My relation with WiFi or wireless technology is terrible at best times because it is slower than wired and often it does not keep up proper connection. Alternative to WiFi is plugging ethernet cables into phones. Thats not possible (or practical) or is it?
Since we are stuck with WiFi, I figured out I give you guys some quick tips on optimizing your home wireless network to make your experience with WiFi as painless as possible. We will start with the stuff that costs nothing.
Positioning your AP
Position your Access Point or AP (usually built into the router or modem itself) correctly. The coverage area of a router is sphere shaped. Centering your Access Point according to your intended area will improve the coverage of WiFi signal. Avoid putting it directly on a floor, on thick walls or next to a large object. You should also avoid it putting nearby dense materials like stone, metal or concrete. You also want to avoid it putting near microwave oven or cordless landlines or anything that is using 2.4 gHz wireless band as this will increase interference in your network causing it to slow down or do not reach your coverage area properly.
Next you need to check for software or firmware updates. For routers, go to the website of your router’s manufacturer and download and install latest firmware updates. For wireless adapters, you can either go to the manufacturer’s website or to the chipset manufacturer’s website to download the latest drivers for your OS. Examples of two major wireless chip makers include Broadcomm and Ralink.
Choose a Wireless Channel
Choose the right channel for your access point to run on. Using a free mobile or desktop application like InSSIDer you can check the channels of other WiFi networks present in your area. On the 2.4 gHz only three usable non-over lapping channels. 1, 6 and 11. In real world, you would want to pick a channel that is not being used in your area.
In dense buildings or apartments where there are a lot of wireless devices operating, there will be some trouble for you to choose the best channel. In such condition, start by picking up the least used channel and check your network performance. Play around a bit to get the best results.
Get an Antenna
If nothing is working the free way. Then you should invest some money in your wireless network. You can grab a more sensitive antenna if your access point has external antenna support. There are two main types of antennas. Omni directional antennas will give you a more like a sphere type of coverage like your existing antenna does but it will be a larger area due to the sensitivity of antenna.
Directional antennas will direct WiFi signal into the direction they are pointed at. Directional antennas can be useful if you want to direct your wireless signal to an exact spot which is out somewhere on another side of your home like a garage or workshop.
Buy a Repeater
You can also get a repeater and configure it with the same SSID or network name as your existing network name and password. This way you can roam around your house and still get the best signal even without noticing as long as your are not doing something like a Skype or FaceTime call. I do not recommend repeaters that connect with your access point wirelessly because I had not a good experience with some great options. I recommend you route an ethernet wire to the place where you want to put the repeater and the repeater and access point together. If you can not afford to run an ethernet cable you can also use the ones that run over power lines.
At last, if all of that stuff did not solve your problem. Its time for upgrade. An 802.11 AC wireless network can deliver upto 500mbps real-world throughput to a strong client. Even a dual-band N wireless network can give you a better throughput at a wider range of 5 gHz and protecting you from the interference caused by other devices operating on 2.4 gHz band. Both of these things are very good and important to consider when buying a new access point.
You also do not need to upgrade all of your stuff immediately. Legacy devices that can’t be upgraded such as smart phones or tablets so by upgrading your router they can connect to an entirely new 5 gHz network to deliver more improved performance. I upgraded my PC with a AC wireless network card and it doubled my transfer rate speeds and more reliable movie streaming experience.
I suggest you do your full research on the performance and compatibility of WiFi routers with your existing devices and consider if you are going to buy newer devices with newer wireless technologies built-in before buying a new Access points. Routers with access points can cost as less as 20$ but you can get a pretty good router starting from 100$ and can go up as much as you would like to a hefty price of 1000$ (or even more). Only upgrading the AP itself can improve the performance or your WiFi.