So you went out and bought yourself the latest state-of-the-art wireless router for your home but somehow you still have areas, such as your back deck or basement that don’t get a decent signal. Unfortunately technology is not to the point yet where things like walls, pipes or other items will not work to reduce a signal. As a matter fact sometimes it seems to me like the sun and the moon take their toll on my Wi-Fi signals well.
The good news is there are a few tricks and tips that can allow you to capture that all elusive strong signal. Some of these tips are simple and easy to do and some will require investing of some cash and/or time to accomplish. On that note let’s get started so you can begin getting the best signal possible, as soon as possible.
Consider moving your router (if possible) to a more central location in your home. In other words if you have a basement, ground floor and a second floor think about moving it to a central area on the ground floor. This could be an easy task if you’re running cable for your ISP and there is a jack in every room. Then again it could be difficult if you receive your Internet through the phone company (DSL) and don’t necessarily have a phone jack where you may need it. Just do the best you can and if you don’t get a strong signal then implement one of the other tips.
Think about investing in a range extender for your router. These little pieces of equipment basically take the Wi-Fi signal from your router and rebroadcast it in whatever area of your home you put it in. So if you’re looking to get a strong signal on your back deck just install one of these between where the routers signal starts to drop off and the area you want to cover. The extender will then rebroadcast that signal across your back deck allowing you access to the Internet.
I installed one of these to cover our family room in my home since the router was installed in the front bedroom and not providing a strong signal at the back of the house. To locate the best point in the family room for that installation I simply used my cell phones Wi-Fi detector to determine where the best signal was and then plugged it in at that location. These extenders can be as big as your existing router or as small as a USB hub that simply plugs into a wall outlet.
Be warned about these devices though because I had to go through several different makes before I found one that would actually communicate correctly with my router.
Did you know you could use your home wiring as a range extender? There kits on the market that will allow you to simply plug a unit into a receptacle by your router and then attach a simple RJ-45 network cable between it and your router. You then install a similar unit in the area where you want to gain access to the Internet. Once installed you can then either attach a network cable between the unit and your device (if possible) or attach one of the range extenders mentioned in tip two.
One hiccup these pieces of equipment may experience though is that they may not function well if your home has old wiring or not at all if you’re trying to take them through a surge protector. Having used these in the past I have found them to be an iffy proposition at best.
Do you have an old router sitting around your home? If so then try setting it up as an access point for other devices. This will allow you to re-purpose that old router into something akin to a range extender and it’s a fairly simple process to do. This can be hardwired to the newer router or function via Wi-Fi back to it.
I left this tip for last simply because it will require the most work. This option is also my favorite since it provides you with a strong connection every time. That being said here we go.
This tip involves running a Cat 5 or gigabit cable from your router down to an area close to where you want to gain Internet access. This cable can be run inside of the home (not advisable since you will be fishing this stuff through the walls) or on the exterior of your home using outdoor cable. The cable is fairly simple to run and the end pieces are really no big deal to install either, that is once you get the tool from Home Depot.
This is the option I chose when I wanted the best connection possible for streaming video to my TV. This option is immune to things like interference from walls, pipes and whatever else may decide to affect your wireless signal. Once the wire is run to where you want it to be just plug it into a dumb hub and then start plugging devices into the hub via an RJ-45 cable or simply install a range extender mentioned in tip two to acquire Wi-Fi.
I’ll give you one quick story of how this type of installation had a benefit I didn’t expect. My wife works for an organization it is very security conscious and they will not allow her laptop to connect through a Wi-Fi that is not their own. Well needless to say this makes it a big problem when she wants to work from home and the laptop keeps rejecting the connection.
The addition of the hardwired Jack back to the router made it possible for her to simply plug in using an RJ-45 cable and then access the Internet directly through that connection. As a matter fact once you have installed one of these runs you’ll find it is so easy that you may want to put them in several different areas of the house, each having their own separate connection back to your router.
You can see exactly how I installed my system by clicking the link below.
So there you have it 5 quick tips on how to get a better Wi-Fi signal in your home, back deck, basement or even in a workshop that is detached from the house.
Good luck and get started installing.