Improving or adding network hardware to a Wi-Fi network can help amplify signal strength and distance. Wi-Fi is a two-way communication model, so boosting the signal of one device isn't always enough to improve range. Equipment like Wi-Fi repeaters and directional antennas can help amplify a network's signal in specific directions.
Device Manager Transmit Power Maximum
Most devices are preconfigured to use maximum Wi-Fi transmit power; however, some computers may allow the user to adjust the Wi-Fi adapter's transmit power to conserve battery life. To change the power settings and ensure the computer is transmitting at the maximum Wi-Fi power, search for and open "Power Options" in the Charms bar, select "Change plan settings" and choose "Change advanced power settings." To set maximum power, expand "Wireless Adapter Settings" and select "Maximum Performance" from the "Settings" drop-down menu under "Power Saving Mode."
Directional Antenna Boost
Most Wi-Fi devices feature omni-directional antennas that transmit with equal strength in all directions. If the device has one or more removable antennas, you can swap omni-directional antennas for high-gain antennas to focus all the energy in one direction. These directional antennas can be added to the Wi-Fi access point, commonly referred to as a router, as well as other network devices like computers. Pointing the access point's high-gain antenna towards devices ensures a more efficient signal. Devices with multiple antennas can use a combination of omni-directional and high-gain antennas; however, using only high-gain antennas on an access point will weaken signal reception in the directions the antenna isn't pointed.
Wi-Fi Range Extenders Enlarge Networks
Wi-Fi range extenders improve Wi-Fi range by acting as a bridge device that re-transmits data. Devices can connect to the range extender, which connects to the Wi-Fi access point. As long as the range extender can communicate with the access point, any device that can connect to the range extender can as well. Adding a range extender is like adding a second transmission range sphere to the network; the device will extend the network in all directions relative to where it is placed. Adding a range extender east of an access point will amplify the signal east; devices west of the access point won't get a strong signal. Some routers can be configured to act as range extenders.
Wi-Fi Signal Booster Antennas
A Wi-Fi signal booster is a self-powered antenna that can be connected to a Wi-Fi access point or device to amplify the signal. Signal boosters work with Wi-Fi access points that have detachable antennas; the booster is connected to the access point's antenna connector. Individual devices connecting to signal-boosted Wi-Fi will also need signal-boosting adapters to work outside of standard ranges. Since signal boosters can be connected to the antenna via wire, the booster can be positioned away from the access point in a more centralized location.
- Tech Radar: 10 Quick and Easy Ways to Boost Your Wi-Fi
- Digital Trends: How to Boost Your Wi-Fi Signal
- PC Advisor: How to Boost Wi-Fi Signal; Get Better Wi-Fi Speed and Range
- PC Magazine Encyclopedia: Definition of: Range Extender
- Amped Wireless: Boost the Range of Your Certified Wi-Fi Device
- PC Magazine: 8 Devices That Can Fix Your Wi-Fi Signal Problems
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