What Equipment Will Amplify a Wi-Fi Signal?

Getting wider Wi-Fi coverage isn't always as simple as adding more power.
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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.

1 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."

2 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.

3 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.

4 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.

Dan Stone started writing professionally in 2006, specializing in education, technology and music. He is a web developer for a communications company and previously worked in television. Stone received a Bachelor of Arts in journalism and a Master of Arts in communication studies from Northern Illinois University.