webmasterJanuary 7, 2013January 7, 2013Do you feel like you CONSTANTLY have trouble with your Wi Fi connection on your laptop, tablet, or smartphone? Here are some tips that can help solve some of your problems! Technology is everywhere and it is important to us to keep it functioning properly. Just like our 24 hours/7 days a week customer technical support service, these tips are sure to be beneficial in improving your WiFi connection! Find the Optimal Router Location A wireless signal doesn’t carry far, and any walls or large objects may cause interference. For this reason, a wireless router should be centrally located in your home to insure the best range possible. All metallic surfaces reflect WiFi signals, including the thin metal layer found in most mirrors. Try to plan around this by finding a spot where the signal goes through the fewest walls on its way to your computer. Place the router on a flat surface off the floor and away from obstructions. If your modem had to be in a certain location, you can move your router farther away by getting an extra-long Ethernet cable. That should provide the slack to find a good spot. Keep antennas as far away from power cords and other computer wires as possible. Those cords and wires can interfere with radio reception. Also, keep the router away from cordless phones and microwaves, which operate on the same 2.4-Ghz frequency. (There are some cordless phones that are Wi-Fi friendly) Change the Wi-Fi Channel One problem that can affect the quality of your wireless signal is interference from other networks. If you live in an area with a lot of networks, and especially if you live in an apartment building, you should try to find the most isolated wireless channel. You can quickly determine what channels the networks around you are using with a number of apps like Netstumbler, or you can simply try other channels as well to see which one is best. For 2.4GHz routers (the most common), channel 6 is the default, so stay away from it. Try channel 1 or 11, the other two other non-overlapping channels. For 5GHz wireless N or AC routers, you shouldn’t have much of an interference issue since it’s less commonly used. But you might try changing to another channel as well. Replace the Router’s Antennas The antennas shipped with most routers are small antennas with omni-directional capabilities. These antennas broadcast a signal in all directions, which can be useful if you need wireless throughout your house, but the range is quite short. There are various high-gain antennas available online for reasonable prices. Most routers use a standard plug for the antenna, so any that you buy should attach just fine. The type of antenna that comes with the router is omni-directional, and you can get improved versions of that. However, you can also get a directional antenna that can concentrate your wireless signal to get that corner of the house that’s usually devoid of Wi-Fi. A directional antenna can improve range by focusing the signal in a specific way, allowing you to aim it where it’s needed. These antennas are often called “high-gain” and the signal increase is measured in decibels (dB). Get a Repeater A wireless repeater is an easy and safe way to boost your signal. A repeater works very much like a router, but instead of creating a signal, it relays an existing signal. It is easy to install and doesn’t require any additional wires or connections. Multiple repeaters make it easy to create a home or business network with complete connectivity. Get an Antenna Booster It’s possible to make a homemade reflector or antenna to improve your wireless signal. There are templates and building instructions on many web sites across the internet to use materials as common as foil and cardboard. Common designs are a parabolic satellite shape and a “coffee can” yagi antenna. Both can increase range and direct your signal, though homemade quality will vary. Use Strong Encryption As important as speed and reliability are, security cannot be overlooked. Using WPA or WEP security with TKIP encryption will dramatically reduce bandwidth. Most routers offer a mixed WPA/WPA2 mode, but you should use WPA2 encryption only with a strong, non-dictionary password. For the high speeds on wireless N or AC routers, you must use WPA2 security with AES encryption. Homes should use the personal (PSK) mode, which is the easiest to setup and businesses should use the enterprise (RADIUS) mode which requires an external authentication server. Use the High Power 5.8GHz Channels If you’re using a router that supports the 5.8GHz band, these are 802.11a and some 802.11n routers, some channels can run at 20x the signal power. Channels 36-54 are limited to 50mW, while channels above 148 can run at a full 1W. Assuming your router’s firmware takes advantage of the weird US licensing rules, your router should produce a much more powerful signal. Though we’re physically located in the Chicago and Washington DC areas, for years we’ve been serving companies across the country with their technology rental needs. Wherever YOU are, let us help YOU too. Call or request a quote today!