How to extend Wi-Fi range: 12 ways to boost your signal
November 4, 2022
Have you ever gotten up and moved to another area of your home only to have your Wi-Fi connection interrupted?
If you can relate to this, then you know how annoying it can be, desperately searching "how to extend Wi-Fi range" or thinking about buying a new router. After all, slow or spotty Wi-Fi is almost as inconvenient as no Wi-Fi at all.
Fortunately, your search has paid off.
We've compiled 12 ways you can boost your Wi-Fi signal at home, including:
- Restart your router
- Reposition your router
- Update your router’s firmware
- Invest in a Wi-Fi extender
- Disconnect unused devices
- Switch to 2.4GHz instead of 5GHz
- Add an antenna to your router
- Keep out unauthorized users
- Check your wired internet speed
- Use a mesh Wi-Fi network
- Change your router’s channel
- Replace your router
Let’s get started!
Before making any drastic changes to your Wi-Fi setup in hopes to boost its signal, try restarting your router. You can do this by unplugging your router for 30 seconds and then plugging it back in or by pressing and holding your router’s reset button. In some cases, this can help fix a router that has been performing poorly.
In some instances, moving your router to a different location can do wonders for its range. Ideally, a Wi-Fi router should be out in the open and toward the center of your home. If you hide your router in a cabinet or behind other objects, you could be blocking its reach. Also, to help increase Wi-Fi range and minimize interferences, avoid placing your router on the floor or near any large metal objects or your microwave.
Many Wi-Fi router manufacturers release firmware updates that can help improve your router’s performance. Updating your router’s firmware may also have additional Wi-Fi enhancements, such as security improvements and new features.
For some routers, you may be able to initiate the update by accessing your Wi-Fi router’s settings on your web browser. To do this, type your router’s IP address into your web browser and hit “Enter.” From there, you should be able to log in and look for an update option. To learn exactly how to update the firmware of your router, follow your router's manual.
Using a Wi-Fi extending device is another great way to boost your Wi-Fi signal. Wi-Fi extenders work by capturing and rebroadcasting the signal from your router, allowing it to reach farther than it previously could. These devices are usually cheap and easy to install. This can be especially useful if you have a large home and notice your Wi-Fi connection suffering in specific areas.
Another possible way to help improve your Wi-Fi connection is to disconnect any internet devices you don’t regularly use, like an old gaming console or smart home device. Eliminating devices that could be hogging your bandwidth may help improve your router’s performance.
Depending on your Wi-Fi router, you may have the option to choose between two different frequency bands: 2.4GHz or 5GHz. Many people use 5GHz, as it offers faster internet speeds and lower ping. But these faster speeds come with a cost, as 5GHz Wi-Fi signals can’t reach as far as 2.4GHz. Also, 2.4GHz signals are better at penetrating obstacles such as walls, making it a better choice for maximizing your range.
One of the best ways to extend Wi-Fi range is to add an antenna to your router. Even if your router only comes with an internal antenna, adding an external antenna is a great way to achieve an extended Wi-Fi range. To figure out if your router supports external antennas, read through your router’s manual. In many cases, the router manufacturer will sell external antennas separately.
If your Wi-Fi network is set to public, it’s possible that your network could be getting slowed down by unauthorized users, like your neighbors. To solve this problem, you can secure your Wi-Fi network by adding a password, which will kick off any users that aren’t supposed to be using your network. Not only can keeping unauthorized users off your network keep it running faster, but it can protect you from anyone that may be trying to hack your router.
While you might assume that your Wi-Fi issues have to do with your router, it’s possible that there could be an issue with the wired internet coming into your house. To check this, you’ll need to connect an Ethernet cable between your modem and your computer. Then, you’ll want to run an internet speed test and see if your current download speeds match what you’re paying for. If they don’t, then you should contact your internet service provider and report the issue.
Like a Wi-Fi extender, a mesh Wi-Fi network is a solid option for extending your Wi-Fi range. Unlike a regular router, mesh Wi-Fi networks involve the use of two or more routers. First, you attach one of the devices to your existing router and then place the second (and third, if necessary) mesh device in another location in your home. These mesh devices work together to extend the range of Wi-Fi by producing an extended wireless network with a far larger coverage area than a single router.
If you live in a densely populated location, your router could be interfering with others in the area, leading to a decreased performance. It's also possible that other devices can impact your speeds, such as wireless phone systems and microwaves.
With many newer routers, you can set your channel to “Automatic,” which usually works to avoid any complications. If you have an older router, check your owner’s manual to learn how you can change your router’s channel. If you’re using 2.4GHz, you’ll likely want to stick to channels 1, 6, and 11, as they don’t overlap with other channels.
If trying these solutions doesn’t fix your problem, it may be time to upgrade to a new router. Like many different types of technology, Wi-Fi has evolved over the years, leading to better routers with improved range and connection speeds.
When purchasing a router, be sure to do your research and select one that best suits your internet needs. Some routers have higher maximum speeds and ranges than others, so it’s important to choose one that’s capable of producing the internet speed you’re paying for.
Now that you know how to extend your Wi-Fi range, you can surf, stream, and play from anywhere in your house. To enhance your home Wi-Fi experience even more, be sure to also follow best practices for keeping your home Wi-Fi safe.
FAQs about how to extend Wi-Fi range
Follow along to learn the answers to some common questions about how to extend the range of Wi-Fi.
How do I extend my Wi-Fi signal to another building 400 feet away?
One of the simplest ways to extend your wireless network is to use a Wi-Fi extender. Before purchasing one, be sure to do your research and buy one that can reach your desired range.
How far can I extend my Wi-Fi range?
Some Wi-Fi extenders may allow you to boost your home Wi-Fi up to 2,500 feet. Please note that this isn’t a hard-and-fast range, as it can vary based on your environment and the strength of your Wi-Fi extending device.
What is the difference between a Wi-Fi extender and booster?
In most cases, Wi-Fi extenders and boosters are the same thing. There isn’t a clearly defined difference between an extender and a booster — both are devices designed to improve Wi-Fi coverage. It mainly depends on what the manufacturer decides to call their device.
What can I use to extend my Wi-Fi signal?
To extend your Wi-Fi signal, you can use:
- A Wi-Fi extender
- A mesh Wi-Fi network
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