Improving Your Wi-Fi Signal

Have you ever sat outside on the back porch trying to use your tablet/phone or laptop only to be disappointed with a slow connection or worse yet, no connection at all? Maybe, you have tried to stream a movie in another room and your video jerks to a full stop? If these and other experiences with Wi-Fi “dead zones” have you frustrated, read on, there may be a Wi-Fi solution that works for you.

There are some simple things we can do at home to improve our Wi-Fi signal.  Here are a few remedies that might help you solve your Wi-Fi woes.

Securing your Wi-Fi Network
While not related to the range of your Wi-Fi signal, one of the first things to consider is whether or not your home network is password protected and closed.  If your Wi-Fi network is open, you should close it.  There are Wi-Fi “moochers” who get their Internet access for free by pilfering someone else’s bandwidth and slowing down networks.  Additionally, it’s important to keep people who may have malicious or criminal intent off your network as well.  Generally, this is a greater problem in cities than in rural settings, due to the proximity of houses and apartments, but even in rural areas your signal may be seen by neighbors hundreds of yards away.

Location of Your Wireless Router
The next important consideration is where you have your wireless router located.  Most of us try to hide our routers in closets or cabinets as they usually don’t fit into our décor schemes.  Unfortunately, barriers like walls and doors degrade signal strength.  Placing your router in a more central location in your home should improve signal strength.  However, sometimes just moving the router to that central location may not help, particularly if you are trying to reach outdoor places such as your patio or deck.  The building materials in our homes can hamper signal reach. Things like metal siding, and HVAC ducting can play havoc with your Wi-Fi signal too.  An additional consideration on router placement, is the router’s placement in the proximity of devices which could impact your signal.  Cordless phones, fluorescent lights, and microwaves may all interfere with your Wi-Fi signal.  If you are living in close proximity of your neighbor, you may need to be aware that their household appliances might also interfere with your signal.

Changing Your Router Settings
If you are comfortable with adjusting your router settings, you can make changes to the router which may also improve your signal.  The easiest adjustment is to simply change the channel your router is communicating on.  If your router has the ability, you can also change which frequency is being used.  By switching to the 5GHz band instead of using the more common 2.4GHz band you may see improved performance.

Adjusting the Antennas
This may seem very elementary, but probably the easiest thing to do to improve performance is to adjust or replace your router’s antenna/s. While simplistic, it sometimes can increase signal performance greatly.  Typically, the antennas on today’s routers produce a circular ‘omni’ signal that radiates very well along the sides of the antenna but not so much out the tip. Depending on the placement of your router, you will want to angle the antenna perpendicular to where you sit in order to achieve optimum signal strength.

Improving Signal Range
If you are really feeling creative and you have a little bit of MacGyver in you, you can manufacture a home-made parabolic-dish to attach to the antenna. The Internet is full of ideas on how to do this, and beyond giving youself a really cool home project to do, it may also improve your signal range.

Professional Help
Sometimes however, the easy fixes just don’t do enough to improve the router signal strength.  This may require you to buy additional Wi-Fi equipment to get the performance you are looking for.  Fortunately, there are some other options that Pioneer can help you with.  These come in the form of repeaters, access points and specialized antennas, which can transform your Wi-Fi dead spots into Wi-Fi sweet spots.

Pioneer is happy to visit your location and analyze your current Wi-Fi capabilities.  We can then make recommendations on what equipment is needed to get the Wi-Fi reception that you are searching for.  If your home or business Wi-Fi has you pulling your hair out, give us a call and let us see what we can do for you.

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