How to improve your Wi-Fi network
We are quite spoiled these days, at least when it comes to technology. We have got cell phones that are much faster than our parent's desktop computers, for example. We pay less than 20 dollars per month for fast Internet connections that would have set us back thousands of bucks only a decade ago. A graph from www.data-alliance.net shows that the US is in the top 10 countries with the fastest Internet connections in the world.
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Yes, we are definitely spoiled. And yet, there is a tech sector where things aren't working that well: wireless networks. Sure, we have gotten ourselves gigabit Internet connections, but we have learned to be happy with wireless connections that have a much poorer performance and disconnect our devices a few times each day.
Often times, all these problems can be fixed for good by applying a few simple tricks, though. Keep reading to discover the best tips that can be used to increase Wi-Fi signal strength.
The main factor that affects wireless signal quality is the distance that separates the router and its clients (laptops, tablets, phones, and so on). And signal strength is perfect near the router, isn't it? However, signal quality degrades quickly as you move away from the router antennas.
The effect is much more prominent in the 5 GHz frequency band. It has been proven scientifically that the higher the frequency, the shorter the signal range. Radio waves that are very small tend to bounce off every surface and obstacle they encounter.
So, learn to resist those persuading marketing messages. Repeat after me: "the 2.4 GHz band is better than the 5 GHz band!". Then, log into the router admin panel, access its Wi-Fi section, and disable the 5 GHz network for good. Activate the lower frequency band, and then connect all the wireless devices to it. You should see an immediate signal strength increase, especially for the devices that are away from the router.
Sometimes, routers are positioned in a way that maximizes aesthetics. In plain English, we tend to hide them away, placing them in a desk drawer. However, this affects signal propagation. To work well, a router needs to be placed as high as possible, away from other devices, walls, fish tanks and even people! Yes, don't place it near your couch, because your body will affect signal propagation.
Most people place the routers in their living rooms. Apparently, it's the best solution, because this is the place where you will get to spend most of your free time, right? Still, by taking this decision, the other rooms won't always get the strongest Wi-Fi signal. It is definitely a better solution to move the router in a room that is closer to the devices that would benefit from a wireless signal boost.
Another key factor that affects propagation is signal interference. I have already mentioned several potential causes, but one of the most important ones is interference with other electronics. Other routers in the area are probably using the same frequency with your router. Wireless phones are using the same frequency with your router. Even your microwave oven is using the same frequency with your router!
There is a simple explanation for this. The 2.4 GHz band is free to use, so hardware manufacturers have built lots of devices that utilize it. So, to minimize interference, you will need to keep those electronic devices away from the router. Move them away, turn them off, or even throw them away. That microwave oven was bad for your health anyway!
Finally, use a network analysis tool to determine the least crowded Wi-Fi channels, and then pick the best one for your router. Don't worry, it is much easier than it seems! The first step is to install a network analysis tool. You will find lots of free apps in their dedicated app store, no matter if you have an iPhone or an Android-based phone. Run the app, and you will see a diagram that shows all the active Wi-Fi channels in the area. Choose the least crowded channel, log into your router's admin panel, and then set the router broadcasting channel accordingly. I have told you that things aren't that complicated, right?
These simple tips are guaranteed to work. Apply them today, and you should see a significant wireless signal strength improvement.