The main infrastructure that offers you access to the wonderful world of the Internet from your home is a wireless network setup also called WiFi.
Wireless internet is also one of the technologies that frustrate people not only during the installation/setup phase but also later on when family members start using it in the house.
This post explores how to boost your WiFi both in terms of range/coverage and also in terms of speed improvement.
Some reasons why Wi-Fi signal and speed are bad:
There are many factors that affect the speed and WiFi coverage range as discussed in more details here.
Your router positioning for example plays an essential role in guaranteeing that the Wi-Fi signal propagates far enough and reaches your computer and wireless devices with the stronger level possible.
It is better to place the router in a central and high spot if you want to have the best possible coverage in the building.
Although Wi-Fi signals can penetrate through objects, many materials are hard to get through or impose a lot of loss in signal DBm strength levels.
Wireless signal strength deteriorates a lot through metal, thick brick walls, concrete, or any other thick material. Wi-Fi signals can be impaired if you are behind a wall containing such material.
Routers that are older than five years are probably outdated. It will help if you buy the latest technology router (at least Wi-Fi 5 or Wi-Fi 6), as older routers do not support modern technologies such as beamforming, MU-MIMO etc.
Another reason that your Wi-Fi might be struggling is interference. Other nearby Wi-Fi routers, electronic equipment, TV sets, microwave devices etc can be a reason for Wi-Fi interference.
When Wi-Fi typically uses the same channel as other nearby devices, all devices in this same channel compete to use the same frequency spectrum thus interference is amplified.
You can use one of the free mobile apps that scan the WiFi channels and usage in your area so that you can select a free channel to configure your own router.
Some older routers use only one band: 2.4 GHz. However, the same frequency spectrum of 2,4 GHz is also used for Bluetooth systems, microwave ovens, cellular phones, door openers, and child monitors.
This overlap creates interference with Wi-Fi. Try to use a 5 GHz band as it is less crowded, or try to pick another channel if possible.
How to extend Wi-Fi range:
Finding a new location for your router will affect your wireless signal significantly for several reasons.
If you hope to reach the best potential coverage of your router device, don’t leave your router in the wardrobe or under the desk cabinet. You can seek a central position free of physical barriers such as walls and doors and place your router as high as possible.
Keeping your router firmware up to date will help you get the best network. There are various ways to upgrade the firmware depending on the vendor; for more information, visit your router’s website.
Use a Wi-Fi Access Point (AP)
A WiFi access point is a Wi-Fi extender device that expands your Wi-Fi router’s signal range.
Essentially, a Wi-Fi AP node creates a communication link with your main WiFi router and re-broadcasts its signal to other devices beyond the reach of the main router.
Such extenders come in a number of types, including extension units which plug into an electric wall outlet in the vicinity and fix insufficient Wi-Fi connectivity issues.
The best AP device though is one which is connected with an ethernet cable with the main Router in the house. Thus, it creates a whole new wireless network which is connected with a fast 1Gbps wired link with the main wireless router.
The AP device is usually placed in another floor in the house to cover areas which are not sufficiently covered by the main device (which might be placed in the ground floor for example).
Get a router with beamforming
Beamforming is a well known technology used in radars and other wireless commercial cases. It is used also in home wifi routers for extending the range.
Basically beamforming focuses the energy of the signal from the router to a specific client device thus gaining more range.
While conventional routers are unique centralized wireless points, mesh networking devices are decentralized.
The mesh network is created from many nodes, offering online access via several wireless nodes in the network. Usually there is one central router node and several satellite nodes which all work together to form an umbrella wifi network, thus covering larger areas.
Extensive coverage is the most significant advantage of a mesh network. In larger buildings with more square feet, an investment in mesh installations can remove annoyances such as black spot coverage.
As your computer connects to the closest satellite node instead of a single central point, this means that you will not encounter connection loss anywhere on your property.
How To Boost Your Wi-Fi Speed
Router with 4-antennas and MU-MIMO
While many dynamics impact Wi-Fi speed, the number of antennas a router has is one of the primary considerations for boosting the speed; in short, you should buy a router with at least four antennas.
This will ensure that your Wi-Fi can work using MU-MIMO (Multiple Input Multiple Output) which means that the router can send data to multiple client devices at the same time.
This means that devices do not compete to use one single spatial stream. They have multiple spatial streams available, therefore increased bandwidth and speed.
Try to buy a router that supports Wi-Fi 6, which is the latest tech in the market. While Wi-Fi 6 provides more speed than its predecessor Wi-Fi 5, Wi-Fi 6 is all about optimizing the network.
Wi-Fi 6 incorporates several new technologies to reduce the challenges of placing hundreds of Wi-Fi systems in one network. It allows routers to connect simultaneously with more devices and will enable routers to relay the data to different devices in the same broadcast.
In short, with Wi-Fi 6 the wireless network would be more effective, quicker, and the user experience will be much improved.
Use 5GHz band
WiFi frequencies use two bands: 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands.
While the 2.4 GHz band offers coverage over a wider area, however it stifles the Internet’s speed,
5 GHz brings higher speeds but confines itself to a shorter range.
Most newer routers offer dual-band, thus you can choose to use either the 2.4 or the 5 GHz band.
If you are close to the router and want to boost WiFi speed, then use the 5 GHz band (e.g on your laptop or maybe your TV which streams video).
Thus, if you’re going to increase your Wi-Fi speed, then a router supporting 5 Ghz is a must!
We sought to cover some of the most frequent causes for slowing down Wi-Fi (in terms of coverage and speed) and how to fix this situation.
If you are still struggling with slow Internet speeds, your existing ISP might be the reason for slow internet.
To verify if your ISP is slow or fast, just connect a laptop directly with an ethernet cable to the ISP modem/router and measure the speed from there (use one of the internet speed test sites).
If the ISP line is fast enough (i.e reaching the speed you are paying for), then slow Internet is probably caused by your WiFi network which you can remedy using the options discussed in this article.