First, I want to point out that this article is going to point out how to tweak things around your home or business to get better wireless speeds and coverage. We cannot fix slow WIFI speeds if you’re using old wireless technologies like A, B, G, or N. These tips and tricks will help you get a better overall signal but won’t be taking your internet connection from 10MBPS to 1000MPS. That’s just not how it works.
Find out what your router is
I find that a lot of customers don’t know where their main router or access point is. First things first, I need you to find your router. Once you’ve found your router, write down the make and model of the unit. This way we a Google the router model and find out what it supports and the speeds.
As you can see my main router is a wired router. The router has enough ports and speed to make sure my internet flows as fast as my 360mb/10mb has lots of CPU power to process the traffic. Now for my wireless router.
Here is my wireless router that I use for an access point. It’s an AC router that has lots of speed. Sure, it’s not WIFI 6 – but AC wireless is the current standard of wireless technology, so I won’t be upgrading any time soon as this wireless router was about $300 ish dollars.
First things first – what band are you using? 2.5G is slower speeds but a far longer distance. On the other hand, the 5GHZ band is much faster, but extremely limited in distance and interference. If you are using a 5G router in your medium sized home. You should be fine.
2.5ghz vs 5ghz
Turning off your 2.5GHZ wireless band on your router will make your wireless 5GHZ clients get faster speeds. The downside to this is that any of your older devices (or basic IOT devices) might only have 2.5GHZ radios and not connect to the wireless if the 2.5GHZ band is turned off. I’ve personally done this before and my WIFI connected scale just stopped working. Lesson learned.
Wireless positioning FTW
Once you have identified that your networking gear is using current technologies, this will tell you what your wireless router and, in this case, wired router can do. Keep in mind that these numbers from the manufactures are a little skewed. I’m not saying these numbers are wrong or anything like that. Wireless is two-way communication (sending and receiving). Your wireless router might have speeds of 300MBPS, but that’s one way. If you’re going to send and receive data (like everyone does) you must take that 300MPBS and divide it in two for sending and receiving.
When it comes to wireless there is a lot that can get in the way of your signal. Varied materials have different effects on wireless. As an example, wireless has an extremely tough time passing through chain link fence. The metal and pattern make the wireless signal very weak. Going through a brick wall from inside your house to outside will show a dramatic drop in signal strength and speed.
My suggestion is to take your wireless router and put it in the middle of your business or home. This way it will cover everything. I have seen some customers put the wireless router in one corner of their house. This is bad because half of the wireless signal would be concentrated over their front lawn and not all in the house. Keeping your router centralized will give me better coverage for your house or business.
Break your wireless away from your core router
Most internet service providers (ISPs) will give you a modem + wireless router. These are good as they’re one device that will provide everything. This is fine if you live in a small apartment and don’t really need to cover a large area. Once you get into a larger business or home, I recommend unlinking the roll of router and wireless router from the one device.
Having a wired router for your internet will give you a more solid internet connection. This will allow your main router to focus on routing traffic and gaining higher speeds. The wireless overhead of authentication, etc. will be put on a dedicated device. This also gives you the ability to work on the wireless without taking down your internet. Also, if your wireless access points have a problem, this will not affect your wired connections to computers and IOT devices.
Add more access points for better coverage
More isn’t always better. When it comes to wireless networks you don’t want to have an access point in every room of your house. The same token, at your work, you don’t want to have an access point in every office. Too many access points can cause interference and cause more problems. You should have more access points but keep them in various parts of your home or office. For an exceptionally large house or office you might have 4-6 access points. For a regular-sized home, you might only need one or two.
As I’ve said before it really comes down to coverage area. You want to either have one in the middle of your building or have access points to cover the spots that don’t have coverage.
I personally had poor service outside on my patio. I have since purchased an outdoor wireless access point to combat this. The main reason I added another access point out back is because my wireless signal is very much degraded through the outer brick wall of my house.
Change your wireless channel
You really need to know what channel your wireless router or access point is broadcasting on. This could make or break a good wireless system. The problem is that with so many wireless routers in the world today – you get interference from other routers.
Most of the consumer wireless devices use default channel 7 out of 11. This means if you use a less standard channel, you will have less interference and or signal segregation. The best way to think about it is, if your router is running on channel 7 and all your neighbors are running on the same channel, the wireless routers will try and overlap each other and could cause large problems.
Try a mesh setup
A three-point mesh network system is the best way to go. I’m not saying you should just mesh your Wi-Fi networks (i.e., one node on your modem, then another far away then meshes with one even farther away. If you purchase one of these mesh wireless network kits, make sure the mesh nodes have a network jack on them. They will work much better if you hard wire your mesh notes. On top of that you will still have the advantage of the mesh network as far as mesh node switching. Moving your device from one node to another based on signal strength.
So, there you go
There are actionable steps you can take to position your wireless router better and hopefully some ideas on access points and their locations. I’ll be sure to write up some about checking your wireless signal around your home or office to get a better perspective.
It’s really all about investigation and planning.
If you need help with your computer, business network, wireless access points, servers, Windows, Linux, or anything else. Check me out and send me an email.
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