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Why Is My WiFi Signal Weak?

 
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David from Salina, KS writes “My problem is that I have a COX Communications router/wifi modem combination. The signal is great at the PC (duh), but 50 feet to my room I cannot get a very good signal on my smartphone. Any suggestions?”

Hi, David.  Thanks for the great question!  I got stuck in your city a few years back on my way to Fall River to visit some friends when a tornado traveled through the area.  Missed the hotel that I holed up in, luckily, but it was a lovely town.

Here’s the thing, though… your question doesn’t have a cut-and-dried answer, unfortunately.  There are a lot of factors that can affect the performance of a router adversely.

The first thing that I would try to determine is if other devices are working fine with your router at that range.  If they are, then there’s probably something wrong with the wi-fi receiver in your smartphone. If that’s the case, it may just be time to upgrade that phone!

If the other devices have the same problem, then your problem is definitely with your modem and not the phone.  If this is a problem that started recently, then your modem is probably failing.  If that’s the case, then call Cox and have them come out and troubleshoot it, with an eye toward replacing it.

If this is a problem that you’ve had all along, then it could be one of a number of things. 

One is the building materials of your house.  The denser the material, the harder it is for the wi-fi signal to penetrate.  Typically, if you are using it in another room on the same level, you’ll have a harder time of it then if you are using it one floor directly up or down, because the walls have more (to use a technical term) stuff in them than the floors or ceilings do. 

The next possible problem is electrical interference.  Any device in your home that operates on a similar frequency (such as cordless phone handsets and microwaves) operating near where you’re using your router could also be causing the trouble.

I know that this answer hasn’t been a ton of help in resolving your problem, but hopefully it has gone some way to helping you understand what the problem may be.  If you have any follow-up questions, please post them in the comments.

~ Randal Schaffer

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6 Responses to “Why Is My WiFi Signal Weak?”

  1. Linda Sullivan says:

    I have been dealing with this situation for some time. No or very limited service on a desktop that is in a bedroom. Have had Comcast out more times than I want to admit. I have been given endless theorys about the problem. I definitely know that the walls in my condo have some bearing. However, I was able to get some connection on a desktop computer prior. Comcast tried switching out the modem/router which seemed to only make the situation worse. I was getting limited service on my laptop, which was in close proximity to the router, 6 times an hour. Limited service meant I kept getting kicked off. I bought my own router/modem combination and have resolved the problem with my laptop (which Comcast could not resolve. I am still fighting with the desktop and believe it needs setting changes. As yet I have not been able to figure it out. (Comcast did make some setting changes, but not sure what they were) and as I stated previously, I was getting some desktop connection prior, so I think some corrected settings might help. Do you have any ideas?

  2. Wayne Habart says:

    Had same problem when tv was on. Turned out new wireless headphones transmitter sitting next to modem was cause. Unplugged headphone transmitter speed of wi fi returned to normal. Hope this helps someone.

  3. Harry Torossian says:

    Has anyone tried an extender or repeater I have seen them from 40.00 90.00 dollors I am tempted.

  4. Debe says:

    I have had excellent results using an extender/repeater.

  5. James says:

    Repeater works great in our church….have two router in office at back of church.one repeater in Pastors office near sanctuary and one in rear of sanctuary..all get max signal where before it was hit/miss..

  6. John says:

    I am using two D-LInk DAP-1320 range extenders,one in the basement, the other upstairs in the bedroom. My desktop with the modem/router is in between the two. Things have been working great for the past year so far.

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