Wiltronics, the tech specialists in your community has some simple suggestions to one of our most asked questions.
How can I improve my internet/Wi-Fi coverage?
Most users prefer to keep their routers in a corner of the house or even in a closed cupboard. While this does minimize wire clutter, it also limits your Wi-Fi range because the Wi-Fi signal spreads and fades with distance and obstacles.
For some, Wi-Fi is a requirement as basic as electricity and running water. Most Internet service providers install a basic modem/router that stays untouched in a corner. Here are some easy ways to solve common Wi-Fi issues at home.
Better placement is one of the easiest ways to improve Wi-Fi coverage.
Is your modem/router on the floor; in a corner, or in a cupboard, then it may be necessary to move it. The ideal place to keep a router is in the centre of your house so that it provides an even coverage across the home.
Try and place the Wi-Fi router at eye-level or higher — this further improves the signal strength. Finally, keep the router away from other interference causing devices (cordless phone base stations, other routers, printers, microwave ovens). Let’s dive in deeper, What is your current Internet plan? What does the ISP say about what speeds to expect at different times of the day? Are you getting approximately what they are saying or are you at a fraction of what you expect?
Testing your speed:
First of all you need to test the speed of your router by directly connecting to your computer with an Ethernet cable (ie. Not using Wi-Fi). www.speedtest.net is a great site and makes running a speed test very easy. If you don’t have a computer, or your only way of connecting to the router is via Wi-Fi then you can still run a speed test, but you will not know if the modem’s connection is the issue or your Wi-Fi is the issue.
If this first speed test is slower than you expect then it’s either; your connection to the Internet may have some issues or you need a better modem/router.
What if your router speed is good, but you cannot get anything better than ‘poor’ at one end of the house?
The first response from people with this issue is to install a Wi-Fi Repeater (aka Wi-Fi Booster). This sounds great but they rarely perform as expected and can cause other issues if incorrectly configured. Most of the Wi-Fi repeaters available these days can be configured to support one of three different modes: repeater, router or access point and normally have the default of ’repeater’. If you can configure the device to be an access point instead, you will have much more reliable and faster Internet in that part of the house when compared to repeater mode.
There is however a caveat. The new access point will now require an Ethernet cable to be connected from it to the central router. This could be a problem, so we now introduce the range of Powerline Home AV adapters. These units are great. They plug into your 240V PowerPoint sockets and they talk to each other over the power lines in your walls. Here’s an example: plug one unit into a power point next to your modem/router and plug the supplied Ethernet cable from the device into your router.
Now, at the end of the house with poor connectivity, plug another Powerline device into a PowerPoint and connect its Ethernet cable to your computer. Also, some of the Powerline devices have in-built Wi-Fi so that phones & tablets can now take advantage of the extended coverage.
What other issues could there be?
There are many possible issues. Do you have any ‘Smart Light Globes’ (like Hue), ‘Smart Speakers’ (like Google or Amazon), ‘Smart TVs’, other IoT devices or CCTV that could be consuming your Internet/Wi-Fi? Well, we’ll have to leave that for another day and we can get into network segmentation & protecting your Wi-Fi & home network from hackers.