Consumer Watch: Fixing that bad Wi-Fi Signal in your home
OKLAHOMA CITY (KOKH) —
A spotty Wi-Fi connection could have a lot to do with the hardware in your home. If you are using the standard Wi-Fi router that comes with most internet plans, the signal strength is not considered especially good according to tech experts, but some easy accessories could make your Wi-Fi signal more powerful fast.
Most homes have one router, but the reality is that one single piece of hardware may not be enough, especially if you have a split level or larger home.
"It is like a CB radio or the radio in your car. The closer you get to the station the better you can pick it up and hear it. The further away you get the worse it gets," says David Moore, an Oklahoma City computer expert.
Moore says the first way to fix the problem is to use what he calls brute force. Basically, turn up the volume on the Wi-Fi signal. This fix will only cost a few bucks.
"Antenna is really where you start. A lot of times you can just replace the antennas that you have on your wireless router, put a better antenna on there and all of a sudden you have a better set up," Moore said.
If you don't have a router with antennas, things get a little more complicated. The reach is not especially strong with the common routers that come with an internet subscription. You could buy your own router with antennas to aim in the direction you want the signal to go.
"You want to reach devices on another floor you can aim the antenna. The signal radiates out… It does not project out of the top of the antenna," Moore said.
Another option is a Wi-Fi adapter. These can range in prices, but could cost around $40. They are connected to a computer or other device receiving the signal, to boost the power.
For around $300, there is the mesh or grid network, also known as a Wi-Fi extender. These tend to be smaller and can be placed in multiple areas of a home. They are especially good, if there are large obstructions in your home, like brick walls or metal appliances.
If you are in a larger home, the best place to put your Wi-Fi router is in the center of the home. That way it travels the same distance across the entire home. If you are still having trouble with signal strength, it may be time to consider Wi-Fi extenders.