Are there Wi-Fi dead zones in your home? Before doing anything drastic, you can fix it simply by moving your router.
It sounds fake because Wi-Fi seems like magic — something that can only be done better by wizards who understand its mysterious ways. But Wi-Fi is not magic. Your laptop and iPad connect to the Internet using age-old technology: radio waves.
And radio waves have limits. If you drive through a tunnel with the FM radio on, you’ll basically hear a bunch of static. This is because the signal from the radio tower cannot reach you underground. There are barriers that block the signal.
The same principle applies to your Wi-Fi: barriers between your router and your devices degrade the signal. Thus, the physical location of your device has a striking effect on your signal throughout the home.
Place your router in the center of your home
If you drop a pebble into a still pond, the ripples will move away from the point of impact in all directions.
Radio waves work pretty much the same way: they emanate from a central point in all directions. Keep this in mind when setting up your router: imagine the ripples moving away from the router in all directions.
With that in mind, the ideal position for your router should be as close to the middle of your home as possible. If your router is in one far corner of your house, you are sending most of the «ripples» out into the street, where they don’t really do anything for you; meanwhile, the corner of your house furthest from the router just picks up faint ripples (or nothing). Place your router in the middle of your home to get equal coverage everywhere.
And don’t forget to think about three dimensions too. In a three-story house, it’s probably best to place the router on the second floor, provided you want good signal on all three floors.
Keep your router outdoors
We realized: routers are ugly. You probably want to hide your router behind a shelf or closet. This may be an aesthetically good choice, but bad in terms of signal. You’re putting more barriers between you and your router, which means you’re degrading the signal before it gets into the room.
Consider driving through the tunnel again. The FM signal is not reaching your vehicle because the tunnel walls and the surrounding ground are blocking it. The same principle applies to your router: physical objects can block the signal.
Brick walls are notorious for this, but any physical object has an effect. Drywall, shelves, even furniture. A good rule of thumb is if you can see the router, you’re getting the best signal possible. If you can’t see it, you’ve reduced your signal right at the source.
Discouraged by your ugly router? Some companies solve this problem by making routers more attractive. Above is an example of Google OnHub .
Avoid your neighbor’s routers and devices like microwaves
Placing your router somewhere central and visible is a big part of the battle, but there are other things that can affect your signal. For example: Microwave ovens and cordless phones are known to interfere with 2.5 GHz routers.
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You can avoid this problem entirely by using the 5GHz band whenever possible, but older routers and devices don’t support it. If this is your situation, consider keeping your router away from cordless phones, microwave ovens, and other devices.
Another potential problem, especially if you live in an apartment building, is your neighbor’s router. We’ve shown you how to find the best channel for your router by providing tools that show the relative signal strength of all neighboring routers. You can use these tools to understand where your neighbor’s routers are and try to place your router elsewhere. (While you’re at it, you should try to find a channel your neighbors aren’t using.)
If moving your router doesn’t help
You’d be surprised how much this simple tip can help your signal — we’ve seen situations where moving the router just a couple of feet and holding it open fixes actual dead zones.
But these tips are not all. If moving your router doesn’t help, check out our guide to improving your wireless signal and finding sources of wireless interference. If you’re lucky, you might be able to fix your Wi-Fi problems without having to buy new hardware. But if your router is particularly old, or you have a large house with lots of thick walls, you may need a more powerful router, a few extra access points, or an easy-to-use mesh network to get full coverage.
CONNECTED:How to get a better wireless signal and reduce wireless interference