Wi-Fi is one of the most useful and important parts of using a computer, and yet it’s also one of the most frustrating. If you’re plagued by slow speeds, bad reception, and other Wi-Fi issues, here are 10 ways you can power up the Wi-Fi in your home.
Use the Latest Wi-Fi Technologies – One of the best ways to make sure your network is as fast and reliable as possible is to use up-to-date hardware. We’ve gone through the basics of router hardware before, so check out the first lesson of our networking Night School for the full lowdown. The main thing you need to know: Wireless A, B, and G are old and slow, and wireless N will give you the fastest speeds around. Note that you’ll need both a wireless N router and a wireless N card in your computer if you want the full speed boost.
Find the Perfect Spot for Your Router – Routers may be ugly, but that doesn’t mean you should hide them behind the TV cabinet. If you want the best signal, you’ll need it out in the open, free of any walls and obstructions. Point the antennas vertically, and elevate the router if you can (one reader found that his attic was the perfect spot). Lastly, make sure its in the center of your house, so you have the best coverage possible throughout your home.
Get Rid of Interference from Other Appliances – Other routers aren’t the only thing that can cause interference. Cordless phones, microwaves, and other appliances can muck with your signal as well. Buying a dual band router can help with this, but you can also buy cordless phones on other bands too. If you don’t want to buy new hardware, you can always try moving your router further away from interfering appliances, too.
Thwart Wi-Fi Thieves with Better Security – Even if your router has a password, it can be really easy to hack. There are easy ways to find out if someone is stealing your Wi-Fi, but the best thing to do is just lock them out with better security. Using a WPA password is absolutely essential, but even those can be cracked pretty easily.
Increase Wi-Fi Range with DIY Tricks – If your router still won’t reach far enough, you can extend its range with simple DIY tricks. Our favorite is the Windsurfer tin foil hack, thougn you can also use an old beer can or a cooking strainer to extend your router’s range. The results won’t necessarily be mind blowing, but you should be able to squeeze a bit more distance out of your Wi-Fi network with minimal effort.
Boost Your Router’s Signal with a Bit of Hacking – Another great way to extend your range is to hack your router and install the DD-WRT firmware. Not only will it give you a ton of great security features and other enhancements, but it gives you the option to boost your transmitting power. This can be dangerous for your router, but most routers can handle an increase up to 70 mW without causing any issues, and you’ll be able to access your network from much further away!