Easy Ways to Boost Your WiFi Signal at Home
Technology| By Stephen Fenech | November 02, 2020
Having fast WiFi at home is more important than ever. Discover how to boost your WiFi signal at home so your wireless connection is the best it can be.
With so many of us working and learning from home, as well as streaming video and playing online games, having a wireless network that’s not only fast but can also reach every corner of your home is essential. But are you getting the most out of your internet connection and WiFi performance? There could be a number of reasons why your WiFi is slow or not performing optimally, including the size of your home, the location of your modem and the quality of your router (the device that creates your WiFi network). If your WiFi could use some work, here’s how to boost your WiFi signal and provide a speedy and reliable connection for all of your devices.
How to Perform a WiFi Speedtest
To find out if your WiFi needs improving you must first run a speed test of your connection. The first thing to do is connect a desktop computer or laptop computer to your modem with a cable and browse to speedtest.net. Testing with a connected device will tell you exactly how fast the internet is coming into your home. If you are on the NBN, the speeds should almost equal the speeds you’re paying for. For example if you have a 50Mbps plan, the speed should be between 45 and 50Mbps. Non-NBN speeds are hard to predict as they depend on a variety of factors. Note, if you’re not getting a download speed of at least 5Mbps, you will struggle to do anything online.
Next, test your WiFi network’s speed in various parts of your home with your smartphone and the Speedtest app (available to download for iOS and Android devices). Connect your device to your WiFi network, fire up the Speedtest app and hit the big “Go” button. You will get a reading for both download and upload speeds. If the figures from your smartphone WiFi tests are a lot lower than the speed of your NBN connection, you need to improve your WiFi speeds. Take note of speeds from different parts of your home – particularly in areas further away from the modem.
Finding the Best Modem Location
The modem supplied by your provider will also include a router to create your home’s WiFi network. Ideally your modem and router should be in a central part of your home – it shouldn’t be hidden in a cupboard or drawer or stuck in a lonely corner. The WiFi range and speed can be greatly affected by your modem’s location. You can relocate your modem by using a longer cable to connect to your connection point. If you can’t move the modem, don’t worry – there are a lot of other things you can do to improve your WiFi speed.
Hot Tip: Routers use wireless signals and can be affected by cordless telephones and microwave ovens, so it’s best to keep them away from these appliances.
Consider a Better Router
You can’t make the internet come into your home any faster but you can control the quality and performance of your WiFi. The modem supplied by your provider will usually be okay, but you can usually source a better router yourself, such as the Netgear Nighthawk. Standalone routers can be connected with a cable to a vacant ethernet port on the back of your existing modem. These tend to have better radios, more antennas and faster processors, so they create faster wireless networks.
Use a Mesh Router
People who live in large homes or are stuck with a modem at one end of the house are best served by a mesh WiFi router. A mesh WiFi router, such as the Google Nest WiFi 3-pack, has two or three units included. One unit connects to your existing router with an ethernet cable and the others are placed in a central part of the home or on other levels of the house and connected to power. These mesh routers communicate back and forth with each other to create a wider and more robust wireless network. It’s like casting a net over your entire home – hence their name. Each comes with a companion app that makes set-up simple and offers instructions on the best placement areas and how to secure the network.
Try a Range Extender
If your network is fairly good, and there’s just one or two dead spots in your home where the WiFi isn’t as fast, you can use a range extender, such as the D-Link Mesh Extender. The best position for a range extender is halfway between the modem and the area of the home where the WiFi needs strengthening. The range extender plugs into a powerpoint and can be paired to your modem using the WPS (WiFi protected set-up) button. Press the WPS button on your modem and the WPS button on the range extender for them to connect. The range extender will adopt the same name of the network created by the modem.
Switch to a Better Internet Plan
With the NBN, customers have a choice with different plan speeds. If you have a number of people in your household, you may be better served on the 100Mbps plan rather than the 50Mbps. With an increase of speed coming into your home – then your WiFi will also become faster.
What To Try
- Netgear Nighthawk AX4/4 Stream AX3000 WiFi 6 Router
- Google Nest WiFi 3 Pack - 1 Base and 2 Points
- Netgear AC1750 Dual Band WiFi Router R6400
- TP-Link AX3000 Whole Home Mesh WiFi 6 System Deco X60 3 Pack
- Tenda nova MW5s AC1200 Whole Home Mesh WiFi System 3 Pack
- D-Link EXO AC2000 Mesh WiFi Range Extender
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