Tech

Weak Wi-Fi Signals and Ways to Fix It

In just a decade, Wi-Fi signal has become as essential as water, shelter, and food. Weak signals are nothing short of a nightmare today with lost connections and poor loading times testing patience.

What should your Wi-Fi speed be?

Here’s a quick look at some probable answers.

0.5-2 Mbps: This is enough for basic mailing and chatting services; however, it may slow down some of the content-heavy websites.

4-5 Mbps: Perfect for handling all websites, including video streaming.

20+ Mbps: This is the minimum you need for HD streaming.

50+ Mbps: This is enough for the 1080p movies as well as over-the-air backups.

If you are tired of your slow Wi-Fi speed, we’ve got a few tips for you that can boost the weak signals.

Check the Eco Settings of Router

Some routers are set up with the ‘Power Savings’ mode on. The goal here is to save a few milliwatts. This reduces bandwidth substantially. If you value bandwidth over minimal power savings, you can change the settings of the router. Look for entries called ‘Transmission Power’ or the Eco modes. Turn them off. Also, check out if the router sports any ‘Automatic’ transmission setting. You can turn it off too. These will help you conserve internet bandwidth.

Get Rid of Wireless Signal Killers

The distance between the wireless adapter and the router is of more value than you presume. Apart from the distance, other wireless signal killers are the elements and objects, such as metal and water, which stand in the way.

Water plays the role of a blockade for the 2.42GHz signals. Thus, it is prudent to get all objects containing liquid out of the way. The list includes flower pots and radiators as well. No metal objects should be placed in the way either. Remember that shiny and smooth surfaces reflect signals, thereby leading to massive issues.

Replace Wireless Adapter

The router may not always be the cause behind the trouble. It may also be the wireless adapter that is attached to your computer. In case your PC is unable to send back signals to the router, you will notice a drop in speed.

So, what is an adapter?

It’s the card that you insert in your laptop or your computer. Today, most adapters are in the guise of USB devices. You can consider using an USB adapter that comes with an external antenna. Remember, this is applicable only for your PC. Your laptop has an inbuilt adapter.

Change Wi-Fi Channel

The Wi-Fi routers generally transmit signals on a frequency of 2.4 GHz. Several objects like cordless phones operate around the same frequency. Thus, the channel is bogged down with time with excessive traffic slowing down the wireless connection. Routers come with a set of several channels. The default on most of them is channel 6. You can change the channel to bring down interference substantially.  Remember that changing the wireless channel will not increase the speed or bandwidth. It will simply offer a solution to the network connection in case it keeps getting lost or breaks off.

Upgrade Router’s Antenna

Weak antenna design is often the culprit behind a slow connection. But we have a good news! You can change the built-in antenna of your router. Though it’s quite a trouble, it will make a difference between slow connection and a speedy line! Depending upon the setup, you may want to go either with an omnidirectional antenna (scatters signal throughout the home) or a directional one (if you have most of the devices in a single room).

Check Who Else is on your Network

You will never want to leave the wireless connection without protection. It’s really worthy to note that there are various levels of security on each router. You can go to the router’s GUI and have a look at its wireless security settings. There is usually a click-to-select or a drop-down menu, allowing varying levels of security. The weakest form is WEP and it can be broken easily. WPA is comparatively more secure and the most secured one is surely WPA2. However, it can be incompatible with the older devices on the network.

WPA will prove the best bet if you are not certain about your needs. Somewhere in the router’s configuration, there will be a list of devices connected to your system. This list will include the smartphones and laptops of the guests using Wi-Fi. If you are not certain, you can match MAC or Media Access Control addresses listed on router GUI with MAC addresses of the devices you are using. In case you find intruders, change the password. Some routers also allow to limit the number of devices that can be connected to a given network. You can use that to your advantage as well.

These are just a few of the innumerable tricks that can help you to improve the performance of the Wi-Fi signals at your home. And once you are able to do that, you will surely be able to enjoy an excellent Wi-Fi experience.

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Steven Scheck is the Principal of Inspire WiFi, the nationwide leader of multifamily wifi and healthcare wifi. When he isn't bringing Wi-Fi to the masses, he enjoys spending time and traveling with his wife and 4 kids and occasionally gets in a round of golf. He is also very involved in philanthropic causes in Miami and nationally.

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