Improving Your Home Wi-Fi

Wi-Fi is like a magic blanket that gives people internet wirelessly. Once you get internet delivered to your house it should just be everywhere in your house no matter where you put your router right? Well there’s a little more to it than that. Having good Wi-Fi is very important to most people, but not everyone knows how it works and what could interfere with the signal. If you’re like most people you are probably running your entire home network off of the router your cable company provided you. This is an OK way of doing it if you don’t mind suboptimal coverage and so-so speeds. A lot of the time people will find there are certain areas of the house where their Wi-Fi will drop out or the signal is just not as strong, and they’ll just deal with it or get frustrated without actually doing anything about it. It can be a daunting task to try and improve your Wi-Fi on your own or know who to call for help. This will be a short write-up on some things you may not have known about Wi-Fi and some options you have to improve it, and if this seems like too much you can always call Cooper Technology Group for help.

There are several factors that can be interfering with your Wi-Fi signal throughout your home. Construction materials that were used to build your home can be a major limiting factor for signal strength. Dense materials like concrete, metal, and plaster will have a negative effect on the quality of Wi-Fi, glass will also degrade the signal.  Some other key contributors to your poor signal include; any appliances that are near your router(refrigerator, water heart), other devices that use a wireless signal like a garage door opener, distance, any other wireless network that is in close proximity to your own network, like in an apartment building for instance.

Now at this point you have a couple of options to improve your Wi-Fi predicament. Replacing the internet service provider’s router is a good start if you’ve had it for a long time and it has become outdated. Updating the router to one that is using 802.11 AC protocol should be a priority if it already isn’t. As with any technology it’s always evolving, 802.11AX is right around the corner. Make sure your new router has at least dual-band capability, meaning it can separate devices that connect to 2.4GHz or 5GHz respectively. There also routers, access points, and extenders that have band steering, meaning the network device will decide which band your wireless device should be on to optimize performance. Try to have it centrally located so it can broadcast the signal throughout the house and not just a portion of the home. This can be a tough task for some people depending on the layout of the house, where the service comes in, what kind of wires are in the house, and if there’s a possibility to run new wires, but hey that’s why you call a professional. If the router you have is up to date and it has the latest firmware you can try moving it to a less crowded Wi-Fi channel. You can check what channel your router is set to by logging into it; you can also change channels once you find the correct page with these settings. To find out the channel traffic in your area you can use a cell phone app like WiFiAnalyzer.

If replacing the router didn’t give you the signal coverage that you were hoping for the next step would be Wi-Fi extenders or access points. Wi-Fi extenders are easier to install since they are able to pick up your home network via your Wi-Fi and increase the range of the signal.  Make sure to install them in an area where you still have a good signal and the extender will pick it up and make it reach further. They just need to be plugged into a power outlet. An access point requires a hard wired Ethernet connection from the router to project its own Wi-Fi network. Most access points get power from the Ethernet wire through POE, (power over Ethernet); this usually comes from a special component like a switch that has this capability or a POE injector.  Putting multiple access points throughout the home will ensure optimal coverage and speed if you have a larger home.

If you follow any of these suggestions your Wi-Fi signal will improve. Depending on your situation you might only have to do one of these things or all of them. Hopefully you have a better understanding of how Wi-Fi works and some of things that can affect it. 

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