[WIFI] Stuck in a Dead Zone?
Here is a common question: 'I have a laptop and a smartphone that can both connect to the Internet via my wifi router. In certain rooms it works fine, but other places have an inexplicably weak signal. What can I do when my wifi hotspot seems more like a black hole?' Here are my best tips...
The Solution For WiFi Dead Zones
In many home and office WiFi networks, there are areas where the WiFi radio signal is received very weakly or not at all. Such "dead zones" may be caused by physical obstacles interfering with the signal; distance from the wireless router; or RF interference from electrical appliances, cordless phones, and even other people’s WiFi routers. There are different solutions for WiFi dead zones.
Proper positioning of your wireless router can help minimize dead zones. The router should be in a central location. If it is against one wall of your home, the other side of the house may not get adequate signal. If the router is on the first floor of a two-story house, position it on a high shelf. Keep the router away from metal objects such as filing cabinets, refrigerators, screen doors, etc.
A high-gain antenna can boost the radio signal that your router puts out enough to overcome some dead zones. If your router has external antennas that unscrew from the housing, you can simply remove the stock antennas and screw in a high-gain antenna.
You should discover the gain (measured in units of “dBi”) of your stock antenna and seek a replacement that provides at least an additional 6 dBi in order to see a significant performance difference. For example, the Alfa 9dBi WiFi Booster SMA OMNI-Directional High-Gain Screw-On Swivel Antenna sold at Amazon for $9.99 could replace a stock antenna whose gain is 3 or less.
Another dead zone solution is to boost the gain of client devices: desktop and laptop computers, and tablets. These devices usually have at least one USB port into which you can plug an external WiFi adapter with a high-gain antenna. Such an adapter can be bought on eBay for less than $15; just search for “wifi adapter 1000mw” to find many options. These no-name adapters can boost your roaming range up to half a mile from your wireless router! If you need even more range, consider the $30 Card King KW-3016N Long Range Indoor Outdoor USB Wifi Wireless Adapter with 20dBi High Gain Antenna and 33ft Cable.
Repeaters and Wireless Access Points
A wireless repeater is another solution for WiFi dead zones. A repeater receives a WiFi signal from one device (router or computer), amplifies the signal back to its original strength, and then repeats it. Place a wireless repeater halfway between your router and computer to increase signal strength and range. The $33 NETGEAR N300 Wi-Fi Range Extender, Essentials Edition (EX2700) is a plug-and-play wireless repeater that gets good reviews for effectiveness and ease-of-use. Other wireless repeater makers include Linksys, Hawking Hi-Gain, ViewSonic, D-Link, and Buffalo Technology.
A wireless access point (WAP) is one more solution for WiFi dead zones. A WAP looks very much like a wireless router – in fact, every wireless router contains a WAP. A WAP enables WiFi devices to connect to a wired network. Place a WAP in a dead zone, wire it to the wireless router, and presto! You have WiFi in the dead zone. Check out this TP-LINK TL-WA901ND Wireless N300 3T3R Access Point, with three receiving and three transmitting antennas, for an example under $40.
Instead of running Ethernet cable through walls, you can use powerline networking adapters to create an Ethernet link over a stretch of your home’s electrical power wiring. The wireless router plugs into one powerline adapter with a short Ethernet cable, and the WAP plugs into the other powerline adapter. The TP-LINK TL-PA4020P TKIT AV500 2-Port Powerline Adapter w/ Power Outlet Pass-Through 3-Pack Kit can connect three rooms for $80. (Wow, these things have long names!)
If you have one sitting in a drawer, an old or unused wireless router can be configured to operate as a WAP. It just takes a bit of fiddling with the router’s configuration settings, as described in this tutorial.
Do you have any good tips for improving the wifi reception in a home or office setting? Post your comment or question below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 6 May 2016
|For Fun: Buy Bob a Snickers.|
Geekly Update - 05 May 2016
The Top Twenty
[PREVIEW] What's Next For Windows 10?
Post your Comments, Questions or Suggestions
Free Tech Support -- Ask Bob Rankin
Subscribe to AskBobRankin Updates: Free Newsletter
Copyright © 2005
- Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved
Article information: AskBobRankin -- [WIFI] Stuck in a Dead Zone? (Posted: 6 May 2016)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved