Increase Your Wireless Network Signal Strength

If you’ve installed a wireless network at your home or business, you may find your goal of “less desk, more freedom” is hampered by low signal strength, interference, and dropped connections.

You may also discover that your wireless network covers only half of your business, or that the signal barely seems to penetrate into the next room.

Insufficient range is a common problem for many wireless networks, but there are ways to extend your coverage area into the places you need it most.

1. Center your router. Setting up a wireless network is all about location. Unfortunately, it’s hard to know exactly what your coverage area will be before you install the equipment.

If possible, place your wireless router in the center of the area you wish to cover. The omnidirectional antennas on most routers radiate in a doughnut-shaped pattern around the pole. If your router is located in a corner of your office building, much of that radiation pattern will fall outside your home. Also, consider mounting your router high on a wall or ceiling far away from furniture and shelving that can impede or block Wi-Fi signals.

2. Add antennas or repeaters. You can use a wireless repeater to extend your range. Repeaters receive data packets and retransmit them at full power. Repeaters can also be difficult to install, especially if you’re new to networking. Keep in mind that repeaters tend to rely on proprietary solutions that are vendor specific and work only when you use the same brand of router and repeater.

Still, a repeater can significantly increase the range of your wireless network and is well worth considering if you want to add a few rooms to your coverage area.