Wireless internet: How to get the most out of it

Thursday, 12 January, 2017

Wireless internet has revolutionised the way we live our lives. It has changed the way we work and even how we access entertainment. But despite all the positive impacts it has had and all the doors it has opened, it is still seen by some as wired internet’s poor cousin due to boasting reduced speeds and of course the chance of signal disappearing completely – right in the middle of a really tense moment in your favourite TV show.

So what can you do if you’re having issues?  Here are some basic steps you can take to boost your wireless signal.

Reboot your router

This often overlooked and idiot-proof trick is one of the best ways to boost the wireless signal in your home. Routers are essentially small computers, with memory, a processor and an operating system built in. And just like your PC, they benefit from a restart every so often.

The majority of internet service providers assign a temporary IP address to each mobile device in order to help it send and receive information. This means that the IP address for a laptop or mobile phone can change at any time, and when your router doesn’t realise this change, it causes the network connection to get out of sync.

Update your router’s firmware

Manufacturers are always tweaking the software in routers in order to push out a heightened performance and increase the speed, but this doesn’t mean you have to invest in the latest model to keep your Wi-Fi running smoothly. You can simply update the firmware to keep it running like new. The modern routers will require you to simply press the firmware upgrade button, whereas older ones will require you to find and download the firmware from the manufacturer’s website.

Change its position

It’s no secret that the closer you are to a router, the better signal will be. If you’re experiencing a poor signal everywhere, look into moving the router to somewhere more central – or to where you use the wireless the most. This should boost your signal when and where you need it.

Invest in range extenders

Routers are only capable of pushing a reliable signal up to a certain distance, with the further away you find yourself, the weaker the signal. If you find yourself away from the router, you might want to consider range extenders to help boost your signal. They essentially work by picking up the existing Wi-Fi signal from the router and rebroadcasting it. Range extenders are also a good option if walls are thick.

Consider appliance interference

A whole host of household appliances can cause wireless interference, including cordless phones and microwaves. Although you can’t get rid of all these appliances, you can take steps to halt interference.

Cordless phones are the most difficult to overcome as you’ll need to purchase a phone that operates on a frequency that isn’t 2.4 Ghz. The microwave issue can usually by solved by making sure it isn’t in line of the signal.

There are other devices that can hinder signal, such as baby monitors, which operate similar to cordless phones, and older Bluetooth devices.

Have you found any other ways to boost your wireless signal? Let us know!