Not all places are equally suitable for your router. To start with, you want to avoid placing your router close to metal objects and appliances that emit electromagnetic waves. Metal is the top disrupter of a Wi-Fi signal, and its presence close to a Wi-Fi router can easily create a large dead zone.
Other materials, including glass, wood, plastics, foam, and cardboard, can also disrupt a Wi-Fi signal but their influence of Wi-Fi signal strength tends to less severe. Keep in mind that many buildings use metal studs (rather than 2x4 wood) for the particle board mounting, and placing your router close to them would be a bad idea. When in doubt, use a handheld stud finder or at least a stud finder app on your smartphone.
Strictly speaking, all household appliances emit electromagnetic waves to some degree, even fluorescent lightbulbs, circuit breakers, and electric razors. The biggest emitters of electromagnetic waves tend to be found in the kitchen, and they include stoves, microwave ovens, and dishwashers.
Other problematic appliances are washing machines, tumble dryers, televisions, cordless phones, and radiant heaters. If you have any of these appliances at home, keep your Wi-Fi router as far away from them as possible to boost Wi-Fi signal.
Ideally, you also want to keep a safe distance from electric wires. To cover an area with an even Wi-Fi signal, you should place your Wi-Fi router roughly in the center. You can slightly boost your wireless signal by elevating the router above the floor level.
Wi-Fi signals radiate outward in all directions, not just horizontally. When your router is on the floor, its ability to emit strong signals is severely limited. For the same reason, people who live in multi-store houses should always locate a Wi-Fi router near the ceiling on the first floor. This way, even the second floor will receive consistent coverage.
NetSpot for Android offers a great way to troubleshoot Wi-Fi coverage and select the best placement for your router with just a mobile device at hand. You can build Wi-Fi heatmaps directly on your mobile device (in-app purchase required for the heatmaps on device).
If you follow the news, you’ve heard about the growing number of large-scale malware attacks that are costing businesses and individuals alike billions every year. Many of these attacks wouldn’t be possible if all routers were kept updated. Once a malware infects a router, it can steal bandwidth and spread itself across the network to other devices.
But even without a presence of a dangerous malware, routers with old firmware perform worse than routers that are properly updated.
To check if your router is running the newest firmware available:
Most Wi-Fi routers come with small, weak antennas. It’s not that manufacturers want to save every cent they can, but powerful Wi-Fi antennas tend to be hideously large. Compared to the antenna that came with your router, which probably is just a few inches tall and has around 4 dB gain, a 10-dB antenna can be anywhere between 10 to 15 inches tall.
But if you don’t mind the size, a new, powerful Wi-Fi antenna is a great way to boost Wi-Fi at home or office without buying a new router.
There are several different types of Wi-Fi antennas, but the only type you need to care about is the common “rubber duck” antenna, which is an electrically short monopole antenna that consists of a springy wire in the shape of a narrow helix, sealed in a rubber or plastic jacket to protect the antenna.
Such antennas use the same RP-SMA connector, and there are many different models available on Amazon and other online stores. Some even come with a handy extension cable that allows you to place the antenna farther away from your router to achieve optimal signal distribution.
An encrypted, password-protected Wi-Fi is a must in this day and age. With more people than ever relying on Wi-Fi, the hunger for open, fast Wi-Fi networks is real. Don’t think that your neighbors won’t use your wireless network just because they have their own — they will.
You should encrypt your Wi-Fi and protect it with a strong password that can’t be easily guessed. A strong password should:
Even though they are referred to by many names, Wi-Fi boosters, repeaters, and extenders are basically the same thing.
Wi-Fi repeaters are relatively simple devices that take an existing signal from your Wi-Fi router and rebroadcast it as a new network. This new network is just an extension of your main network, and all data that go through it also go through the main network.
Wi-Fi boosters and extenders are very similar, but they also amplify the existing signal before rebroadcasting it to create a second network. Because Wi-Fi boosters typically have greater range than Wi-Fi repeaters, they make sense in situations where the original signal is very weak.
A good repeater or booster costs less than $100, and it can be installed in a few minutes by anyone since the installation process usually involves only the press of the WPS button. You can find a list of the top Wi-Fi boosters here.
To achieve the best performance when using a Wi-Fi repeater or booster, it’s a good idea to use a Wi-Fi booster app like NetSpot to analyze existing Wi-Fi coverage and determine the optimal way to extend the existing Wi-Fi network.
Just like lanes on the highway, there are multiple Wi-Fi channels on which a Wi-Fi router can broadcast. Their exact number depends on which frequency band is used (with minor variations based on your geographical location due to local regulations).
Data transmitted in the 2.4 GHz frequency band is frequently slowed down by noisy traffic jams because most countries have four non-overlapping channels (1, 6, 11, and 14) in this part of the Wi-Fi network frequency spectrum, with each channel being just 20 MHz wide.
To make the problem even worse, many users leave their router set on the default channel, which is usually either Channel 1 or Channel 6.
This results in a Wi-Fi traffic jam as too many packets are trying to drive on the same line. The solution is simple: find out which channel is occupied the least and switch to it. This can be done with the help of NetSpot, a professional and easy-to-use Wi-Fi analysis and surveillance tool.
With a new channel selected, you need to tell your Wi-Fi router to use it:
You can now verify that your router is broadcasting on the new channel using a Wi-Fi network analyzer like NetSpot.
Fortunately, wireless traffic jams occur far less often in the 5 GHz and 6 GHz bands. That’s because there are far more channels available, and their width can also be greater. In the 5 GHz band, there are 25 non-overlapping 20 MHz channels, and the 6 GHz band is home to 59 non-overlapping 20 MHz channels (or 7 super-wide 160 MHz channels).
What’s more, Wi-Fi routers that support the 5 GHz and 6 GHz bands tend to be smart enough to pick the most suitable channel automatically, so it’s seldom necessary to manually change it to a different one. But should you need to do so, the steps to follow will be the same as when changing channels in the 2.4 GHz band.
It takes just one bandwidth-hungry application or a client to make download and upload speeds come to a crawl for everyone else on the same Wi-Fi network. Luckily, modern routers support services like QoS (Quality of Service), which allow users to prioritize certain applications over others.
With QoS, your online gaming session won’t ever be interrupted again by a person watching a 1440p video on YouTube or downloading a huge Linux distribution from the Internet.
To change your router’s QoS settings:
Some routers make it very easy to configure QoS settings, while other routers are far from intuitive. When in doubt, consult the manufacturer of your router.
The newest wireless technologies — IEEE 802.11ac (Wi-Fi 5) and 802.11ax (Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E) — offer superior download and upload speeds as well as improved range compared to older Wi-Fi technologies, such as IEEE 802.11b, g, and others. To take advantage of the latest Wi-Fi technologies to boost home Wi-Fi, you need to make sure that both your home router and your Wi-Fi-enabled devices, such as smartphones and laptops, support them.
When selecting a new Wi-Fi router with support for IEEE 802.11ac or, better yet, 802.11ax, don’t pick the most affordable model you can find. Unless your budget is very strict, it’s always worth spending extra to purchase a router with an excellent range and modern features such as MU-MIMO, Quality of Service, guest networks, gigabit Ethernet ports, and replaceable external antennas.
A good router should be able to serve you well for at least five years, which is approximately how long it usually takes for a major new Wi-Fi technology to become mainstream. One such technology is right around the corner, and its name is 802.11be (Wi-Fi 7). This upcoming amendment of the 802.11 IEEE standard is expected to be finalized in 2024, and it should make it possible for wireless connections to reach wired speeds.
We recommend the best Wi-Fi 6 routers from leading manufacturers, so all you need to do is pick one that fits your budget.
The 5 GHz wireless frequency and the recently introduced 6 GHz wireless frequency both provide faster data rates at shorter distances and are typically much less busy than the 2.4 GHz frequency band. If your router supports any of them, consider switching to it for an instant short-range speed boost.
How to boost your Wi-Fi by switching your router to 5 GHz or 6 GHz:
Note: All routers are different, and the steps you need to follow enabled 5 GHz or 6 GHz Wi-Fi on your router may be completely different from those described above.
One downside of the 5 GHz and 6 GHz wireless frequencies is that they don’t penetrate solid objects nearly as well as the 2.4 GHz wireless frequency. This can be a problem in office buildings and residential areas, so it’s advisable to always use 5 GHz and 6 GHz in conjunction with 2.4 GHz. That way, you can get the best of both worlds.
The timeless IT advice, “If it doesn’t work, try switching it on and off", also applies to Wi-Fi routers. A simple reboot is often enough to considerably improve your Wi-Fi speeds. A reboot clears the router’s memory and allows updates to install.
To reboot your router, either press the restart button located on the back (you may need a pointy object like a pen to get to it because many router manufacturers use recessed restart buttons) or simply disconnect the router from power and turn it on again.
If your router really starts installing an update during the reboot, be patient and don’t interrupt the update process by turning off your router. Depending on your router’s performance, the update process may take more than 10 minutes.
If you’ve tried the 10 above-described tips for improving wireless internet performance without any success, then it’s time to shift your focus from your Wi-Fi and measure wired internet performance. To do that, you need an Ethernet cable and a laptop or desktop computer with an Ethernet port.
If both your wired and wireless speeds are lower than they should be, then your internet service provider is likely to blame, and you should send it the results of your tests and ask it to fix the problem.
If the provider fails to do so, then it’s probably time to switch to a different internet service provider because even the best tips on how to increase Wi-Fi signal won’t help you.
Sometimes, a single router — no matter how capable — can’t reliably cover the entire living space with a strong Wi-Fi signal. In such cases, it’s best to set up a mesh Wi-Fi system, which consists of the main router and multiple satellite units that together provide seamless Wi-Fi coverage.
Some of the most popular mesh Wi-Fi systems available today come from TP-Link, Netgear, Eero and more, and we offer some recommendations in this article. What’s great about mesh Wi-Fi systems in general is that you can expand them depending on your needs. This means that you can start with just one main router and one satellite unit and upgrade only if your Wi-Fi is still not performing up to your expectations.
The Domain Name System (DNS) is responsible for converting domain names (such as www.google.com) into IP addresses (22.214.171.124). By default, your modem is most likely configured to use your internet service provider’s DNS server, whose performance may not be the best.
The good news is that most modems let you change your DNS address, which is often the easiest way to boost Wi-Fi performance. There are many public DNS servers you can choose from, including Google’s DNS server (126.96.36.199) or Cloudflare’s DNS server (188.8.131.52).
To help you pick the best DNS server, we recommend you download and run Domain Name Speed Benchmark. This free Windows application offers features designed to enable serious DNS performance investigation, and you can use it to find the fastest DNS server in your area with just a few clicks:
Once you’ve picked the best DNS server available, you need to go to your modem’s settings and replace the default DNS address with the DNS address of the new server.
It’s easy to underestimate just how many devices these days connect to the internet via Wi-Fi. From computers and mobile phones to various smart home products and appliances, these Wi-Fi-connected devices consume a substantial amount of bandwidth, and not all internet plans can provide it.
If you’ve been paying for the same internet plan for the last 10 years, then you should look at what other options are available and considering consider upgrading. You might even be able to save some money since the prices of fast internet plans have gone down substantially since the early days of broadband internet.
Last but not least, consider contacting your internet service provider and asking for help. If the ISP truly cares about their customers, they will help you remotely diagnose your Wi-Fi performance issues or even send over a technician to measure your Wi-Fi signal strength and help you boost wireless signal.
With these fifteen tips, you should have no problem boosting your wireless network without buying a new router. Make sure to have NetSpot at hand to check whether our tips helped each time you try one. We guarantee that by the time you get to the number fifteen, your Wi-Fi will feel faster than ever before.
If you’re wondering how to improve WiFi signal strength, then we have good news for you: there are quite a few things that you can do to boost your WiFi without spending a single dollar. For example, you can use a WiFi signal analyzer to determine a more suitable place for your router, or you can switch to the 5 GHz band for an instant boost in performance, especially if you live in a densely populated urban area.
If you want to boost your WiFi without purchasing a new router, you can start by tweaking your settings. If you haven’t done so already, activate the 5 GHz band to benefit from its greater resistance to signal interference. You should also make sure that your router uses the least cluttered channel possible, especially when using only the 2.4 GHz band. Use a WiFi analyzer app to determine the best settings.
Yes, WiFi extenders really work, but their effectiveness greatly depends on their placement. A poorly placed WiFi extender won’t be able to perform nearly as well as a well-placed one, and it might even degrade the performance of your existing network by causing additional signal interference. That’s why it’s essential to play the deployment of any WiFi extender using a WiFi analyzer app like NetSpot.
Yes, WiFi boosters can greatly improve signal coverage by amplifying your existing WiFi signals and rebroadcasting them as a new network, which is why we recommend them to all WiFi users who want to know how to increase WiFi signal strength without buying a new router.
To give you a quick answer — that is how you get a great WiFi coverage.
Getting into some detail, not every spot will do for your WiFi router. A router won't do great near metal objects and the appliances that emit electromagnetic waves (the strongest ones are from electric stoves, microwave ovens, and dishwashers). Obstacles made from other materials than metal, can also affect the strength of WiFi signal. You also want to have your router installed on an elevated surface for a better signal broadcast.
Keeping your WiFi router up-to-date helps keep hacker attacks away. Malware developers keep coming up with new viruses that can steal bandwidth and spread themselves across the network to other devices. Getting new security firmware versions on your router consistently will keep your network secure.
WiFi repeaters, boosters and extenders help you get your WiFi signal to farther rooms and levels of your home or office space. Choose what will work best for you according to the size of your space, compatibility with your router and your budget. A good repeater or a booster can cost less than $100.
There are multiple wireless channels a WiFi router can broadcast on, however there are only a few non-overlapping available on 2.4 GHz band (3 to be precise). 5GHz frequency offers 24 non-overlapping channels. Usually when you get a router it broadcasts on default channel 1 or 6.
Because many owners leave their routers with the factory settings, those channels get overloaded. Find the least occupied channel in your area with the help of such software as NetSpot and switch your router to it.