Six Easy Ways to Boost WiFi Signal Range

I like the convenience of using Skype on my tablet, while I am sitting comfortably in my rocking chair, about 30 feet away from the router. However, this setup leads to frequent, annoying call disconnects. So, what can we do to boost WiFi signal range without spending a fortune?

For starters, you could move the device closer to the router, just like I do when I have problems. Of course, this isn't a decent solution; I only chose to mention it here because it works each and every time. It's only a solution for desperate situations, of course.

Let's see what other factors affect WiFi signal strength. Distance to the signal source plays a key role, of course. If there are lots of walls and/or corners to go around, WiFi signal strength will be diminished. Obviously, you cannot (and shouldn't) destroy the walls in your home for the sake of getting a stronger WiFi signal! However, you can move the router in another room, where it is closer to the devices that need it most.

Did you know that interference with other electronic devices is the second most important cause of dead zones? If, for some strange reason, you can't move your router, you should definitely consider moving any electronic equipment that's placed near it. I'm talking about wireless phones, microwave ovens, smart TVs, smart refrigerators, and stuff like that. All these devices use the same frequency band with your router, so it's not a surprise that they'll weaken its signal.

Sometimes, fixing the problem is as easy as purchasing a better antenna for your router. Or, choose the other route - add a small antenna to your laptop. As you probably know, these devices have internal antennas - and for a good reason (portability)! However, by adding an external antenna you can significantly boost WiFi range for those devices without spending more than $10 or so.

Often times, your router manufacturer has created a new firmware version that boosts WiFi performance, and you aren't aware of it. So, make it a habit to visit the router manufacturer website every month or so.

I don't know about you, but I've always loved walkie-talkies. When I was a kid, all communication was using analog technologies, so if you were utilizing the same channel with other strangers, you could hear what they were saying - and they could hear you as well!

It's the same thing with WiFi channels. If two networks use the same channel and the distance that separates them is smaller than about 50 feet, their signals will interfere. To fix the problem, you should log into the router admin page and test various channels. By default, most routers broadcast using the 6th or the 11th channel.

If your neighbors aren't tech geeks, they are probably using one of these default channels. So, start with the first channel, and then test the Internet connection speed on your device(s) using an online service like this.

Write down the value in a spreadsheet. Then, move on to the second channel, measure the speed, and then write it down in its corresponding channel. Repeat the process until you went through all the channels. When all is done, you will be able to see easily which channel works best for you.

I see lots of "experts" teaching people to switch to the 5 GHz band if the 2.4 GHz band is misbehaving. Nothing could be further away from truth! The 2.4 GHz band signal propagates much better at longer distances, so you won't ever be able to boost WiFi signal range by switching to the higher frequency band.

If everything fails, it may be time to buy a WiFi range extender, a device which picks up the WiFi signal and amplifies it. The much more expensive, but much better solution is to replace your router with a WiFi mesh system, which consists of a network of interconnected routers. These mesh systems cost $300-$500 each, and come in packages of 3 to 5 routers which can be placed everywhere you want to have a strong WiFi signal.
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