More WiFi now! Top tips for wireless networking
WiFi is awesome. Pretty much everybody agrees. At least when it works. But when it doesn‘t, frustration is the inevitable result of buffering video streams, stuttering audio streams and slow downloads. But it doesn‘t have to be that way. We offer top tips with simple steps for improving your WiFi.
Tip number 1: Take a quick inventory
Once you start using your network, it‘s going to become abundantly clear whether or not you have good WiFi coverage. Nevertheless, taking a detailed look at your situation is a valuable first step towards improving your WiFi. Look for a useful analysis tool. Experts often recommend the Ekahau HeatMapper. This program lets you start by creating a floor plan for your home. Then you can measure the WiFi coverage (from green = good reception to red = poor or no reception). Most users can manage with a simple Android analysis tool like Wifi Analyzer instead.
Tip number 2: Improve conditions
Don‘t set off to pick up some expensive hardware to improve your WiFi just yet. Instead, start by trying a few simple tips for improving the quality of your WiFi. • In most homes, the Router is the sole WiFi signal source. To achieve optimum coverage, place it in the most centralised location available. • The router should also be placed as high up as possible, such as on top of a cabinet, to provide the best distribution of the signal. • Be sure to avoid hiding your WiFi device behind a flower pot or in a cabinet. It may make the room look nicer, but it creates a significant obstacle for your WiFi performance.• If your router has one or more movable antennas, play around with their orientation a bit. "Aim" for the points that have poor reception.
Tip number 3: Pull out all the stops
If these attempts didn‘t help at all, it‘s time to pull out all the stops and work with your router settings. It may sound complicated, but it‘s not rocket science. As a safety measure, however, you should back up your router settings so that you can undo your changes if something goes wrong. Most routers provide this as a direct menu option. Then you can get started.• If your router offers the option to do so, check your channel assignment. Here you can see more than just which channel your WiFi is using for transmission, you can also see how many other WiFi networks in the area are using the same range. If "your" channel has a lot going on, simply change the channel.• Some routers are set by default to use a low transmitting power in order to save electricity. If this is the case with your device, set your router to a higher power level or even maximum power to achieve better WiFi coverage.• Many routers now also cover the 5 GHz band alongside the 2.4 GHz band. This makes it possible to achieve significantly higher transfer rates at short distances, especially if many other WiFi networks around you are using the 2.4 GHz range. See if you get better reception using 5 GHz. Keep in mind that this only works if your receiver devices (smartphones, tablets, laptop) also support 5 GHz.
Tip number 4: Improve reception
If none of that helped at all, the transmitter—meaning the router—is not the problem. Your receiver devices may be the cause. Laptops and desktop computers give you the option of improving reception using WiFi sticks, which are add-ons that provide external WiFi antennas.• A WiFi stick will also help if the WiFi module in your laptop or PC is damaged. The USB modules are simply plugged into an open port and usually install the necessary drivers automatically. This also lets you update older hardware to new WiFi standards (such as "n" or "ac").• Of course, the tips for placing your router (see above) also apply to your receiver devices. A location with as few obstacles as possible is preferred. If that isn‘t possible, it may help to use a USB extension cable to provide more flexibility in placing the receiver stick.
Tip number 5: The definitive solution for quick WiFi - the Powerline adapter
If none of the other tips have provided the desired results, Powerline adapters and WiFi repeaters will help. • WiFi repeaters are usually the first choice. They work in some cases but often cause even more headaches because performance lags behind expectations.• The best solution for the long term is to upgrade your WiFi network with Powerline adapters. The compact adapters use the power line as a long network cable, providing a "fresh" WiFi access point at any socket in your home. The devices are easy to install and offer impressive results.• Several WiFi Powerline adapters can be operated on one mains circuit. This makes it possible to target individual WiFi problem areas with precision, room by room or floor by floor.• devolo AG invented dLAN® Powerline technology and is the market leader in this area. The company is based in Aachen, Germany, and offers a portfolio of five different WiFi Powerline adapters—the right option for every intended use. Single adapters are available starting at 69.90 euro with starter sets available starting at 99.90 euro (both recommended retail prices including VAT).