A great wireless connection is about more than just your router. Many things can impact the speed and security of your Wi-Fi signal, from furniture and router settings to nearby neighbors.
Here are some things you can do to make the most of your home’s Wi-Fi connection:
1. Smart Placement
If possible, move your router to a central place high off the floor and keep it in the open. In a home with multiple floors, the top floor will give you the best signal. If your home does not have multiple floors, consider placing your router on a shelf so that it is elevated.
If you do not have a high, central place to set up your router, you still have options. Creating clear paths for your router’s signal can make all the difference, so try rearranging furniture away from the router and to the outside of a room.
2. Eliminate Interference
Many things can interfere with your Wi-Fi signal. If you live in an apartment or have close neighbors, their Wi-Fi could be interfering with yours.
Try changing the channel your router is on until your signal improves. Changing your routers channel can vary based on brand, but there are simple channel scanning services online that will help you choose the best channel based on where you live and the amount of users. Choose a channel that has the least amount of users to increase your Wi-Fi connection. And if you have any large appliances or other wireless electronics nearby, move your router away from them.
3. The DIY Foil Method
This trick may be best for routers which are hidden from plain view because the foil can be a bit unsightly, but it can be very effective for boosting your signal: bend a 12-inch sheet of aluminum foil into a curve and place it behind your router.
This will often work best for routers that cannot be in a central location, but rather must reach an entire room or home from one side or corner.
4. Improve Security
There are a variety of ways to improve security on your Wi-Fi network, but even the most basic can help keep unwanted strangers from bogging down your connection. Many routers have an option for either WEP or WPA / WPA2 settings. The latter will be your best bet for security.
You can also make your Wi-Fi network private, meaning it won’t show up on most devices when someone is looking for a connection. This isn’t hacker-proof, but it can help. Just get into your router’s settings and uncheck “Enable SSID Broadcast.”
5. Upgrade Your Hardware
Depending on your router’s age and features, it may be time for an upgrade. If your existing router is several years old, a newer router could offer a higher maximum speed, and moving to a dual-channel router can help by eliminating interference from other wireless electronics.
If you have a larger home and distance is the issue, consider a range extender – also known as a repeater. These devices will help bring your signal further or help if you are trying to bring a wireless signal through walls and obstacles that just can’t be avoided.