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How to extend Wi-Fi range

Extend Wi-Fi range

7 ways to extend Wi-Fi range

In today’s connected world, a robust and reliable Wi-Fi signal is important for smooth internet access. However, many of us have experienced dead zones or weak signals in certain areas of our homes. You may be asking the question ‘what can I do to extend my Wi-Fi range’ or ‘how to boost wifi signal through walls’? Well, here are some ways to address these issues.

Here’s your guide to 7 practical steps to extend your Wi-Fi coverage and ensure seamless connectivity throughout your home.

TLDR summary:

Quick tips to extend your Wi-Fi:

1. Move your modem.

2. Upgrade your router and firmware.

3. Use quality Wi-Fi antennas.

4. Invest in a Wi-Fi range extender or booster.

5. Try a wired access points.

6. Powerline extender kits.

7. Optimise Wi-Fi settings.

8. Change your Router QoS Settings

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1. Move your router

Tip: The placement of your Wi-Fi router plays a pivotal role in determining signal strength and extension. 

Ideally, position your router in a central location. Avoid placing it near thick walls, electronic appliances, or reflective surfaces, as these can interfere with the signal. Elevating the router, placing it on a high shelf, can also enhance coverage. By strategically placing your router, you can extend a strong Wi-Fi signal throughout your entire home.

2. Upgrade your router and firmware

Tip: If your router is several years old, it may lack the latest technology and features designed to improve Wi-Fi coverage. 

Consider upgrading to a newer router model with advanced capabilities such as beamforming, multiple antennas, and support for the latest Wi-Fi standards. These features can significantly extend your Wi-Fi signal strength and coverage.

Additionally, ensure your firmware is running on the latest versions. A modem/router unit (also called a gateway) usually gets updated automatically, but if you use a separate router, it may be worth checking for updates.

Updating your router’s firmware ensures that you’re using the latest security features on your network. It will also help repair bugs and fix connectivity issues that could be slowing down your WiFi signal. 

The steps for updating your router’s firmware will depend on what kind of router you have. Some routers will update automatically, while others require you to download a file from the manufacturer’s website and then upload that file in your router’s settings  

3. Use quality Wi-Fi antennas

Tip: If your router has detachable antennas, consider upgrading them to high-gain antennas. 

These antennas focus the Wi-Fi signal in specific directions, potentially increasing coverage in desired areas. Before purchasing, ensure compatibility with your router and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for installation.

Remember that adjustable antennas emit signals in directions perpendicular to the antenna itself. In other words, a vertical antenna transmits signals horizontally, while a horizontal antenna transmits signals vertically.

If your router has adjustable antennas, you shouldn’t position them all straight up and down. A WiFi signal emanates outward from the antennas, so you can boost your signal by pointing them perpendicular to each other. 

In an interview with Mac Observer, Watt said that some MacBooks were designed to receive WiFi signals horizontally, while others receive WiFi signals vertically. Positioning your antennas perpendicularly will also help if you live in a multi-story home. This way, you can cover one floor with the horizontal signal, and the other floors will be covered by the vertical signal. 

To make sure your antenna position is optimal, you can always do several WiFi speed tests and see if your speeds actually change. 

If your router came with detachable antennas, you can boost your WiFi signal by upgrading them. You can either get omnidirectional antennas, which can send and receive signals in all directions, or you can get directional antennas to boost the range of your WiFi signal. 

When shopping for a directional WiFi antenna, you want to look for a high dBi level, which indicates how far your WiFi signal will travel. You should also look for high-gain antennas, which further focus your WiFi signal and boost your network’s range.   

4. Invest in a Wi-Fi range extender or booster

Tip: Wi-Fi range extenders can boost your existing Wi-Fi signal. 

They work by receiving the existing Wi-Fi signal from your router, amplifying it, and then transmitting the boosted signal. This process allows the Wi-Fi network to cover larger areas and reach places where the signal was previously weak or nonexistent.

Wi-Fi boosters are particularly useful in large homes, multi-story buildings, or places with many obstacles that interfere with Wi-Fi signals, such as thick walls and metal objects. By placing a Wi-Fi booster between your router and the area where you need better coverage, you can ensure a stronger and more reliable Wi-Fi signal throughout your space.

There are different types of Wi-Fi boosters available, each suited to specific needs:

4.1 Wi-Fi repeater 

Tip: Wi-Fi repeaters amplify your Wi-Fi signal without the need for additional installations or wired connections.

Wi-Fi repeaters are simple wireless devices that receive, amplify, and retransmit signals. They are easy to set up and can be effective in extending Wi-Fi coverage, but they may halve the bandwidth because they use the same frequency to receive and transmit signals.

If you have any WiFi “dead zones” in your home, you can use a WiFi repeater to bring the internet to you. This device will use your existing WiFi network to boost your WiFi signal range, but they can also cause your WiFi speeds to slow down.   

A WiFi repeater connects to your existing WiFi network wirelessly and re-broadcasts that signal. However, a WiFi repeater needs to receive a strong WiFi signal, so the farther it is from your router, the weaker your signal will be. 

4.2 Wi-Fi extenders 

Tip: Wi-Fi extenders are a wired solution for extending the reach of your Wi-Fi network without the need to replace your existing router.

Wi-Fi extenders often have the option to connect to the router via a wired connection, such as an Ethernet cable. This helps in reducing the potential for signal interference and can provide a more stable and faster connection in the extended range.

Wi-Fi extenders connect to your network via a wired connection (like an Ethernet cable) and create a new access point, which means you will have to change WiFi networks as you move around your home. This method can provide a more stable and faster connection in the extended range.

4.3 Mesh Wi-Fi systems 

Tip: A mesh Wi-Fi system is a great way to seamlessly extend Wi-Fi signal in a larger house.

A mesh WiFi system comes with a router and at least one access point (also known as a “node”). Basically, each of these nodes functions just like additional routers. So, you can place these nodes in any room where you want to boost your WiFi signal range. 

Mesh Wi-Fi systems have gained popularity for their ability to provide seamless coverage throughout large spaces.. 

When you move around, your devices automatically connect to the node with the best signal, ensuring a smooth and uninterrupted internet experience. It’s like having a Wi-Fi network that adapts and works together to make sure you have a strong connection wherever you are at home. 

Most mesh WiFi systems let you buy as many nodes as you want, so you can blanket your entire home with a strong, reliable WiFi connection. Each of these nodes will have the same network name and password, so you won’t have to switch networks as you move around the home. 

Setting up a mesh system might be more expensive and complicated than a traditional router, but it also provides a long-term solution to your slow WiFi woes. 

5. Try a wired access point

Tip: Wired access points provide a direct connection to a new WiFi hotspot. 

Wired access points are connected directly to a router or switch via an Ethernet cable. This connection provides a reliable, high-speed link to the network, allowing the access point to create a new Wi-Fi hotspot in its location. 

This is particularly effective in large buildings or areas where the Wi-Fi signal from the main router is weak or nonexistent. The key advantage is that it provides a stable, high-speed connection because it’s directly wired to the network.

6. Powerline extender kits

Tip: You would use a powerline extender kit to extend your internet connection to different rooms using your home’s electrical wiring, especially when Wi-Fi is weak or Ethernet cabling is not feasible.

Powerline extender kits are a unique solution for extending your home network using the existing electrical wiring in your house. 

They come in pairs, with one adapter connecting to your router via an Ethernet cable and plugging into a nearby power outlet, and the second adapter placed in the location where you need an improved network connection, plugged into another power outlet. 

Here’s how they work:

  • Signal transmission. The kit uses the electrical wiring in your home as a conduit for network signals, effectively turning any power outlet into a potential network connection point
  • Pairing.  The adapters in a Powerline kit are paired to each other, ensuring a secure and dedicated connection for your network traffic.
  • Ethernet and Wi-Fi. Depending on the model, the remote adapter can offer either Ethernet ports, Wi-Fi connectivity, or both. This allows for a flexible way to connect wired devices, like desktop computers and smart TVs, or to provide a Wi-Fi signal in areas of your home where it was previously weak or nonexistent.

Advantages of powerline extender kits:

  • Powerline adapters are plug-and-play. They require minimal configuration, often just the push of a button to encrypt and secure the network traffic.
  • Offer a stable connection, because they use the electrical wiring, Powerline adapters can offer a more stable connection than Wi-Fi extenders, which might suffer from interference.
  • Flexibility, as you can move the second adapter to any room in your house, as long as it’s on the same electrical circuit, providing flexibility in extending your network.
  • No new wiring required. There’s no need to run new cables through your home, making Powerline a great option for older buildings or rented properties where drilling through walls is not feasible.

7. Optimise Wi-Fi settings

Tip: Tweaking your Wi-Fi settings can make a difference in signal strength at the edges of your range

The goal of optimising your Wi-Fi settings is to enhance the efficiency and stability of your existing network rather than expand its physical reach. However, by fine-tuning settings such as transmission power, channel selection and security configurations, you can ensure that your Wi-Fi signal is operating at its best within the coverage area defined by your router. 

Modern routers offer dual-band or even tri-band capabilities, allowing you to choose between 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz frequencies. 

  • The 2.4 GHz band provides better range but is more susceptible to interference from other devices. 
  • The 5 GHz band offers faster speeds but has a shorter range.  

Each WiFi band is also split up into different channels, and your WiFi speeds can slow down if too many people are using the same channel at once. So, you can boost your WiFi signal speed by changing your router to a less crowded WiFi channel, especially if you live in a densely-populated area. 

If you are using the 2.4 GHz band, you should use channels 1, 6, or 11 because they are the only three channels that don’t overlap with each other. If you are using the 5 GHz band, you might want to choose channels 36, 40, 44, or 48, which are used for domestic purposes. 

Consider your needs and choose accordingly.

Also, ensure your Wi-Fi network is secure (password protected) to prevent unauthorised access, which can slow down your

This can lead to better connectivity, reduced interference and improved performance in areas where the signal strength may have been weaker.

By implementing these practical tips, you can extend your Wi-Fi coverage and bid farewell to frustrating dead zones. Whatever solution you choose, the key is to tailor the solution to your specific needs. With a little strategic planning and investment, you can enjoy seamless connectivity across your entire home.

8. Change your Routers Quality of Service (QoS) Settings

Some newer WiFi routers have a feature called Quality of Service (QoS), which allows you to prioritize traffic to certain devices or apps. This is a great way to stop a few bandwidth-hungry devices from slowing down your entire WiFi network. 

For example, you can prioritize traffic to your computer to make sure that your video calls won’t drop or lag. Then, if someone else starts surfing the web or streaming a 4K movie on the same WiFi network, their devices will slow down before your computer does. 

Most older routers won’t have QoS settings, while newer routers will let you set specific bandwidth caps for any devices, apps, or programs. Check your router’s manual or the manufacturer’s online documentation to see what kind of QoS settings are available on your device, and how you can access them. 

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Commonly asked questions

Is extending wifi signal and improving wifi range the same or different thing?

Extending a WiFi signal and improving WiFi range are related concepts, but they have different focuses.

Extending WiFi Signal:

  • This typically involves using additional equipment like range extenders or additional routers to increase the coverage area of the WiFi network.
  • The main goal is to provide access to the WiFi in areas that were previously out of reach of the original signal.

Improving WiFi Range:

  • This refers to enhancing the strength and quality of the WiFi signal itself.
  • Methods include upgrading the router, changing its location for better coverage, using better antennas, or adjusting WiFi settings for optimal performance.
  • The focus is on increasing the effective distance at which a strong and reliable signal can be maintained.

Basically, extending a WiFi signal is about spreading the coverage to more areas, often using additional hardware, while improving WiFi range is about enhancing the existing signal’s strength and quality.

If you’re troubleshooting your Wi-Fi at home, using the tips suggested in this article may help to both extend your Wi-Fi and improve its range at the same time. 

Why does my Wi-Fi signal weaken with distance?

Wi-Fi signals weaken with distance due to the dispersion of radio waves as they travel. Obstacles like walls, floors, and furniture can absorb and reflect these signals, further reducing their strength. Additionally, interference from other electronic devices and competing networks can degrade signal quality.

That’s why optimising your Wi-Fi settings, in point 7, can be helpful. 

Can household appliances affect Wi-Fi range?

Yes, household appliances, especially those that emit electromagnetic radiation, can affect Wi-Fi range. 

Devices such as microwaves, cordless phones, and baby monitors can cause interference, especially if they operate on the same frequency band (e.g., 2.4 GHz) as your Wi-Fi network.

How does the material of my home’s walls affect Wi-Fi range?

The material of your home’s walls can significantly impact Wi-Fi range. 

Denser materials like concrete, brick, and metal can block or weaken Wi-Fi signals more than materials like wood or plaster. 

To mitigate this, consider positioning your router in a more central location or using a mesh network to navigate around signal-blocking obstacles.

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