Wireless networks are wonderful things. We have come to depend on them so much now that living without them does not bear thinking about. But how can we be sure that we are getting the most out of our home networks? There are some simple things you can do to ensure that you are getting the strongest signal and fastest speeds possible from your Wi-Fi signal. Here is a look at what I tell my customers to do.
Location, location, location
As with many things in life, being in the right place is critical, and the same applies to your router. The strength of your signal can depend a lot on where you position your router. As you would imagine, bad positioning can lead to dead spots in your home.
If you have multiple floors to cover, you will want to position the router as close to the ceiling as possible, and as a general rule you want to make sure that your router is not obstructed by anything. For the best results, place the router in an open location. If you have lots of walls or materials in your home that can shield the signal, you might need to purchase an extender.
Going the distance
If you find that you still have dead spots in your home then you may need a wireless extender. The extender acts as a repeater. It will pick up the signal coming from your router and it will throw it a greater distance, which means that you will get more coverage. There are downsides to extenders, and the biggest problem is that you can lose some network speed. When you need to have the extra coverage, though, extenders are invaluable.
Remove interfering devices
There are many items in your home that use the same 2.4GHz wireless band as your router, and the biggest culprit when it comes to interference on wireless networks are cordless (landline) phones. Most cordless handsets work across the 2.4GHz range, so when your phone is in use your network’s speed and signal will be affected. You have two solutions to this problem. You can either get a new cordless that works on the 5GHz band, or you can try changing the channel on which your router operates.
There are many other things that can affect your router including the neighbors’ wireless networks. As a general rule, all wireless routers come out of the box set to channel 6, so the first thing you should do (especially if you live in an apartment complex) is change to another channel so you can free up some space on the wireless highways.
Upgrade your equipment
If your router is just not cutting it in terms of signal strength and speed, it may be time for a new router. If you have had your current router for more than a couple of years, it is probably time to retire your current work horse.
Wireless N is the new standard when it comes to routers, so make sure that you purchase a wireless N router. The increase in signal strength and network speed is significantly improved over the old G models, and these days most portable electronics such as iPads and iPods have wireless N receivers built into them so that they can make the most of the improved performance.
If you follow these simple steps you will see a dramatic improvement in both your wireless signal and wireless connections speeds.