Wi-Fi Hack: Move your router and enjoy the speed you’ve been missing

Wi-Fi Hack: Move your router and enjoy the speed you’ve been missing

There are few things more frustrating than slow Wi-Fi. It’s a huge headache if you’re working from home, if you’re trying to install smart home gadgets or if you’re staring at a spoolie wheel when you just want to relax with some Netflix at the end of the day. So, what can you do if your Wi-Fi always seems unstable, no matter your ISP or how many devices are connected?

There’s a simple way to improve your Wi-Fi that only takes a few minutes. There are a lot of factors that determine internet speeds, and while there are some tricks or tips you can follow to improve the speeds and overall wireless coverage in your home, one of the most important factors is the location of your router. The best place is not always the place the technician sets it up.

So keep reading to learn about the best location in your home for your router and other tricks to get faster Wi-Fi. You can also check out our picks for the best Wi-Fi 6 routers, best mesh routers, and best Wi-Fi extenders. (And if you have a mesh router, be sure to check out our guide on where and how to set that up the right way, too.)

Read more: T-Mobile Home Internet Review

Choose the right router for your space

First things first: it all starts with Choose the right router Or other equipment. Not all routers are the same and the size and layout of your home will determine the type of wireless network you need.

For most small apartments and homes (less than 1,500 square feet), a single wireless access point should be sufficient. However, if your router is several years old, you may want to consider upgrading to A newer model supports 802.11axor Wi-Fi 6. This is the latest generation of Wi-Fi technology, and will give you the fastest possible wireless speeds and the best overall coverage.

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For larger, multi-level homes, it’s worth considering making them Upgrade to a mesh network To provide consistent coverage throughout the entire home. Once you have the main access point installed, if you find that a remote corner of your home doesn’t have strong wireless coverage, simply add another node to that area. The problem has been resolved.

To learn more, see our website List of the best mesh routers of the year (Our top pick is TP-Link Deco W7200). If you need some additional guidance, consult our website Router buying guide.

Just remember: Regardless of whether you have a single access point or a mesh network, where you place the primary access point still matters.

Well, where is the best place to put your router?

TP Link router on a blue background

Check out all the different routers available to you: Wi-Fi routers, mesh networks, and more.

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When you first move into a new house or apartment, the modem is usually installed along the wall in one of the farthest places in the house. This is simply because this is where the line enters the home and the technician’s job is to set up the connection – not improve your network. This part is on you.

It’s tempting to leave everything where the technician set it up. But this is unlikely to be the optimal place to put your router.

Choose a central location

Routers send the signal in all directions, so if left in the corner of your home, a large percentage of your wireless coverage will be sent outside your home. That’s why your best bet is to move the router to a central location to improve the signal.

Installing a router through the house from your modem can be annoying. It may require running a long CAT5 or CAT6 Ethernet cable by hand underground or along the bottom of your walls, or enlisting the help of powerline network adapters, which use the electrical wiring in your home to pass an Internet signal from one point to another. But the improved wireless coverage is worth it.

Lift the router

Routers tend to spread their strongest signals downward, so it’s best to mount your router as high as possible to maximize coverage. Try placing it high on a bookshelf or mounting it on the wall in an inconspicuous place.

Search online, and you’ll find plenty of custom wall mounts designed for specific routers, e.g This stick mount to Aero Pro 6 Mesh router. If you’re having trouble finding a good, high spot, something like this could be a great solution.

Avoid other electronic devices

Try to choose a location away from other electronic devices and large metal objects. The more walls, large obstructions, and electronics near your router, the greater the odds that something will interfere with the signal.

One type of electronic device to especially avoid is microwaves, which emit a strong signal in the 2.4 GHz band, the same wireless band your router operates in. You’ll also need to be careful not to place your router behind a large TV, which can cause electronic interference while also physically blocking or disabling the signal.

In addition to electronics, pay attention to bulky furniture that may limit signal reach. For example, Wi-Fi doesn’t travel well through water, so if you have an aquarium in your home, try to avoid situations where it’s between your router and the device that needs to connect.

This weird antenna is actually important

Some routers have no antennas at all, but some have up to eight antennas. These antennas help direct the signal. If there are two or more antennas on your router, do not place them all in the same direction.

Instead, keep them perpendicular to each other, so one is horizontal and the other is vertical. Or reposition all antennas slightly to cover a wide range of angles. You may have to experiment a little to find the most effective configuration.

The signal will come out of each of these antennas as a wave that travels in all directions, and that wave will be perpendicular to the antenna itself, so a vertical antenna will be most useful in one-story homes, while a horizontal or inclined antenna will emit a signal that travels upwards. Which may be more useful in a multi-storey house.

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Wi-Fi mapping software like NetSpot can help you visualize the strength of your network, making it easier to address weak spots.

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

Map your signal

In a worst-case scenario, it may be helpful to draw a signal in your home to see where there may be gaps or problem areas in your coverage. Several years ago, we used NetSpot software to determine signal strength All around the smart home CNET — Finally, we took a closer look at the vulnerabilities of our Wi-Fi network, which helped us shore things up by moving our devices to more optimal locations.

If you’re thinking about upgrading your router, check it out CNET’s picks for the best routers. For homes with children, check this Explore your router’s parental controlsalso.

Taylor Martin contributed to this story.

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