by Burton Kelso, The Technology Expert
Wi-Fi has become an essential part of our digital lives that when you don't have access to it or have a weak signal it can leave you feeling frustrated and lost. Dealing with weak Wi-Fi means you have to deal with the stress of kids who aren't able to learn distantly or play games. It also means that you have to deal with slow loading websites and Zoom calls that freeze up or drop altogether.
A good solution to fixing Wi-Fi dead zones in your home is to get a wireless range extender. The challenge is making sure you set them up to make them effective to reach all of the areas in your home. Struggling with the concept of range extenders and how to set them up, check out my tips that will help you get a full signal throughout your home or office.
What are Wi-Fi extenders? The best explanation of Wi-Fi range extenders is these are devices that take your current wireless signal in your home and extend it further than your router can reach. When installed properly, this allows all your smart devices such as your smartphones, laptops, tablets, and printers to communicate effectively.
The standard router is only designed to reach the area of a 2,500 square foot home or office and works best in open-air environments. However, your home or office could have things that get in the way of your wireless that can disrupt and reflect your signals such as drywall, concrete walls, and ceilings.
You probably didn't know your appliances such as washing machines, microwaves, washing machines, and televisions send out electromagnetic waves that can play a major role in getting in the way of your Wi-Fi Signal.
Extenders can be a single device to extend your wireless signal or a group of devices that form a 'mesh' network that casts a Wi-Fi net of a wireless signal to reach all areas of your home or office.
Weak wireless or slow internet? Many of you mistake slow Internet as weak Wi-Fi. Check with your Internet provider first to make sure you are getting decent Internet speed. Visit www.speedtest.net on your computer, smartphone or tablet while you are near your router to see what speeds you are getting.
If you are getting a download speed lower than 25 Megabits Per second, then you will experience issues with streaming movies, kids playing games and glitchy or dropped video calls. Sometimes an increase in Internet speed from your provider is all you need. You also may have to switch providers if your current Internet provider can't offer you faster speeds.
How can you find dead areas in your home or office? Well, complaints from your kids and spouse are a good way, but an even simpler way is your smartphone. Your smartphone and the Speedtest.net app can help you identify those dead area. Once you get the app downloaded and you connect your phone to your Wi-Fi, do an initial speed test in the same room as your wireless router.
When the test is finished and you get an idea of how fast your wireless connection should be, take a walk around your home or office and pay attention to where the signal is weak. Once you identify all of the weak and dead zones in your area, you can decide where to place your extenders, but first…
The location of your router is very important. Just as if you were setting up a brick and mortar business, location is key for the placement of your wireless equipment. If you have a single level home or office, you should have no issues with where to place your router and extender. If your work or home area is multi-level, things get a little more complicated. When you set up your router, you want to try to make sure it's in a central location of your home or office.
A router that is in an attic or a basement can cause problems, especially if you have a multi-level home as the router's wireless signal has to travel through many walls. You need to make sure your router is also placed in an elevated location. Three feet or higher is the optimum level for your router. I know you're probably tempted to place them on the floor to hide them, but that will do more harm than good.
The location of your extenders is also important. When you set up your extender, you will need to make sure to place it within the range of the router. If you are creating a mesh Wi-Fi network, you want to make sure mesh connected items are within range of one another.
If at all possible, make sure you're placing your extender within the line of sight of your router. If you're unable to do this and have to place them around corners or behind walls, make sure they are drywall and not plaster or concrete walls. You need to place your extenders at the same level as you would your routers.
Setting up Wi-Fi extenders can take a little trial and error to make sure you cover all of the areas of your home. Also, when using extenders, understand that you will lose some speed as your extenders or mesh network is essentially repeating the signal from your router which can slow down your wireless connection. Once you get your extenders set up properly, you can relax and enjoy robust internet around your home or office.
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