Can you boost your WiFi signal?
Are you experiencing slow, sluggish Internet connections? Is your download speed a lot less than advertised on your data plan? Then there’s a good chance that you have a weak WiFi signal.
Your WiFi signal may be weak for a number of reasons. Perhaps your WiFi router has an outdated firmware, or you just might be too far from the router to get a strong signal.
Whatever the reasons behind that dreadfully slow Internet connection, there are different steps you can take to boost your WiFi signal, and we’ll tell you all about them.
Tips to boost your WiFi signal
Before you panic, try these tips to boost your WiFi signal:
- Connect with an Ethernet cable
It’s wise to determine the cause of your slow connection. Is it your router, or is it your telco? To figure this out, plug an Ethernet cable into your WiFi router, then plug the cable into your computer and run a speed test. After that, connect to your router without the Ethernet cable and run a speed test. Compare both results (wired and wireless). If both speeds are slow, then contact your service provider because the problem is likely from them. However, if you get fast speeds with the Ethernet cable and slow speeds without it, then your router likely has weak antennas. If that’s the case, upgrade your router antennas to get a better signal.
- Change your WiFi channel
Your WiFi router could also be slow if you’re not on the best channel. If you have a dual band router, then it’s capable of both 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequency. 2.4GHz is more common, so you’ll find that a lot of people are already on that frequency. It also has 14 overlapping channels, and far-reaching signals. 5GHz, on the other hand, has less users, and has 23 non-overlapping channels but its signals don’t travel far. For faster speeds and less interference, switch to a 5GHz channel. If you must stay on 2.4GHz, log in to your router’s administrator interface and choose Channel 1, 6, or 11. These channels don’t overlap, so you’ll experience less interference and better speeds.
- Get rid of WiFi squatters
You might not be the only one using your WiFi network. In some cases, others might have connected to your WiFi network, using up your bandwidth and slowing down your connection or limiting your signal. If your WiFi network is public, add a strong password to make it private. If you have a password already, change it frequently to keep potential squatters away.
- Update WiFi firmware
In some cases, your router might have outdated software. Major router manufacturers release updates frequently to improve router performance. Check for updates on your manufacturers website and install it on your router administrator interface. New model routers from major manufacturers typically update router firmware automatically.
- Use a WiFi extender/repeater
If your WiFi signal gets worse when you leave its area, then you might want to move it around or switch its location. If this doesn’t help, use a WiFi extender – a device that amplifies your WiFi router’s signal by connecting to it, and then repeating that connection farther into your home or office. With such a device, you can get better WiFi signals in areas far from your router’s location.
- Replace your router
If everything fails, and your telco insists they are delivering the speeds you paid for, then you might have to replace your router. It’s possible your router is outdated, or just has inferior quality.
What’s the difference: WiFi Booster, Repeater or Extender
WiFi boosters, repeaters, and extenders really refer to the same thing – devices that improve or extend your WiFi signal. They are handy when your router isn’t strong enough to send signals to other parts of your home or office. These devices can even help extend the signal of free WiFi hotspots.
However, there are some slight differences between WiFi boosters, repeaters, and extenders to know about:
- WiFi booster
This is usually a catch-all phrase for extenders and repeaters, so it can be used interchangeably.
- WiFi repeater
A WiFi repeater connects to your WiFi network, and then rebroadcasts the exact same signal on the exact same channel to the device you want to connect. WiFi repeaters increase coverage throughout your home or office, allowing you to have a good signal in an area where you usually don’t.
- WiFi extender
A WiFi extender is very similar to a repeater. This device also rebroadcasts your WiFi signal to other areas. However, rather than being a carbon copy of your WiFi signal, a WiFi extender changes the channel when it rebroadcasts the signal, increasing your chances at not just a farther signal, but a stronger one. It can also connect to your router via an Ethernet cable for a stronger signal, and then extend that strong signal for even better performance.
As you can see, there are a lot of options when it comes to boosting your WiFi signal. The most common method is an easy-to-set-up WiFi repeater, and you can get those on Amazon (or any good electronics retailer) for less than fifty bucks. Don’t forget your other options though.
Mobile data allowances in Australia are some of the biggest (and cheapest) in the world. If you’re outside of your own (or a publicly available) WiFi service, then consider using your own device hotspot and tethering facility to connect your laptop or tablet to the internet over your telco’s mobile network. The chances are you’ll just use some more of your data allowance, but you probably had plenty to spare anyway.