Weak Wi-Fi signals at home are always a pain, especially as there will often be multiple people connecting to the network. While more expensive routers will generally lead to stronger Wi-Fi signals, that is not always the case. In fact, even cheap routers, used properly, can provide strong Wi-Fi signals.
Fortunately, there are many ways by which users can fix weak Wi-Fi signals at home so the whole family can enjoy a fast and stable connection to the Internet.
Find the perfect spot for your router
While routers are hardly eye candy, they shouldn't be tucked behind cabinets. For the best Wi-Fi signal, routers should be placed in open spaces, where there are no obstructions or walls. The antennas of the router should be positioned vertically. The higher the router is located in the home, the better its coverage will be.
Purchase better antennas
Newer routers already come with internal antennas, but for those who still use external ones, replacing them with better antennas can strengthen Wi-Fi signals. Some antennas also allow users to direct Wi-Fi signals toward a certain direction, which will help in figuring out the best spot for the router. These antennas may cost users around $40 to $100.
Change the router's channel
Routers in the United States mostly operate on 2.4 GHz at channels 1, 6 and 11. When setting up routers, some automatically detect and use the least crowded channel, but some do not. There is certain free software that can show how many routers in an area are using a certain channel, and if the user's router is in the most crowded one, it would be a good idea to dive into the router's interface and change the channel that it is using.
Other routers within the area are not the only things that can interfere with your router's signal. Appliances such as microwaves and wireless phones can also weaken Wi-Fi signals. Dual band routers will help decrease such an effect, but the simple way is to move the router away from these signal-interfering appliances.
Schedule router reboots
Some routers require occasional reboots to maintain a healthy Wi-Fi signal and Internet connection. Some routers have built-in capabilities for such reboots, but for those that do not have the feature, users can simply install an outlet timer where the router is plugged in.
Update the router's software
One often-overlooked way of improving a router's Wi-Fi signal is by updating the software of the router. Doing a quick online search for the latest firmware of the router's brand and model could show a software update for the device, in addition to instructions on how to install it.
Improve Wi-Fi security
Weak Wi-Fi signals could mean that there are more users on the connection than expected — especially if the router's password is very easy to guess or hack. Using WPA encryption and changing passwords regularly would boot off unwanted users of a home's network, freeing up Wi-Fi signals to be used by those who are supposed to be using the Internet connection.
There are many more ways to improve the strength of Wi-Fi signals, but these steps are a good starting point to fixing weak Wi-Fi signals at home.
Photo: Thomas Cloer | Flickr