Weak Wi-Fi got you down? Nowadays with technology we’ve got cell phones and iPads, tablets, laptops and computers, numerous streaming devices (not to mention kids) hogging our bandwidth. In today’s world it is necessary to ensure your Wi-Fi signal is as strong as it can possibly be.
To strengthen your home’s Wi-Fi signal, you’ve really only got 3 options: relocate your router for optimal reach, purchase a repeater/extender for your router or upgrade your router. We will go into detailed instructions for each; this information is coming from my husband Paul who spent ten years working as a cable/internet technician before leaving to stay home with our boys and to help me here on Heart Hook Home and on his own blog, Penny Pinchin’ Paul. Needless to say, he is a wealth of technological knowledge!
Ways to Boost Wi-Fi Signal in Your Home
1. Find a way to relocate your router to a more centralized location within your home. Being more centralized will allow that wireless signal to be spread more evenly throughout your home. Assuming you live in a home with a main level an upstairs and a basement, you’d ideally want to relocate it to the center of the main level.
However, this option is often easier said than done. You’ll either have to be able to relocate your modem to this new location as well OR find a way to run an ethernet or Cat5 line from your modem’s current location to the more centralized location where you plan on relocate your router. Keep in mind that if you relocate the (cable) modem, you’ll need a cable outlet that is not only active, but also has adequate signal strength to properly run the modem nearby.
Not sure if the signal is strong enough? Learn how to check your cable modem’s signal strength in this detailed article or go ahead and hook the modem up to that outlet and call your service provider. They ought to be able to tell you if the signal is adequate as long as the modem is able to get online.
2. Purchase a wireless repeater/extender. These devices take your existing Wi-Fi signal and rebroadcast it making it travel further than it normally would. Remember that placement is key on these guys. If you install it too close to your wireless router it’s not going to do you a lot of good and if you place it too far away from the wireless router then you’re only extending an already sketchy or spotty signal. I suggest finding a location in between where your wireless router is and where you’re trying to improve the signal. The optimal location will consistently show you having at least two bars of signal on your wireless device (i.e. laptop, phone, tablet). This option may be the the easiest (and cheapest) option, but it comes with a down side as well.
Sure, your signal will now travel further giving you more bars at further distances, but you’ll typically be working with about half the bandwidth when you’re running off of this “extended” signal. Simply stated, this translates into slower speeds. Should that be a deal breaker for you? Well, it depends. And it depends on a few things really.
What kind of internet package do you have? If it’s a basic package I probably wouldn’t suggest this option. If you’ve got a higher tiered internet package, however, you may not see that much of a difference at all (especially if gaming or video streaming isn’t involved). Also, you’ll need to take into consideration how many people or devices will be sharing this extended signal. The more that will be using it, the worse off you’ll be.
3. Upgrade your wireless router. This is usually your easiest (albeit most expensive) option. Not all wireless routers are created equal; some broadcast quite a bit further than others. Look for one that is rated for your home’s size and remember: when in doubt you’re usually better off going bigger even if it may cost you a little extra. This is true especially if your router isn’t going to be installed in a centralized location within your home. If spending an extra $25 on a higher quality router makes the next 3-5 years of your life that much less frustrating (which equates to about a penny a day) isn’t that worth it? Definitely not one of the things I’d be a cheapskate on in life.
I highly recommend going with a dual-band router if you’ve got a large family, lots of wireless devices or have lots of house guests that will be wanting to use your Wi-Fi.
More technology tips and tricks:
Is My Modem Bad? Check Your Cable Modem’s Signal Strength
Internet Speed :: Are You Getting What You Pay For?
How to Create Emergency Contacts in Your Phone (to Access While Locked)
6 Ways to Stop Wasting Money on Cable
27 Must Have Money Saving Smartphone Apps