How to Boost your Wifi

How to Boost your Wifi

How to Boost your Wifi

There's nothing quite as frustrating as a weak Wi-Fi signal in your home or office. I live and work in a 1000-square-foot industrial loft that has a four-foot-thick dividing wall made of solid concrete and steel. It's great for noise insulation, not so great for wireless penetration -- so trust me when I say, I know what it's like to deal with a frustrating Wi-Fi deadzone.

 

My router is in my home office, which is attached to my bedroom. The unnecessarily thick concrete-and-steel wall separates my office from my living room, which is where my beautiful 40-inch HDTV, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One live. I have tried just about everything to improve my signal -- after all, a girl's gotta be able to stream Tokyo Jungle on PlayStation Now -- and there are only a few things that have worked. Here are some tips on how to improve the Wi-Fi strength in your home or office, from a desperate fan of the PlayStation Plus network:

TWEAK YOUR SETTINGS

Most modern routers can run on two different frequencies: 2.4GHz, which is an older standard, and 5GHz. If you've never messed with your router's settings before, it's probably operating on the older 2.4GHz frequency. Because most routers run on this frequency by default, your Wi-Fi could be slower than it needs to be. If you live or work in an area that's crowded with Wi-Fi networks, you may be able to boost your Wi-Fi speed by switching your router's frequency and channel.

To change your router's frequency, you'll need to access your router's settings page. To do this, you will need to plug your router's IP address into the address bar of any browser. You can find your router's IP address by opening the Control Panel (in Windows 10, do this by right-clicking the Start button and choosing Control Panel) and going to Network and Sharing Center.

Network and Sharing Center

Next to Connections, click the name of your local network to open its properties window.

Click Details... to open the Network Connection Details, and find the number next to IPv4 Default Gateway. This is your router's IP address. Type this number into the URL bar of any web browser and hit the Enter key to open your router's settings page.

Router login page

You will need to log in to this page using your username and password. If you don't know your username and password, the router is probably using the default username and password. You can find your router's default username and password by selecting your model on this website.

Wireless settings

Once you're inside your router's settings page, look for the wireless settings. Here, you should see the option to change your 802.11 band from 2.4GHz to 5GHz.

Changing your frequency is not the only thing you want to do, though -- you also want to make sure your router is operating on a control channel with as little traffic as possible. There are 11 channels on the 2.4GHz frequency, only three of which are non-overlapping (1, 6, and 11). There are 23 channels on the 5GHz frequency, all of which are non-overlapping. To find the channel that has the least traffic, you'll need to use a utility that can scan the networks in your area.

 

I like WifiInfoView, which is free. Simply download WifiInfoView, unzip the file, and run it, and you will be able to see all the networks in your area, what frequency they're using, and what channel they're on. Find the channel that has the least networks on it, and change your control channel to that one.

The frequency and channel you end up using will depend on the networks in your area and what you're looking to accomplish. The higher 5GHz frequency is not necessarily the best, it's just (often) the least used. However, it's important to note that while your signal may be stronger on the 5GHz frequency, it will not reach as far as it will on the 2.4GHz frequency. So if distance is your priority, you're better off sticking to the 2.4GHz frequency and one of the non-overlapping control channels with less traffic (usually 6 or 11).

MOVE YOUR ROUTER

Your router's physical location is more important than you imagine when it comes to dispensing a strong, even signal. Ideally, your router will be positioned as close to the middle of your target coverage area. Realistically, the cable guy who installed your Internet probably hid your router away in a corner somewhere.

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