The WiFi routers today, and especially those who give operators are valid for a large majority of households in terms of signal strength and coverage is concerned. However, soon we have a large floor, with plenty of physical obstacles between the router and us, or simply live in one of the several plants, can these same routers give us many problems to use them all areas of the house. Later we will explain how to ride, for the extreme cases, signal repeaters that handle amplify our signal at distances where a single router might never come. However, there are cases where coverage problems do not require complicate us so much, and just apply some simple solutions can improve the quality of the signal to go further and cover areas that previously were arriving.
Here we show you some tricks and tips to improve the quality of our WiFi signal without having more than a router or invest large amounts of money.
Correctly diagnosed the problem
Step 1- Analyze the situation well
Although it seems a bit ridiculous when we have problems with our WiFi network, coverage is important to study exactly how it is affecting us and, above all, what are the most critical places. It is interesting to draw a map of our house and go visiting each of the rooms with our laptop to noting the quality of the signal we are getting in each place.
For this task, we have plenty of possibilities. From a look at the indicator signal and link speed that show the details of the Windows network connection, to rely on utilities such as WirelessNetView. This program, less than 100 Kbytes, shows a list of detected wireless networks around us with interesting information about them. We have only to look at the SSID of our WiFi network and go noting how the percentage ranges of signal strength that reaches every part of the house.
Speed quantify now we do not care, because we know that as is the signal quality degrades so does the speed, and not always linear. From a 40-30% signal quality working with standards g / n, the speed will suffer constant oscillations and the constant packet forwarding to correct the errors will compromise the stability of the connection.
Step 2- Potential sources of interference
Once we have the coverage map of our home and have clearly detected placements are most problematic, we need to look at the results to detect possible fatal points. If the most affected areas are those farthest from the WiFi router it is clear that is a matter of distance that must be solved by expanding or improving the signal. However, we must be vigilant to detect figures out of the ordinary.
For example, if we see that in an area of the house, the signal goes further in one direction than the other does, or that is specifically very bad in a room that is relatively close to the router. This kind of strange behavior may be due to external interference that is a disturbing signal of our WiFi 2.4 GHz. The microwave affects the frequency band 2.4 GHz (lucky you are in the kitchen and are used only a small part of the time), the same as the Bluetooth devices that have WiFi enabled close and even the cordless phones digital (DECT). Indeed, the latter is a common source of problems (curiously more certain brands, such as Panasonic) and should keep them as far away as we can from the router. Thus, a DECT wireless router connected together to be the cause of instabilities and cuts, especially when the handset is in use.
Finally, and depending on where we reside, we can be influenced by external factors. If our house is located next to an official building, we may have problems with WiFi signals by inhibitors frequencies that are installed in that kind of places. The same if we are very close to repeaters telephone, generating energy or surrounded by many other points WiFi located in the neighborhood. They are extreme cases, but are given, and in those situations, it is virtually impossible to optimize the signal because of external factors. There is only change band or technology. We shall see that changing the broadcast channel we can try to solve some of these scenarios effectively.
Setting the Router
Step 3- Transmission power
After analyzing the problem, we will begin to improve as much as possible the scope of our router, beginning with your settings, and following techniques involving change its location or install new antennas. Focusing on the settings, and although not a panacea, some WiFi routers allow you to adjust the transmission power of the wireless module from its interface configuration. The usefulness of this adjustment is to reduce the signal strength when we are very close to the device. However, depending on the model, this value may come not set by default at 100% power, so change it can make us win some coverage so tremendously easy. To prove just have to access the web configuration router (putting the gateway into the browser and using the username / password indicating instructions), and search the wireless section configuration option similar to Transmit Power.
Step 4- Relay Mode
The following setting that can help us to scratch a few meters to our coverage is the type of wireless transmission. On the one hand, we can ask directly activate the 802.11b mode, but without reaching that extreme, it is interesting to make the router work alone in the way that we will really need, even at the cost of losing compatibility with older standards. For example, if all our devices support 802.11n, which we activate only in the router configuration.
Another interesting setting requires check if your device offers dual band. It is still rare, and only found on some models, but if our unit (and laptops we use) allows transmission in 5 GHz instead of the usual 2.4 GHz, we will carry us at a stroke any quality problem signal produced by interference from other networks or systems operating at 2.4 GHz.
We also have other advanced settings like Fragmentation Threshold or RTS Threshold, which allows us to act on the behavior of the network packet level data. However, changing these parameters only will scratch improvements in very specific conditions, and the potential for things to get worse are quite high, so our recommendation is not to change its parameters.
When we look back and remember how a few years ago were using WiFi 802.11b networks with speeds of 11 Mbps, we poke a slight smile as we realize how much we have evolved when compared with its 300 Mbps 802.11n. However, the 802.11b standard still used today more than we imagine despite its low rate of transfer.
There are several reasons for this, but one of them is that you can give more coverage than wireless g / n standard with a single router and equal transmission power and antennae, albeit at the cost of sacrificing the transfer fee. In fact, while for internal transfers from computer to computer 11 maximum Mbps offering stay really short, if we only use WiFi to surf the Internet and our router falls somewhat short of coverage or offers a very stable connection, one of the first solutions we can try is to change the standard 802.11b . If our ADSL line is 10 Mbps or less, we should notice a decrease in performance and in return, yes improved stability and signal range in places where the 802.11g / n standard may not arrive well.
Selects the optimum means
Step 5- Locate the occupied channels
We mentioned earlier that one of the sources of interference and poor performance of a WiFi access point might be the presence of other nearby wireless networks. If we find that we are operating in a highly saturated radio channel our signal may have trouble getting the whole house, so that a simple change of channel can help a lot.
In these cases, the first thing to do is scan the airwaves and discover all these networks and channels they are using. To do this, we recommend the utility in SSIDer. Once installed, it will show a list of all wireless networks detected with a long list of advanced data, such as broadcast channels each of nearby WiFi routers.
Step 6- Choose the best way
If we connect to the configuration interface of our router in the options WiFi network, with basic values such as the name of the SSID, we should find a section called Wireless Channel in which we can select the broadcast channel our network. In many models, this option is marked in automatic to be the router to detect without the least congested channel and act accordingly. However, do not Trust ye this function because its results in many models are quite disappointing. Therefore, it is best to manually select our channel according to the data we have obtained in the previous step.
Channels that are in the WiFi routers range from 1 to 13, which are operating between 2,401 and 2,483 MHz. The problem is that each channel has a width of 22 MHz, so, in fact, some step on others in certain frequencies. To keep things simple with complex explanations, we will say that the only channels that do not interfere with each other ever are 1, 7 and 13. They should be our first choice whenever we have several in use and seek some that are free. In the event that we are surrounded by WiFi hotspots and all or most of the channels access are occupied, we have to use a different strategy, detecting points more distant access from our position (with lower emission power) to use their channels in our area.
The best location for your router
Step 7- When you change your position
In Step 1, we drew the plane of our home and we recorded the situation room by room. Well, if we return to that plane and you look at the distribution of our house and the position currently occupied by the router, you may quickly jump to the view that is not in the correct location.
Keep in mind that the antennas included by default (802.11n MIMO is a special case) are fully omnidirectional, which means that the signal sent the same in all directions. If we have the router in the living room, and this room is right at one end of the house, we will be sending half of our neighbor signal and having problems to reach the opposite end of our own home. In these cases, look for a new location to distribute more evenly the WiFi signal. Even if we live in a house with several floors, maybe a good solution pass by placing the router in an intermediate plant so that the signal reaches both below and above, although considering that just below the router is where we probably have the worst signal quality.
Step 8- Place your router with precision
Apart from the above, and having to choose a centered location in our home, it is also important to choose the place and the materials that surround the router if coverage is a sensitive issue. A good position can be the top of a cabinet because little is aesthetically see the cables, and quality is raising the emitter so that the signal is distributed in the best way possible. What always avoid is placing the equipment on the ground, inside furniture or cabinets that all they will do is attenuate the signal, and even in false ceilings. The latter case, used by more than a few interior architects, offers a perfect aesthetic, but it is the best way to degrade the signal of our WiFi equipment.
Finally, we must take into account the obstacles that surround the router, because a typical brick wall can attenuate the signal between 3 and 6 dB depending on thickness and internal material. Therefore, the more free from obstacles are, much better. Of course, external antennas should always be at an angle of 90 degrees to the ground, and we should never leave them lying down or folded.
Consider the option of changing antennas
Step 9- What you will achieve by changing the antennas?
If all the above has failed to solve our problem of coverage, before reaching a final solution (mount a repeater), we can consider the installation of higher gain antennas. It is an increasingly rare option, as currently access points feature (not removable) or, worse, internal fixed antennas. In these cases, we have no choice to install higher – gain antennas, unless we are very hands and dare to open the router and solder some wires. Still, if our router allows the removal of antennas and connects other series, what we will get is amplifying the transmission power and change the way in which the radio signal is distributed.
Amplification is represented in dBi, and with 8-10 dBi value and will be making more than tangible results. It is not a face extension, and the results can be more than surprising. For routers with detachable antennas, installation is as simple as unscrewing the old and the new screw.
Step 10- Choose the ideal antenna for your home
On the Internet, we can find many online stores that sell us antennas for WiFi access points. When choosing a have to look at the level of amplification (8 dBi onwards), and especially its kind. The more interested we are omnidirectional, which distribute the signal 360 degrees, but we also have the directional (yagi, panel, satellite, etc.), which send the signal in a particular direction. For a home, where the signal we want to reach all places except specific facilities, flee from the latter and always seek an omnidirectional.