Have you ever wandered off to a quiet spot in your home, gotten comfortable, opened your laptop, and then realized you didn’t have a Wi-Fi signal? This is a problem with growing spaces—sometimes the Wi-Fi signal isn’t robust enough to make it to every square inch of your house. Too big of a space or the abundance of obstacles (like walls) can make it hard for the signal to reach your device.
What Is A Wi-Fi Dead Spot?
A Wi-Fi dead spot is an area of your home that doesn’t receive a Wi-Fi signal. You can find these dead spots by taking a device that receives a signal and walking around. The device will lose the signal as soon as you are in a dead spot.
What Do I Need To Do?
There are several options available for improving your Wi-Fi signal, and all vary in price and expected coverage. When comparing your options, keep these 6 things in mind:
- The number of users/devices that will need access to the network.
- The amount of coverage needed. Is the dead zone large? Are there multiple dead zones?
- Ease of setup. Are you able to change or expand if needed?
- Available analytics. Is there a way to manage and monitor the network (for business uses)?
- If consumer or commercial grade equipment is needed. Commercial grade may make more sense for a larger home.
- Cost. Some options are much more costly than others.
Keep reading for different options to improve your wifi signal so you can get the most out of your wireless network and avoid dead spots.
How To Get Rid Of Wi-Fi Dead Zones In Your House
1. Position Your Router
Position your router as close to the centre of your house as possible. Most people will have their router against whatever outside wall their cable or DSL line comes in from. While this is the simplest way to set up the router, it’s not the most effective. Look for a bookshelf or entertainment unit that might fit the bill. Avoid closets as any wall or door it has to go through will reduce the signal.
You will need an AC outlet and hardwired connection to your cable or DSL. It may sound complicated, but it’s much easier than most people think. There are several manufacturers of flat, very thin coaxial and ethernet cables so your router can reach a central spot. Many have adhesive backings so they stick to your walls.
It takes a bit of effort and planning, but taking the time to properly position your router will reduce the number of dead spots and dropped signals.
- Low cost (if any)
- Good option if you don’t have many devices trying to access the network
- A central location with access to an AC outlet might be difficult to find. Moving the router may solve some dead spots, but in a large space it might not reach all areas.
2. Configure Your Router
First, make sure your router’s wireless output power is set to 100%. Many routers come set at 75% or adjust automatically. This can be done by accessing your system’s settings online—each router is different so check the manual to find out how to access it.
Next, make sure you are using only one 802.11 protocol, and make sure all your connected devices are set to use the same one (here’s how to check on Mac or PC). Mixed mode operation can really slow down the router’s performance.
- No cost
- Easy solution/setup
- Requires some technical know-how
3. Raise The Antenna
Make sure your router’s antenna is up and not positioned horizontally. If that doesn’t help, you can upgrade the antenna on your router (if it can be easily removed). There is no software involved in changing the antenna—just screw the new one on and restart your router.
There are two basic types of antennas:
- Omnidirectional: delivers 360 degree coverage and allows connection from all directions.
- Directional: extends the reach of your network to a specific spot, focusing the signal in one direction as opposed to spreading it across 360 degrees.
If you are still finding dead spots with an antenna upgrade, signal boosters may be worth looking into.
- Low cost
- Easy setup
- Not all antennas can be removed
- Does not guarantee a boost in signal
4. Boost, Repeat, And Extend The Signal
Wi-Fi boosters, repeaters, and extenders all do the same thing: extend the coverage of your wireless network. These systems can double the coverage, reaching far corners of your home, different floors, or out in your yard.
Boosters work by receiving your existing Wi-Fi signal, amplifying it, then transmitting the boosted signal. Repeaters or extenders take an existing signal and rebroadcast it to create a second network.
A repeater or extender system contains two wireless routers: one to pick up the existing signal, and one to transmit a new, boosted signal from the other router.
In older models, the extender is communicating with both the router and the connected device on the same band, so bandwidth is cut in half. In newer extenders, this problem is reduced by using dual-band Wi-Fi.
Finding a location for the extender or booster is important to its success. Look for a power outlet about halfway between the existing router and where you want the Wi-Fi signal to reach.
- Extends Wi-Fi coverage significantly if set up correctly
- Slightly higher cost than some other options
5. Set Up A Homeplug Network
Homeplug networking (or powerline networking) uses existing electrical wiring to transmit internet signals from your router to any room in your home or office.
Homeplug adapters are sold in pairs, each with an ethernet cable. One adapter is plugged into an outlet near the router and connected to the router with the ethernet cable. The second adapter is plugged into the area where the signal is weak. The ethernet cable on the second adapter can be used to connect a device directly to the network, or by setting up another router.
The advantage of homeplug networking is there is no need for wiring since it uses existing wiring. The signal is long-range and is not affected by walls or other obstacles. Newer models can reach speeds as fast as 500Mbps, perfect for smart TVs and gaming consoles.
- Requires no additional wiring
- Ensures the network is available wherever the second adapter is located
- Relatively easy setup
- Cost is generally higher than other options
- More than the two adapters may be required to reach all areas of your space
6. Set Up A Mesh Network
If a booster or repeater doesn’t get the job done, a mesh network could be the solution.
Unlike other options, a mesh network is meant to replace your current router rather than work alongside it. Mesh systems create a whole new Wi-Fi network.
These systems are made up of multiple access points that can be managed as a single unit—they consist of two or more router-like devices that work together to give your space complete coverage. If you have more than one booster or extender, they cannot communicate with each other—just the main router. In the case of mesh networks, the Wi-Fi units can communicate with each other, meaning one unit can receive a signal from another to create a much larger network.
- Offers the widest coverage of all options
- Most expensive of all options
Reduce Wi-Fi Dead Spots In Your Home
There are a number of ways you can extend your Wi-Fi to cover all corners of your space, whether it’s your home or office.
All of these options are things you can do yourself. However, if you don’t have the time or know-how, we do! There’s always a Nerd who would be happy to help you out. Contact us today.