One of the chief appeals of wireless internet is convenience – the ability to roam your home with a laptop or rearrange furniture without regard to modems and outlets. But when a weak wireless signal undermines the value of your wi-fi setup, it’s tempting to go back to corded more. Some frazzled home wireless users even resort to spending additional money on new routers/antennas, external USB wi-fi adapters, or even wireless signal repeaters. Before you dish money out for these accessories, though, make sure you’ve exhausted the free options.
Here are three possible ways to improve your home wireless signal for free:
1. Rethink the location of your router. This may seem easy and obvious, but if you haven’t tried it yet, what are you waiting for? In order for the router to broadcast the best signal and receive replies from your computer(s), it should have free space all around. Don’t place your router underneath furniture, on the bottom shelf of a bookcase, behind a desk, next to metal cabinetry, or in the far corner of a room if you need to reach other rooms. If possible, place the router on an open table to improve its capabilities. Try keeping it near a doorway if the wireless signal in adjacent rooms is weak. This will require some experimentation, but relocating your router is free and only takes a few minutes.
2. Update the drivers for your network adapter. Especially if your computer is a few years old (as mine was when I experienced a problem in a new home), download fresher drivers. Confused? Fear not. Drivers are simply a special type of software that allows devices – like a wireless adaptor in your laptop – to communicate with the rest of your computer. Go to Control Panel > System > Hardware Tab > Device Manager. You’ll see a list of all your devices, including your wireless network adapter. Right click on the adapter and pursue the driver update, following the prompts. When I updated the drivers for my own network adaptor, I was able to improve my computer’s response to the home wireless signal.
3. Reduce wireless signal interference or change the channel. The average 900 MHz cordless phone won’t cause any problems for a home wireless signal, but certain other wireless devices, including higher-end phones, might hamper the signal because they operate in the same section of the S band as wi-fi: 2.4 GHz. You can also try changing the channel by accessing the router’s page and making a switch. See your router’s instruction guide for more details.
Good luck improving your home wireless signal for free!