In previous articles in this series, we’ve looked at improving WiFi strength using both the positioning of your WiFi setup and by upgrading your internet adapter. This time, we’ll take a look at how you can modify your router to get a better signal.
First of all, check to see if your router comes with aerials. Not every router does, but some do — and if they do, there’s a chance that you’ll be able to replace them with longer ones. This will improve the signal distance the router can reach, and will hopefully boost the signal for every device that connects to it.
Not all routers have aerials, however; if this is you, then what do you do? First of all, it’s a good idea to make sure that your router is running the highest version of its ‘firmware’ possible. Firmware is an instruction set which your router follows to help it do its job and the people who made your router may occasionally release firmware updates to make the router perform better. Check your manufacturer’s manual or website on how to update your router’s firmware.
If this doesn’t work, you can always try changing the WiFi channel the router transmits on. Routers transmit on one of several channels (some go up to around twelve), and when too many routers in the local area broadcast on the same channel, the signals can get a little mixed up. To check what channel your router and other routers broadcast on, use a free tool such as InSSIDer.
Channels tend to conflict with one another when they’re four or fewer channels apart, so a router on channel 7 will conflict with devices on channels 3-11. Smart people will realize that channels 1, 6 and 11 won’t conflict with one another, so you’ll see a lot of routers use those channels. If you discover your router is on channel 6, and a lot of the neighbor’s routers are on channels such as 7, 9 and 10, you’re probably best off going to channel 1 and seeing if your signal improves.
If you’re a long way away from the router, or the router is behind a thick wall, you can try to ‘bounce’ the WiFi signal to you using a WiFi extender. They act as ‘middlemen’ for WiFi signals, picking them up from one source and sending them to another. This means that the extender can help you stretch across long distances, or carry the signal around a particularly solid wall if need be. They don’t come very cheap, but they work!
If nothing seems to work, then perhaps it’s time for a new router. This is especially true if your current one is very old and may not be able to keep up with the developments in broadband speeds and WiFi standards. Check reviews for high-performing router reviews that emphasize stability and strong signal strength, and see if it helps your WiFi woes some.