Improve your WiFi signal in 10 easy steps

on May 31, 2011
(3 minute read)

There are so many reasons why a WiFi Internet connection doesn’t work as expected that it is usually very difficult to fix it and it can be very frustrating. By following these 10 steps you will fix your wireless Internet connection at home with your laptop pr desktop computer. Some of them are obvious things to check and some of them are pretty effective tricks you may have not heard about, read them all and check the list from top to bottom.

1. Reset the router

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Reset your router. Then  full hard reset your router.

2. Change the channel

Choose a network channel that is free or at least not too busy. Use WiFi Scanner (free, OSX) or NetStumbler (free, Windows) to see which ones are used near your home or around you.

3. Change the interface

Change your router’s Interface Type to 802.11n. This ensures you have the fastest rate and signal plus avoids many external interferences. Before doing so check that all your devices are compatible (if they are less than 3 years old they’re good to go). While you are in the router’s configuration, set it up as agressive, increasing the signal strength and focus on performance rather than savings. If your router can’t support 802.11n then buy a better router, they are not expensive and it will definitely make the difference.

4. Clear the path

Clear the path between your computer and the router. Avoiding as many objects as possible. Look carefully for metals, wall corners and mirrors. Remember that moving the router up or down (i.e. from a table to the floor) may be easier than moving a heavy drawer.

5. Change the password

Change the password of your WiFi network every 3 months and make it stronger (password and encryption) to avoid anyone from getting in and sucking your broadband.

6. Avoid interferences

A microwave may be causing interferences so try moving things around the room. It can also be your neighbour’s electrical devices so keep moving stuff until it works.

7. Check the bandwidth usage

If you are in a shared flat, check that your flatmates don’t have any P2P programs, online games, video streaming or VoIP software like Skype. If they are using them, ask them to limit it to something proportional so everyone has the same share. If it can’t be limited, ask them to do one thing at a time.

8. Look for viruses

Make sure all the computers and devices connected to the network are 100% virus free. If any device has a virus it may be constantly sending tons of data to the Internet and collapsing your network, even some mobile phones can be stressing it.

9. Check the cables

Check that the broadband cable from the router to the plug is straight and away from pipes or other electrical wires. If you can’t avoid these then try not to twist the cable and place it as straight as possible.

10. Improve your equipment

Consider one of these small investments: getting a better Internet connection, buying a better router or even buying a better antenna for it. Also check out a powerline ethernet adapter which is a cheap system that uses the electric network as an Ethernet cable and works very well. You can get them for £20-$£60, if you want to play online multiplayer games make sure you get at least 200Mbps.

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Before doing anything make sure that you know what you are doing. If you don’t know what something means then search on the Internet for it and learn. If none of the above work then call your Internet provider and explain all the steps you have made so far.

Photo by Jerome

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