It’s bad enough that have to deal with spotty connections on the train or at your local coffee shop. But when you can’t rely on a strong Wi-Fi signal at home? Unacceptable! (Especially when you think of the absurd rate you’re paying your Internet provider for access.)
Fortunately there are some good, simple ways to juice the Wi-Fi signal in every room of your home, says Whitson Gordon, editor-in-chief of the online tech magazine How-To Geek.
Here are six of them:
GIVE YOUR ROUTER SOME AIR
“Routers are ugly, and no one likes putting them out in the open,” Gordon says. “But that’s the best spot for them signal-wise.” He says pulling your router out of its closed cabinet or closet can also prevent it from overheating, which could also cause speed or functionality issues.
MOVE IT TO A CENTRAL LOCATION
Captain Obvious knows the farther you move from a Wi-Fi router, the weaker your signal becomes. But a lot of guys still install—or let the cable guy install—their router in some remote corner of the house. Move that router to the center of your space, and “keep it elevated off the floor, like on a desk or shelf” to improve reception, Gordon says.
“You might be amazed at how much the right router placement helps,” he says. “In my dad’s house, having his router hanging on the wall outside his office made a huge difference compared to when it was on a shelf in his office.”
ADJUST YOUR ANTENNAE
Your router communicates best with your devices when all your hardware’s antennae are oriented along the same plane, Gordon says. To improve the odds of this, he recommends pointing one of your router’s antennae straight up and the other one straight to one side, as though you were trying to form a 90-degree angle.
WATCH OUT FOR DISRUPTIVE APPLIANCES
“Try to keep the router away from other appliances that might interfere with it, like microwaves or cordless phones,” Gordon says. “Many of these use the same 2.4Ghz frequency as Wi-Fi routers, and that can cause problems.”
UPGRADE YOUR DEVICE
If you have an aging router, which these days is anything older than a year or two—an upgrade to a newer model may be the only thing that will boost your signal, Gordon says. “Newer routers will likely have better range, less interference thanks to dual-band technology, and faster speeds,” he says. “It may not be as cheap as the other tips here, but it’s the tip that’ll likely give you the best results.”
BUY A RANGE EXTENDER
Shiny new router still not cutting it? If you live in a gigantic home or an older place with thick plaster walls, a range extender can act like a cutoff man in baseball. It fields the signal transmitted by your router and throws it to the parts of your place the router’s signal couldn’t reach, Gordon says. One option is the eero home Wi-Fi system. It’s a little pricey. But it couldn’t be simpler to set up, and the results are impressive. You’ll be streaming movies in rooms that previously didn’t have a Wi-Fi signal.
Gordon says there are more advanced, technical tips that could improve your signal. But for the average guy, the above tips are your best bets when it comes to improving your signal strength.