How to Troubleshoot a Bad Wi-Fi Connection
I can hear your thoughts loud and clear: you hate wires. Not every wire in the world, but I know that you especially hate the ones that run through your home. That’s why you have opted for a Wi-Fi network, after all. But while this solution appeared to have solved the wires-related problem, it has introduced a new set of problems: poor Wi-Fi signal, random disconnects, and so on.
So how do you troubleshoot a bad Wi-Fi connection? Read on to learn all there is to know about this topic.
First of all, it is important to understand that your home hates Wi-Fi signals. Most homes were built many years ago, and they weren’t built with wireless Internet connections in mind. In fact, most people build modern houses without even thinking about Wi-Fi connections today. And why would they do that? You can always put a router in the living room and that’d be it, right?
The reality is a bit different. Your home may contain steel bars, a lot of concrete, lots of wires and metal pipes that are a part of the air conditioning system, electrical wiring, and so on. And each and every one of them has the potential of slowing down your network. Not only that, but some of the houses are built in such a way that their metal structure creates a Faraday cage, which can successfully block pretty much any radio wave, including the… you’ve guess it – Wi-Fi signal.
Often times, the solution is to reposition the router. So grab a 50 feet power cord, and then start moving the router around the house, a feet at a time. Use an Internet connection speed test service and check the speed after each router move. Sometimes you will be able to find locations that almost double the Internet speed.
The router repositioning may have brought some improvements, but we aren’t stopping here. Similar problems can be caused by interference with other appliances and devices, be them yours or your neighbors’ devices.
Who likes to tweak router settings all the time? Just a few of the skilled IT professionals would be eager to do that, if you ask me. Still, it is important to try and set a different Wi-Fi channel from within your router’s settings; since very few people choose to tweak their routers, you may end up discovering a channel that’s entirely yours, and this will significantly boost your Wi-Fi signal. Tools like inSSIDer 4 can make your live much easier, because they can also offer channel recommendations, for example.
If these two steps haven’t brought significant improvements, it’s time for a solution that never fails: a high gain SMA antenna. Your router has antennas with limited gain, in order to keep the costs down. With a dedicated antenna, the Wi-Fi signal should be significantly boosted.
Make sure that your antenna is elevated; Wi-Fi signal travels much easier downwards. And since the signal can easily pass through wood, for example, you can place the antenna on the top of a dresser.
If everything fails, you should invest in a repeater, which is nothing more than a Wi-Fi signal amplifier. It’s just like a second router who picks up the signal from the first router, amplifies it, and then emits it, thus successfully covering another area in your home.
Believe it or not, when it comes to Wi-Fi, there are new technologies that can also make our lives harder, rather than making it easier. People have invented Wi-Fi blocking paint, for example, but hopefully your neighbors aren’t using it.