IT and Tech

How to improve your WiFi signal for home working

There are some simple things you can do to improve your WiFi signal for home working.

With more people working from home, WiFi is an essential resource that needs to be protected. It enables multiple people to work at once, in different rooms in the home without having to lay cables everywhere. But what if you live in an older property with thick walls or a larger property where your router’s wireless signal struggles to reach?

Even if you’re not working from home, being able to connect to WiFi from anywhere in the home is something many of us take for granted. If that isn’t working for you right now, we can help.

Try one or more of these simple tricks to make sure you can connect from anywhere in your property.

Reboot your router

As advanced and as reliable as modern routers are, they still need to be reset once in a while. It’s usually the first thing tech support will ask you to do but for good reason. Operating systems of all kinds use up memory, utilise caches, load apps and files just in case you need them and are somewhat inefficient.

Rebooting is a complete refresh. It releases any memory tied up with unnecessary processes and tells the router to dump any files it loaded but doesn’t need. All combine to make sure your router can use all its resources to managing your internet traffic.

Reposition your router

Depending on how your house is cabled, you may not be able to move your router very far. If you can, moving it to the centre of the property can help. Move it away from electrical appliances, thick walls, air conditioners and anything that could provide radio interference.

WiFi uses a radio signal that is broadcast 360 degrees. Moving your router to the centre of your home offers the best chance of getting a good signal. As radio is susceptible to electrical interference, moving the router away from appliances minimizes that interference.

Change the WiFi channel

Wireless networks are separated into channels that use different frequencies. If you live in a busy house, block of flats, student dorm or somewhere with other wireless networks, you may all be interfering with each other and slowing each other down. Changing channels can help.

You will need a mobile app that analyses WiFi signals for this to work. There are lots of them for Android and I’m sure there are some for iOS.

Download an app and scan your home using it. You should see a list of WiFi networks the app detects with a channel number beside them. Find a channel that isn’t busy and change the WiFi channel on your router to that.

You should see the majority of the wireless networks on the app using a tight range of channels. If you can find one that is a couple of channels away, try that. For example, if you see wireless networks on 4, 5, 6, 11, 13, 14, it would make sense to choose 7, 8 or 9. Having a channel as a buffer means the one you choose should have minimal interference.

Boost signal power

Some gaming routers and some routers that have had their firmware upgraded can manually boost the power output of the aerial. If none of the earlier tricks worked, try that. Not all routers have this facility so you will need to check yours to find out.

Log into your router and navigate to the WiFi/Wireless page. See if you can locate a setting that mentions signal strength. If you see something, increase the strength. If you don’t, no problem.

Use a signal booster

A signal booster is a hardware device that plugs into an outlet and boosts your WiFi signal. They are cheap, simple to set up and reliable.

Signal boosters are usually small devices that plug into the wall. You have to configure them to join your existing network but once done, they amplify the signal into hard to reach areas of your home.

Place a signal booster close to the edge of the good signal and the network will be extended further. Boosters cost from around £20 upwards but unless you need special features, there is no need to spend more than that.

Those are some simple and mostly free ways to boost your WiFi signal in your home. Each will work in isolation or complement the other tricks to ensure however long we are in lockdown, it won’t be a poor WiFi signal preventing you getting your work done!

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