Devices near the far reaches of your wireless network may receive weak and inconsistent Internet service, but you don't have to leave them clinging to second-rate data speeds. Depending on just how far you need to extend your network's Wi-Fi and how big of a boost in performance you require, there are several options available to send your signal farther.
Change the Channel
If there's too much Wi-Fi traffic nearby, switching your router to a less crowded channel can increase the performance of your Wi-Fi network. Some routers will automatically search for the channels with the least traffic. But if your router defaults to a single channel, you'll need to log in into the device from your computer and change it manually.
Update Your Firmware
Some routers will seek out updates to ensure they're operating as effectively as possible. If your router doesn't automatically seek new firmware or you aren't sure if it does, you could be missing out. Check your router's labeling to determine its firmware version, then log into the device to check for new software. It may take a minute or two of down time, but the increased performance could save you from buying new hardware.
Upgrade Your Antenna
If your wireless router has an external antenna, or at least a coaxial port, you can install a high-gain antenna to output a stronger signal. Antennas with coaxial cables can be placed in the optimal position for reception while your router stays positioned for organization or comfort.
Repeaters and Extender
Installing Wi-Fi range extenders and repeaters just inside of the edges of your network can push the range of your Wi-Fi out farther and shore up weak or dead zones. You can redeploy a old router to connect to your primary one and repeat its signal, or you can purchase a dedicated extender and station it at a wall outlet near the fringes of your network's current range.
- PCAdvisor: How to Change the Channel Your Wi-Fi Router Uses
- Netgear: Upgrading Your Router's Firmware Automatically via the GUI
- Belkin: Updating Your Belkin Router’s Firmware
- PCWorld: How to Extend Your Wi-Fi Network
- ITWorld: Turn an Old Router Into a Wireless Bridge or Repeater and Boost Your Home Network
- CNET: Reuse an Old Router to Bridge Devices to Your Wireless Network
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