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10 tips to help improve your wireless network

10 tips to help improve your wireless network

6th in a series of 10 Tips


1. Position your wireless router, modem router, or access point in a central location
The Majority of modern Wi-Fi routers are either directional or dome based.
With a directional type router make sure it is pointing towards where you want to use your devices instead of just giving your neighbours a great signal.
With a dome type Wi-Fi routers place it centrally in the house and if you have more than one floor as high up in the house as possible.
Make sure it is not hidden so you can see when you have a signal and easily restart it when required.

2. Move the router off the floor and away from walls and metal objects (such as metal file cabinets)
Some routers can get very hot so placing them on the floor is not a good idea.
Try to avoid placing tem on top of a metal cabinet or near other metal items as they will absorb the radio signal.
Place them in a position where they are not obstructed and where there is a reasonable air flow.

3. Replace your router’s antenna
If your router has a one or more detachable aerials these can be replace with higher capacity aerials boosting the signal into your house.
By making sure that the aerial is angled towards your devices you can maximise signal strength.
If you have a multiple aerial system then each aerial can be angles towards a specific area to give all users a good signal.

4. Replace your laptop’s wireless PC card-based network adapter
If you have a laptop with built in Wi-Fi the module may well be a slow speed module.
If this is the case it can be turned off and a new mini Wi-Fi dongle can be installed which can boost your speed by over 5 times.
If your router is dual speed the replacement dongle can also be a dual speed one improving your laptops Wi-Fi speed even more.

5. Add a wireless repeater
Many houses suffer from bad Wi-Fi signal for a multitude of reasons from very thick walls, large footprint, multi levels or modern high insulated houses.
In these cases some type of wireless repeater is required. All require power to function but some of the use your electricity supply to send the signal around the house.
More than one device can be installed to extend the signal even further.

6. Change your wireless channel
During manufacture most routers are set up as auto channel which means they cycle between channel one and thirteen for the Wi-Fi signal.
The main disadvantage of this is a neighbour may have a high performance router and their signal can swamp yours ever time you scan to their channel no. resulting in a dropped signal.
There are testers available that can show you what channel everyone around you are using enabling you to choose a unique channel for uninterrupted Wi-Fi.

7. Reduce wireless interference
The modern house has many wireless devices from landlines with wireless repeaters to smart TV’s etc.
By using a testing device previously described you can test for the maximum signal strength based on channel no. In other words filtering out the interference.

8. Update your firmware or your network adapter driver
Most modern computer peripherals like printers, dvd players and router have internal software known as firmware.
As with Windows updates these devices also from time to time require a firmware updates.
Go to the manufacturers website, download and install the latest firmware update making sure you have the correct version for your card or router.
Firmware upgrades can resolve known issues.

9. Pick equipment from a single vendor
Where possible use the same manufacturer when buying Wi-Fi devices.
Although most manufacturers say that their devices are compatible buying from the same manufacturer make them easier to install and configure because they are designed to work together.
Mixing makes can cause problems in configuration.

10. Upgrade 802.11a, 802.11b, and 802.11g devices to 802.11n
802.11a: The signal is transmitted at 5 Ghz and can move up to 54 megabits of data per second.
802.11 b: This standard transmits in the 2.4 Ghz frequency bandwidth. It can transmit up to 11 megabits of data per second.
802.11g: transmits at 2.4 Ghz like 802.11b but at faster rates. It can transmit up to 54 Mbits per second.
802.11n: This standard significantly improves speed and range. 802.11n, however, can transmit as high as 140 Mbits per second.