them with better ones, then an alternative to consider is getting a repeater. In my own personal experience, getting a repeater which can connect to the main router via the power line or via Ethernet work best.

Range extenders and repeaters work well

Remember that range extenders and repeaters are actually two different things. An ‘extender’ simply captures your WiFi router/switch signal, boost the signal and retransmits it. Unfortunately it transmits under a different network name (lets call it MyNetwork-2). So now you can take your laptop 100 feet further BUT you must connect to MyNetwork-2. Well if all of your wireless devices such as your printers are connected to MyNetwork-1 you are out of luck!

7. Still no good? Upgrade!

If none of these tips work for you then it’s possibly time to upgrade your router. The newer routers run on the 802.11ac protocol which have better range and faster connectivity speeds for their own network. More expensive routers with multiple antennas can now power an entire home with good amount of wi-fi signal throughout the day.

ALSO WORTH A READ: 6 Awesome Things You Can Do With Your Home Wi-Fi

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