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If you have a wireless network installed in your home, you know that getting perfect reception can be tricky. Things like the simplest electrical devices can cause enough interference to reduce your wireless network range by up to 30%. You can improve your range by installing the router away from other electronics, changing the channel, and using a hi-gain antenna.
First, make sure your wireless router is installed in a central location, preferably mounted on a wall, and as far away as possible from other devices also running on 2.4 GHz, such as microwave ovens, baby monitors, and cordless phones. Even Bluetooth® gadgets can cause trouble and affect the range of your wireless network. Anything from closed doors to odd corners can cause interference, so try to install the wireless router as close as possible to the source. Metal objects in general can also cause interference, as do windows and electronics.
Once you have found the perfect place for your wireless router, try switching the channels until you find a frequency that works. Most routers come pre-programmed to run on channel 1 or 11, but they can also run without problems on other channels. If you suspect that your neighbors may also have wireless routers in their homes, it is possible that the interference is coming from them. Test different channels before settling on one.
If all fails, consider replacing the original antenna that came with the router. A wireless network range can benefit greatly from a hi-gain antenna, which directs all signals in one particular direction, rather than a standard antenna, which is omni-directional. An omni-directional antenna can often misdirect signals towards walls, which diminishes the capacity of the router. You can also consider adding a wireless repeater, which simply amplifies the signal when positioned between the router and the computer, ensuring a better reception.
Sometimes, you have no choice but to upgrade your router if you want to noticeably improve its range. Old Wi-Fi™ routers have an output of 11-megabits-per-second, while the latest models can reach 280 mbps.
For myself, I found a good route to go was to make sure I stayed consistent with my equipment. Keeping your wireless router and network adaptor from the same brand family can boost your signal as they are better in tune to work with one another.
I also noticed than when my network suddenly slowed considerably that I had to update all of my drivers. I didn't know that if they were out of date that it could effect my signal strength. Most computers come with software that will let you know if your programs are out of date. If not, I would suggest checking at least once a month.
Does anyone else have any other tips for improving your wireless network range?
I find that to improve my wireless network range I had to move it off of my metal filing cabinet. I had no idea that that would interfere with the signal until a coworker mentioned it to me.
Also, as odd as it may sound, keeping your wireless router away from walls helps improve the signal. I always thought the signal would have no trouble moving through a wall, but I guess it does interfere.
For extended range you can also buy a wireless repeater, which boosts the signal. You can just put it halfway between your router and where the signal is heading.