Poor connectivity can make it feel as if your entire operation is in slow motion, so much so that figuring out how to boost WiFi signal feels like a one-way ticket to the fast track.
There are a range of effective ways to boost your signal, from quick fixes to hardware upgrades and range extenders.
Depending on your issue, here are some smart options for how to boost the WiFi signal in your building.
Start with Some Troubleshooting Basics
Boosting your WiFi signal doesn’t necessarily require a complex solution. Spotty or unreliable wireless can be caused by several culprits, many of which are router-related, that are easy to dispatch.
Before you try anything else:
- Bring your router out into the open. While it’s tempting to hide your router in a closet or tuck it under a desk in the corner, it will perform better if it’s somewhere unobstructed, elevated and far from appliances and devices that can cause interference.
- Check your security settings. It could be that the drag on your wireless speeds is being caused by freeloaders you didn’t realize were using your network. Opt for WPA2 security and set up a hard-to-guess password. (Hint: password123 doesn’t count.)
- Buy or replace the router’s antenna. A “high-gain” external antenna will enhance your router’s performance by helping to broadcast the signal and extending the range.
- Change the channel. To avoid interference, you can also change your router’s channel to one that isn’t already overloaded.
Make Sure You Have the Latest Equipment
If your hardworking wifi router is out of sight and out of mind, and if it’s been a while since you bought it, it may be struggling to keep up. Older models have lower bandwidth and a far lower maximum throughput than modern routers, and the one you installed years ago could be what’s slowing things down.
Try a Wireless Repeater/WiFi Range Extender
A wireless repeater, or WiFi range extender, does just what you’d expect: It extends the range of your existing wireless signal, amplifies it and retransmits it to hard-to-reach places.
For an extender, placement is key. You’ll want to place it close enough to your existing router to pick up the signal and close enough to trouble spots to make a difference. While your extender and router don’t need to be the same brand, they do need to have the same speed.
Repeaters are a good choice to effectively extend range and establish connection stability for computers, smartphones and other connected devices (though if in-building cell phone coverage or two-way radio range is your issue, you'll want to research solutions such as a distributed antenna system or signal booster). Be sure to select a dual-band extender for the best results.
Check the Placement of Your Access Points
For wireless access points, proper placement is also a game changer. They need to be situated to minimize interference and maximize capacity.
If your AP system hasn’t been checked recently, have a professional service provider come onsite and do an assessment. You may discover that you don’t need as many access points as you have or that your current configuration is holding you back.
You don’t just have to tolerate slow or spotty WiFi coverage, and there are many scalable wireless networking options that can be tailored to meet your needs, both now and into the future.
Switch to a Mesh WiFi Network
If you’ve had it with the world of routers and extenders, another option is a mesh WiFi network. Instead of a standalone router, a mesh network is a collection of WiFi stations that blanket your coverage area with a strong wireless data connection free of dead zones. Advances have made mesh networks reliable enough for business use as well as for homes.