Slow WiFi connections are a special kind of torture. Regardless of what you’re doing as you surf the Internet, a lagging connection leads to a lack of productivity. Thankfully, there are a few easy ways anyone can improve the quality of their WiFi. Keep reading for 10 tips to boost your WiFi signal.
- Update Your Hardware
If you’re connecting to WiFi with older hardware, this is likely the primary reason you aren’t experiencing the best performance. Even though your old equipment may be functioning, it likely isn’t as effective as newer equipment would be.
If you have an older router, now is the time to switch it out for an 802.11ac router. This router is the best of its kind and easily allows you to connect to the Internet, no matter what device you’re using. Additionally, this new router will last longer and will guarantee stronger performance than whatever outdated router you were using before.
- Invest in a WiFi Adapter
Have an older laptop that won’t connect to your WiFi automatically? If you’re not prepared to get a new computer, a WiFi adapter will certainly do the trick. With an 802.11ac adapter, you can plug this USB into the laptop and have instant access to the Internet. This simple alternative makes connecting with older machines easier than ever.
If you do invest in an adapter, be aware that this add-on may affect your machine’s operating system. This is why it is important to only use an adapter when absolutely necessary. If you’re using a newer laptop, skip this suggestion.
- Choose a Wireless Mesh Network System
Purchasing a wireless mesh network system allows you to almost instantly extend your WiFi coverage. Easy to install and manageable by smartphone app, a mesh network system allows you to better connect to your WiFi from almost any range. The best systems make it simple to connect to your WiFi using faraway devices by setting up a series of access points.
- Don’t Hide the Router
If you’re trying to use the Marie Kondo method to clean your home, you may be tempted to hide your unsightly router. While you may hope that it will be out of sight and out of mind, the reality is that when you stuff your router away, you are interfering with the signal. This is true whether you hide the router behind a few electronic appliances or you have it stuffed away in your drawer.
For the strongest possible signal, your router needs to be free. Leaving your router in the open and away from obstructions is ideal. If you’d prefer to make your router more appealing, consider wall mounting it. However, you choose to position your router, keep in mind that the antennas should point perpendicularly, the router should be centrally located, and it should be elevated if possible.
- Find the Center of Your Home
Whether you’re in an apartment or a house, your router will do its job better if it is located centrally. As the signal extends from its antennas, the router needs to be in an optimal location for everyone to have the same level of access to its signal.
If you’re using a modem that is in one part of the house or apartment, you may feel as though your router has to be there as well. If your modem isn’t centrally located, there’s no reason for your router to suffer the same fate. Using Ethernet cables, you can make sure that your router is connected to the modem as you move to position it in the center of the building.
- Switch to a Different Wireless Channel
Routers operate using a variety of different channels. If you’re in close proximity to other neighbors and businesses, their access points might be inferring with your signal. This interference can weaken your connection.
Avoid this situation by using a channel that has a minimal amount of interference. With certain network analyzer tools, you can analyze the WiFi network to see what channel works best for you.
- Invest in Wireless Security
Most people wonder how to stay safe on public WiFi, but fail to consider the safety of their own WiFi at home. While you may assume a password is enough to keep you safe, you should take extra measures to beef up your wireless security.
Follow these WiFi security tips to stay safe online:
- Update your router’s firmware
- Use WPA2 encryption
- Turn off WPS
- Use another DNS service that isn’t your ISP’s
- Disable “remote management” services
- Use DIY Hacks
If you’ve gone through all of these steps and still need more range, try out a few DIY hacks to see if they will do the trick. Using tinfoil, you can strengthen your WiFi signal almost immediately. Turn a few sheets of foil into a parabola and use it on your router. Though your results will vary, it should at least noticeably increase your signal.
You may also be able to increase your range using an old beer can. With a utility knife, adhesive putty, and a pair of scissors, you can create another WiFi extender rather inexpensively.
- Employ Third-Party Firmware
Ready to do whatever it takes to improve your WiFi? By hacking into your router and installing third-party firmware, you will significantly improve your connectivity and WiFi security. With firmware like OpenWRT and DD-WRT, you’ll have access to multiple enhancements and security features.
After hacking into your router, you should be able to increase the router’s transmitting power. While you should ensure that this doesn’t harm your router, in most situations, increasing to 70 mW should be fine.
- Use an Old Router as an Access Point
If you have an old router lying around, you should be able to turn it into an access point. Do this by disabling any hardware firewall, as well as the DHCP feature. Once the router is turned into an access point, you’ll be able to blast your WiFi signal from anywhere in your home.
If you’re still in the mood to hack routers, you can install the OpenWRT and DD-WRT on your old routers, turning them into inexpensive WiFi extenders.
While all things WiFi may be initially confusing, with a couple of Google searches, a trip to the electronics store, and a few DIY hacks, you’ll start seeing your WiFi in a new light. The next time your Internet connection starts to struggle, be sure to use these 10 tips.