How to Build a Strong WiFi Network
- 26 May, 2022
Place Your Router Correctly
Where your router is situated is the first step toward building an optimal WiFi network. A router sends out WiFi signal in all around it. It needs to be in a central location for optimal performance. If your device has a direct line of site to the router it will have the best signal. Anything that gets in the way, especially building materials, will have a negative impact on the signal. Placing your router too near a wall, or hidden away in a far room will mean that your signal is weak throughout the rest of the building.
- Set up your router in a central location
- Make sure it has excellent line of site to your main device
- Put your router in a higher place such as on a bookshelf.
- Keep it as far away from windows as you can. Glass destroys signal.
- Stay clear from metal. Metal reflects and absorbs WiFi signal.
- Clear away any other devices such as baby monitors that use the same frequencies as your router and may cause congestion.
- Don't try and wedge your router in a place it is not meant to go. If it is supposed to be horizontal, don't force it onto a corner where it is vertical, or hang it upside down.
There are various ways that you can extend your WiFi network. Range extenders and mesh networks are two of the most popular options.
A range extender is perfect for those people who have large homes with lots of brick. Awkwardly shaped buildings are WiFi signal traps, creating all sorts of dead zones. To get around this you can use a WiFi extender. These neat little gadgets plug into a wall or can sit on top of a solid surface like a desk. They work by creating a new network as an extension of your existing one. When you move from place to place, your device connects to the network that is the strongest. Range extenders are best for smaller areas, typically about 30m2-180m2.
Make sure you are up to Standard
The current WiFi standard is WiFi6 or 802.11ax, or 802.11a/x/c called Wi-Fi 6E. Although this sounds confusing, it’s just the newest name for a system that has been around and evolving for a while. WiFi 1, or 802.11b came out in 1997. Since then, the network has gotten faster, stronger and more available to everyone. Your router that still loyally works to keep you connected every day may be older and use an older protocol. It’s likely that if it is older than a year it’s only able to use WiFi 5.
At the same time, it is wise to make sure that your router is dual band. Most WiFi is broadcast on two frequencies, 2.4GHz and 5GHz. As we mentioned earlier, there are a whole bunch of devices that use the 2.4Ghz frequency, which makes it quite congested. Imagine a road with a whole lot of vehicles, all trying to get somewhere. Next to it is another road with only cars, and much fewer of them. 2.4GHz is the road with all sorts of vehicles, and 5GHz is the road with only cars. A dual band router opens up your network for more traffic over faster speeds.
Use the Best Tech
When you are setting up your WiFi network it is important to use the best tech that you can. Many mobile network operators offer modems that do a passable job of supplying WiFi signal, but if you really want a good strong network, you should invest in a decent router. Likewise, make sure that all your cabling, extenders and antennas are of the best quality that you can get.
WiFi leeches are everywhere. Making sure that your network is password protected and encrypted will not only keep it clear of unauthorized traffic but will also help to keep your data safe. If you have a lot of guests on your network, create a separate guest network with a limited range and a different password. Be sure to change both your main network and guests network’s password on a regular basis.
Get a Better Antenna
No matter what network you are using, you need to be able to receive a signal. Most WiFi routers and modems come with little built in antennas. Some have internal ones that you can't see, and others have whip antennas on the outside. Either way these are far away from what you could be using to get the best WiFi signal in your building. Good WiFi antennas tend to be quite large, especially if you are wanting to get a signal from a faraway WISP station. This is the main reason for people sticking with their little standard antennas. If size doesn't bother you, getting a great WiFi antenna can make all the difference to your network.
When in Doubt, Reboot
Sometimes after you have built your perfect WiFi network, you still have weak signal. Your antennas are all aligned, your mesh network is perfectly positioned, and yet your devices still only have a weak connection. The answer may be as simple as rebooting your new router. Turn it off, wait 10 seconds and turn it on. You may find that, as if by magic, your carefully crafted network is up to full strength.
Bolton Technical is your go-to for the best range of cellular signal boosters, WiFi routers, range extenders and more. We specialize in custom made, consumer friendly kits, RF systems for cellular and WiFi. If you have any questions, or want to find out more about routers or signal boosters, don’t hesitate to contact us at 011 749 3085.