An unreliable home internet connection can make even the simplest Google search super frustrating. If you find that your Wi-Fi is always slow, no matter what internet service provider you have or how many devices are online, what do you do? Sometimes paying monthly fees to an internet service provider or having your router professionally installed might not even solve the immense problem of a slow and weak internet connection.
For most apartments and smaller homes (under 1,500 square feet), a single wireless access point should suffice. That said, if your router is several years old, you may want to consider upgrading to a newer model with support for 802.11ax, or Wi-Fi 6. That’s the latest generation of Wi-Fi technology, and it’ll give you the fastest wireless speeds possible and the best overall coverage.
For bigger, multilevel homes, it’s worth considering making the upgrade to a mesh network to offer consistent coverage throughout the entire house. Once the main access point is installed, if you find a far corner of your home doesn’t have solid wireless coverage, just add another node to that area. Problem solved.
What’s the best place to put your router?
Choose a central location
Routers send the signal out in all directions, so if it’s left in the corner of your home, a significant percentage of your wireless coverage is being sent outside your home. That’s why your best bet is to move the router to a central location to optimize the signal.
Installing a router across the house from the modem may prove troublesome. It may require manually running an especially long CAT5 or CAT6 Ethernet cable under the floor or along the bottom of your walls, or enlisting the help of power line network adapters, which use your home’s electrical wiring to pass an internet signal from point to point. But the improved wireless coverage will be worth it.
Raise the router
Routers tend to spread their strongest signals downward, so it’s best to mount the router as high as possible to maximize coverage. Try placing it high on a bookshelf or mounting it on the wall in an inconspicuous place.
Avoid other electronics
Try to pick a location that’s away from other electronics and large metal objects. The more walls, large obstructions and electronics near your router, the higher the chances are that something will interfere with the signal.
One type of electronic device to especially avoid is the microwave, which emits a strong signal in the 2.4GHz band, the same wireless band your router operates in. You’ll also want to be careful not to stick your router behind a large TV, which can cause electronic interference while also physically blocking or disrupting the signal.
Along with electronics, keep an eye out for bulky furniture that might be limiting the signal’s reach. Wi-Fi doesn’t travel well through water, for instance, so if you have an aquarium in your home, try to avoid situations where it’ll be in between your router and the device that needs to connect.
Those funny-looking antennas? They do actually matter
Some routers have no antenna at all, but some have up to eight. These antennas help direct the signal. If there are two or more antennas on your router, don’t position them all in the same direction.
Instead, make them perpendicular to one another — position one horizontally and the other vertically. Or slightly change the position of all the antennas to cover a wide range of angles. You might have to experiment a bit to find the most effective configuration.
The signal from each of those antennas will come out like a wave traveling in all directions, and that wave will be perpendicular to the antenna itself, so a vertical antenna is going to be more helpful in single story homes, while a horizontal or angled antenna is going to put out a signal that travels upward, which might be more useful in a multi-story home.
Map the signal
In worst-case scenario situations, it may prove useful to map out the signal in your home to see where there might be gaps or problems areas in your coverage. Several years ago, we used NetSpot software to map out the signal strength throughout the CNET Smart Home — in the end, we got a great look at the weak spots in our Wi-Fi network, which helped us shore things up by moving our hardware to more optimal locations.
If you’re considering upgrading your router, be sure to check out CNET’s picks for best routers. For homes with children, make sure to explore the parental controls of your router, too.
Story by Ry Crist for cnet© Source: http://www.msn.com