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  • Writer's pictureNorm McLaughlin

5 Ways to Improve Your Home WiFi


home wifi problems brisbane
It's so much easier to get online with your devices when you have a reliable WiFi network at home

If you're struggling with the quality of your home WiFi, you're not alone. It's a fairly common issue. You may find that your internet speed when connected to WiFi is rather low, or that you can’t connect at all when you’re too far away from your wireless router. The good news is that it's usually possible to improve the quality of your WiFi network at home. Let's look at five ways in which you might accomplish this.


1. Purchase a Higher Quality Router


Most people use the router supplied to them by their Internet Service Provider (ISP). For many people this is adequate, depending on the size of your home and the devices you're using to get online. It goes without saying, however, that any router supplied as part of your contract with your ISP will be a somewhat basic model.


As with most things in life, you get what you pay for as far as the quality of the WiFi signal generated by your router goes. In general, the more you spend on your wireless router the better will be the quality of the device, and the more powerful the WiFi signal transmitted. I once had a client whose WiFi download speeds were less than 20 Mbps with the router supplied by his ISP. He spent several hundred dollars on a superior quality WiFi router and as a result was achieving speeds in the 80-100 Mbps range, which was comparable to what he was observing when using a wired ethernet connection.


In shopping for a better router, make sure you do your research in terms of the reach you require in your home. This will mean you’ll have to be aware of the distance from the position of your router to the farthest corners of your home or yard, and make sure you purchase a device which is capable of transmitting satisfactorily over this distance. You'll also need to factor in how many walls there may be blocking the path from your router to the desired locations in your home.


2. Use a WiFi Range Extender


Using a WiFi Range Extender is probably the lowest cost and most commonly utilised solution by home users in an effort to boost the reach of their home WiFi. These range extenders or boosters function by simply taking the existing WiFi signal and retransmitting it with greater strength. You can then connect either to the original WiFi network or to the new one(s) created by the extender. Or, if the booster is configured appropriately, your wireless devices will automatically use whichever signal is strongest, assuming they have the same WiFi network name (SSID).


3. Use a Powerline Kit With a WiFi Access Point


Sometimes the problem with your internet installation at home is that the WiFi router is located in an unsuitable location in your home and can’t be physically moved. For example your connection to the outside world may be located in your garage, via a telephone socket or optical fibre installation. Because the equipment supplied by your ISP needs to be connected there you're left with a WiFi signal transmitting from that location which may not have adequate reach for your home.


A Powerline kit is a means of using the existing electrical wiring in your home to extend your home network. These kits contain two adapters which are plugged into your standard electrical sockets. The first one is plugged in in the vicinity of your original router and then connected to one of the LAN ports on the router using an ethernet cable. The second one is plugged in at the location to which you wish to extend your network. By using a Powerline kit with a WiFi access point you can create a second WiFi network in your home. You can then choose to connect any WiFi device to whichever network is most suitable, depending on your location in the house.


4. Add an Additional Router


By adding a second wireless router as a wireless access point at a more convenient location in your home you can create an additional WiFi network which is much more likely to service your needs. If you live in a recently built home which has been cabled appropriately with ethernet wall ports in the various rooms then this is much easier to accomplish. All you will need to do is to connect your additional router to one of the ethernet ports and make sure that the original router is connected to the appropriate port for that specific room.


If you don’t have the luxury of a home that is already cabled in this way, you can use a Powerline kit to achieve a similar outcome. The second router is connected via ethernet to the Powerline adapter in the same way as if you had an ethernet socket on the wall.


When connecting your new router to the ethernet wall socket or Powerline adapter you can connect either using a LAN or a WAN port. If you connect to a LAN port you are simply extending the original network and you’ll need to make sure the gateway IP address of the second router is in the same range used by the first router, and that DHCP is disabled. If connecting to a WAN port you are effectively creating a second subnetwork in your home and you should make sure the gateway IP address is not in the range used by the first router, and that DHCP is enabled.


Whether you connect to a LAN or a WAN port, you should then also configure the WiFi network name (SSID) of your additional WiFi network, together with your desired security settings. This should be a different name than that used by the original router. You could also choose to disable WiFi transmission from the original router so that you have a single WiFi network in your home.


5. Use a Mesh Router


A Mesh Router is a type of router which is used with what are known as satellites in order to create a network in your home which is accessible from multiple points. The satellites capture the router’s WiFi signal and rebroadcast it. You can install as many satellites as required at various locations in your home in order to achieve the desired WiFi coverage. The technology used results in a much better solution than that offered by using straightforward range extenders, however it is significantly more expensive.


Conclusion


So there you have five possible ways in which you can set up your home with higher quality WiFi than you have at the moment. Which one you choose is likely to depend on your budget and perhaps your level of confidence in setting up the technical aspects.


Whether you're having issues with your WiFi or any other sort of computer-related problem, please don't hesitate to get in touch. I'm here to help and I cover a wide range of suburbs in Brisbane, and in the City of Ipswich, Logan City and the Redlands.

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