Between iPhones, iPads, laptops, and wireless streaming services like Airplay, Wi-Fi is part of our daily work and personal activities. Having a strong Wi-Fi signal is key for these devices and services to run reliably. There are several things you can do in order to strengthen your signal, and they can be done quite easily:
1. Location, Location, Location – This is one of the most important things to look out for, and not always obvious to some (although it should be). Make sure you place the wireless router in an open area and close to the ceiling to ensure a good spread. Also, it helps to keep it at the center of your home or office, not in a corner.
2. Choosing the Correct Channel – Wi-Fi signals run on specific channels (1-14). Think of a channel as a lane on a highway, the more cars on that lane, the more congested it’ll be. This is why you should pick a channel that is not heavily used by other wireless routers in your area. To check which channels are in use in your area, head over to http://tools.meraki.com/ from a computer connected to a wireless network. This site graphs out each channel and how many wireless routers are connected to it – you can then narrow down to the one with the least use. To change the channel on your router, simply login via the admin panel and select the new channel in the wireless settings.
3. Use Wireless Boosters – Although doing steps 1 and 2 can help your Wi-Fi signal, some areas are simply too big to be thoroughly covered. This is why companies like Linksys, Apple, and Netgear make wireless boosters to extend your Wi-Fi coverage. These are very simple to setup, all you usually need to do is point that booster to the network you’d like it to extend. What we recommend is buying boosters of the same brand of the wireless router. Otherwise there may be compatibility issues.
4. Purchase Wireless Appliances of Different Bands – If you have other wireless devices at home (like a cordless phone), they may interfere with your Wi-Fi signal. We recommend buying other appliances that are in a different band of your Wi-Fi. Wireless signals usually run on 2.4 Ghz and 5 Ghz. In this case, purchase a cordless phone that runs on 5.8 GHz to avoid interference.
5. Use Wireless N Capable Routers – Wireless routers come equipped with different protocols allowing for different speeds. In order of speed, there is a, b, g, and n (from slowest to fastest). We recommend buying routers that run on wireless n for greater speeds. Keep in mind that if you have a very old laptop or smartphone, it may not be compatible with wireless n – for this, there are many wireless routers in the market that allow for backwards compatibility.