Troubleshooting Your Wi-Fi Signal Problems
Purchasing a range booster can help you address many of the Wi-Fi signal problems in your home, but if your router or access point isn't producing a strong signal at all, you may not be able to experience the full benefits of your extender. There are quite a few problems that could be causing a poor wireless signal. Those same problems may also affect your internet booster's ability to perform at its best.
Some issues can't be avoided or fixed without a lot of time and money. For instance, if your home is more than 60 years old, there may be actual chicken wire inside your walls. Fixing this problem would require a complete gutting of your walls and a serious remodeling budget. Using an extender in this circumstance is the only way to increase the range of your wireless signal to gain internet access on your mobile device when you're in a different room. To learn about how to improve your Wi-Fi signal with boosters, read more here.
Interference With Your Neighbors
If you're like many people, you probably purchased a router from your local tech store or even online, set it up and didn't bother to make any changes to the settings. You aren't the only one; your neighbors probably did the same thing. Unfortunately, this means you're all using the same default channel, which can interfere with the strength of your Wi-Fi signal.
To check if this is the case, just search for available wireless networks on your tablet or laptop. If multiple options appear, you're most likely sharing a channel with many different users. Fixing this requires going into your router settings and altering the channel. There are a number of different programs you can use on your computer or smartphone to search for least-used channels.
Where you place your router has an impact on the strength of your Wi-Fi signal to your devices and even to your range extender. If the router has an antenna, you should always make sure the antenna points in a vertical direction. The same goes for your booster. The wireless signal transmitted by these devices broadcasts from the sides of the antenna, not the top. If the devices are positioned in a way that the antenna is horizontal, the signal is most likely shooting into the ceiling and ground instead of throughout your home.
Keep both your router and wireless booster away from obstructions. They shouldn't be placed by thick walls, next to other electronics or behind pieces of furniture that can block them from sending a good signal out. While many boosters are designed to overcome the interference with 2.4GHz frequency bands, they can still use the help.
It's also important to place your extender in a central location in your home or office to give it the ability to increase the range of your router's wireless signal in all directions. You also place it in an elevated position, as Wi-Fi signals travel down and over much more easily than they do up. While it's not recommended that you place the extender or router on a metal desk, you can place them on any wooden object without hurting your Wi-Fi signal.
Wi-Fi signals don't travel well through water. Any water source in your home or office could be causing your poor wireless signal. Water is very dense, and it reduces your signal considerably. While you probably can't do much about the plumbing in your walls, you can take steps to remove other things that may be interfering with your signal, like aquariums, fountains and even flower pots. Removing these from the area where your router and extender are located, or even placing them above the space where your device sits can prevent the water source from interfering with your signal.
If you notice the signal dropping when you're standing between the Wi-Fi amplifier and your device, consider for a moment what substance makes up the majority of your body: water. Switch furniture around if necessary to avoid placing yourself between the booster and the device you're trying to connect with.
We mentioned the importance of WPA and WPA2 protection, but there's still a chance someone else is using your Wi-Fi if you're experiencing a weak signal. To check this, turn off all of the devices that use the internet. Wait a few moments, and then look to see if the light that indicates the Wi-Fi is being used is still blinking. If it is, you may have problems with some freeloading neighbors.
To resolve this issue, you'll want to go into both your router and your booster and change the settings. If you're using an extender instead of a Wi-Fi repeater, you may have the option of creating new SSIDs and setting new passwords for these. Some even let you hide these new SSIDs, so your further range isn't being taken advantage of by those who are not authorized to be on your network. Hiding these SSIDs means you'll have to manually input their names and passwords into your devices, however.
If your router is the reason behind your weak Wi-Fi signal, it could be that you're using an old router. Wi-Fi signals on A, B and G routers are much slower than those on new versions, like wireless N routers. Updating these and the wireless card on your computer can help you achieve maximum speed. It's also important to understand that while some range extenders are backward-compatible with your older router, their efficiency is often limited by the weak signal produced by the router. In other words, while your booster may support a high theoretical data rate, it may not be able to produce this if your router isn't compatible with the same rate.
Another reason for a weak Wi-Fi signal is a needed update. Router manufacturers issue driver and firmware updates occasionally to increase the stability of your router. By downloading these updates, you can fix common stability issues your device might have.
Both your router and wireless could have power-saving settings, which are often set up as your default settings when you first turn them on. The goal with this configuration is to reduce its power consumption slightly, help you save a bit on your electric bill and help the environment a little bit. Unfortunately, this comes at the cost of your bandwidth. If you're experiencing some Wi-Fi weak signal problems, take a look at your settings. Look for wording like "Eco Mode" or "Transmission Power." If your wireless signal is more valuable to you than saving on power, turn these modes off. Keep in mind these devices may also feature an automatic transmission router booster, a setting that will reduce the power produced by your router or extender during certain periods of time. You can change this setting as well if you want full power all the time.
Overuse of 2.4GHz
The frequency band on your AP or booster could actually be a problem, especially if it's using 2.4GHz. This frequency may provide the best options when it comes to range and cutting through interference, but it is also crowded. Not only are your neighbors using the same frequency, but your cordless phones, microwaves and even your baby monitors are as well.
The best option to fix this problem is to choose a dual-band Wi-Fi amplifier that operates on 2.4GHz and 5GHz. This gives you the option of switching over to 5GHz when things get a bit crowded. Keep in mind that it may not work with all devices. Some manufacturers made the decision to only include 2.4GHz receivers in gaming consoles and smartphones. Replacing them costs quite a bit. The best option is to turn on both frequencies on your extender and use the 5GHz for your desktop and laptop computer. Use the 2.4GHz for your smartphones and gaming consoles to gain the ability to achieve fast speeds when searching the internet, opening mail or watching videos on your computer.
A booster with multiple Ethernet ports allows you to connect gaming consoles and other stationary devices to your network when they are out of range of your router.
If you didn’t change the default settings on your router when you set it up, you may be experiencing interference from your neighbors’ routers, which can weaken your signal strength.
Be sure to move aquariums, fountains and other water sources away from your router and booster, as they can cause interference.
Even with WPA and WPA2 protection, unauthorized users may be able to access your Wi-Fi. If you have a problem with this, change the settings on both your router and the booster.
Extenders that allow you to password protect your network keep unwanted users from accessing your boosted signal.