How to Boost Wireless Adapter Signals

A variety of factors impact the effectiveness of your wireless adapter.
... Adam Crowley/Photodisc/Getty Images

Everybody wants a speedy, smooth Internet connection when streaming their favorite movies, reading their favorite blogs or catching up on breaking news. Unfortunately, there are a number of factors that can prevent your Internet connection from being all it can be. If you try some of the most common solutions to a weak wireless connection, you might just enhance your wireless adapter's overall performance.

1 Adjust Adapter’s Power Settings

Many wireless adapters will automatically adjust their power settings to reflect the power scheme of the computer in question. This can come in handy for laptop computers operating strictly on battery power and in need of power conservation. If your computer is located in an area with poor wireless reception, though, a conservative power allocation for your wireless adapter could translate to a slow Internet connection. Fortunately, most adapters allow you the option to manually change the device’s power settings. For a stronger Internet connection, pull up your adapter’s power settings and select the highest power value setting available for your device.

2 Try Alternate Channels

Make some adjustments to your wireless router. Some routers have up to 14 available channels to choose from. Unfortunately, these channels, if available, will only be 5 MHz apart from each other. Any channels within 11 Mhz of each other may suffer from mutual interference. If you are hoping to change wireless channels to boost reception, try and choose a channel that is at least twice removed from the closest in-use channels.

3 Minimize Interference

You can further boost your adapter’s efficiency by removing as many obstructions as possible between your adapter and the relevant wireless router. Many popular wireless routers operate at a frequency that can easily be absorbed or deflected by such obstructions as brick walls, water-filled radiators, mirrors, microwaves and hot water tanks. The fewer of these obstructions that stand in the path of your wireless signal, the stronger you can expect that signal to be when it finally reaches your computer.

4 Use an 802.11n Router

802.11n routers make for a fast connection and provide for the most backwards-compatible wireless network. 802.11n routers work most efficiently with 802.11n wireless adapters, but will also work with older wireless adapters, such as those configured to 802.11b/g. Using an 802.11n router will help avoid incompatibility with your adapter, while providing a fast, reliable wireless signal.

Bill Reynolds holds a Bachelor's degree in Communications from Rowan University. He has written hundreds of articles for print and online media, drawing inspiration from a wide range of professional experiences. As part of the UCLA Extension Writer's Program, he has been nominated for the James Kirkwood Prize for Creative Writing.