Check out these solutions to boost your wireless signal, extend your Wi-Fi coverage, and speed up your connection.
It is incredibly frustrating but really common when encountering wireless connection problems in home, office or factory, such as experiencing poor WiFi during VoIP video conferences. There are many reasons why you get a poor WiFi connection: dead zone, signal interference, obsolete network device, speed limit, WiFi squatter, ect. This article gives you some solutions to extend your wireless network signal and increase the range of WiFi for a better experience.
No matter for home or office use, the fundamental thing is to keep the range that routers or wireless APs can handle as large as possible. The farther you get from your router's antenna, the weaker the signal. If you go from 1 to 2 meters away from the router, the signal is only a quarter as strong, and at three meters it's only ninth as strong. Make sure you have placed the routers or APs in the middle of the devices and there are few walls or other obstructions as possible.
If you have placed the wireless router or AP at the centralized location but there are still corners out of range, WiFi extender or WiFi repeater is an easy and cheap way to extend WiFi range by adding additional hardware without having to run cables. Although they are named differently, the function of them is almost the same—to take in an existing wireless signal, repeat it, and forward it to the dead zones of the location. See the differences between Wireless AP vs Range Extender if you're having basic problem with these two things.
Note: The WiFi extenders actually only extend wireless network range, instead of your WiFi signals. Thus, there is no such thing as business-grade extenders because they only support a limited number of devices at a time and the WiFi signal can get weaker when devices are connected simultaneously. Besides, old routers also can be configured into an extender if the router can use open-source firmware.
Your WiFi network speed can also be influenced by the age of your wireless device: what WiFi standards it supports, as well as how good its processor and antennas are. The latest WiFi 6 technology can offer a 30% faster speed than WiFi 5, WiFi 6-supported devices can theoretically hit 9.6 Gbps. Thereinto, the enhanced WiFi 6 MU-MIMO technology increases 4x capacity for more simultaneous connections, especially in enterprise campus networks. If you're running obsolete hardware, you can't expect the best performance. We have a tendency to upgrade your wireless devices.
Dual-band technology gradually becomes common for routers or APs because it can broadcast 2.4GHz and 5GHz signals together, supporting a greater range of devices and higher signal by separating network traffic between devices with different bandwidth. When network congestion appears on 2.4GHz, dual-band WiFi APs make it possible to seamlessly switch the 2.4GHz end-users to 5GHz, which reduces the network traffic load and extends wireless network signals.
5GHz band tends to be less congested than 2.4GHz because it offers more channels for devices to use.
2.4 GHz band can be subject to interference from devices like cordless phones, microwaves and other WiFi-supported devices. In reslut, the RF interference can impact the 2.4GHz band used by WiFi, effectively slow down the link, and lead to reduced signal strength.
5GHz has a smaller range than 2.4GHz and doesn't penetrate the solid objects like walls. The most effective strategy is to use 2.4GHz for basic WiFi applications, and then use 5GHz for high bandwidth applications.
Wireless distribution system (WDS) is a system that can expand wireless networks using wireless APs without cables. You are able to bridge two access points to make up the area where the wireless signals can not cover at your home or office. In a WDS, one access point can act as a wireless base station that connects to the Internet and connects to clients wirelessly or with wire cables. Another access point receives the wireless signal from the wireless base station and sends signals to the other clients, where the first access point is not accessible because of low range.
A wireless mesh network is often seen as the upgrade version of WDS. In a mesh network system, there are dozens or hundreds of routers or APs spread out and act as individual nodes. All the nodes communicate with each other to extend the wireless signals and extend WiFi coverage.
Different from a WDS system where an AP is only connected to another AP wirelessly, mesh nodes support multiple wireless hops before connecting to a node that is wired into the network. Each mesh node can reach another node going through multiple hops and leveraging other nodes as repeaters.
The major advantage of a wireless mesh networks is the intrinsic redundancy and reliability because a mesh network is able to reroute traffic through multiple paths to cope with link failures, interference, power failures or network device failures.
Note: When one mesh node reaches another one, the throughput can be cut in half. To avoid such cases, it is feasible to add more nodes to the network backbone and also place the node APs in optimum spots.