How to Increase Your WiFi Range Without Changing Your Package
Nearly 75 percent of all Americans now have broadband internet installed in their home, according to data collected by Pew Research Center. But just because it's common doesn't mean that it's simple to set up and use. Because every home is unique and there are so many WiFi packages and routers available, finding the right fit for your home and then maximizing your range can be a challenge.
If you've recently set up your home WiFi or you've started having trouble getting a signal in parts of your home, keep reading. We're breaking down what you need to know about how to increase your WiFi range without changing your current package.
Consider Your Router Placement
One of the most common reasons homeowners struggle with their WiFi connection is because of where they have their router positioned. Some people opt to place it in a cabinet or behind a piece of furniture to conceal all of those wires and flashing lights. Others keep it close to a window where the cable comes in from outside, shortening the amount of wires needed. But neither placement is necessarily ideal.
If you'll be using your WiFi from your bedroom, living room, basement, and back porch, you'll want your router in a spot that's central to all of those locations. The only reason to place a router in a non-central location is if you happen to use your internet only in one spot; for example, if you have a WiFi connection specifically for your work-at-home job and want to keep your router in your home office.
If you're using a wireless router, you should also avoid stashing it away in a cabinet or behind your couch. You'll get the best signal if you keep it away from walls and other obstructions.
Check Your Range
Just because you've placed your router in a central location doesn't mean that you'll have internet throughout your home or property. How far your signal goes depends on your WiFi range. There are a number of factors that will affect your range, including the strength of your WiFi connection, where your router is located, the layout and configuration of your home, obstacles in your router's path, and of course, the size of your home.
To determine your current WiFi range, you'll need to take a look at your bandwidth. You can do this by checking on your laptop or desktop. Look for the small internet icon on the top or bottom of your screen. You can also find this on your smartphone if you connect it to your home WiFi. Move throughout your home and pay attention to how many bars you have in various spots. This will allow you to find trouble zones and figure out where your bandwidth disappears entirely.
If you find that your bandwidth isn't strong enough for you to get a WiFi connection on your porch or that corner bedroom, you'll next need to learn how to increase WiFi range. A WiFi extender can help boost your signal to those outlying spaces, allowing you to utilize your internet throughout your home.
Update Your Firmware
Unless you're particularly tech-savvy, you likely set up your router initially, made sure you had a WiFi connection, and then forgot about it, except for perhaps the occasional reset. But routers are complicated pieces of equipment. Just like your laptop or tablet, they require updates from time to time. Before you start paying extra for better WiFi, check to see if your router needs a firmware update. Research your exact make and model of router to find out how to run an update and whether any may be available.
Add an External Antenna
If you've updated your router and still aren't getting a strong enough signal, there may be another change you can make to your hardware. Many routers feature only an internal antenna for sending out signals. If this is the case with your unit, consider installing an external antenna as well. In fact, your router may have even come with an extra one in the box that you have to install yourself.
Once you've added the external antenna, point it in the direction in which you're having trouble getting a signal. For instance, if your router is in the middle of your home and you're struggling to get a signal near the back, point the external antenna in that direction.
Boosting Your WiFi Range
Because each home is so unique, there is no one-size-fits-all solution to boosting your WiFi range. But trying these tips first can help you narrow down your internet trouble before you resort to investing in a more expensive WiFi package.