Some of us are happy with a simple and secured Wi-Fi setup. However, did you know there are steps you can take to improve your wireless network performance? If you are suffering in silence from dropped signals or happen to be living with wireless dead spots in your cosy pad, here are seven easy tips to get better Wi-Fi in your home!
Upgrade Your Wireless Router
Are you still chugging along with that old and dusty 802.11g router? Well, perhaps it’s time to upgrade. An N-router is not only four times faster than a G-router but it also has an indoor wireless range that’s twice as far, Its use of MIMO antennas also helps extend wireless coverage as well. Routers based on the recent “802.11n-2009” standard are touted to offer maximum data rates of up to 600Mbps on four spatial streams.
Position It Right
Although N-routers have a theoretical 70m indoor range, its signal strength is susceptible to interferences from other electronic devices. It is also prone to signal degradation due to obstacles such as walls and other metallic objects. In order to maximize your router’s wireless reach, it’s best to place the access point in a centralized location. Note that this is in reference to your home, and not the room itself. Try different spots, and see which location works best.
A dual-band 802.11n in router is able to broadcast on both 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands simultaneously. If you’d like to exploit both frequencies at the same time, you’ll need a dual-band adapter on your notebook or PC as well. You might want to note that not all wireless modules on Intel’s recent “Calpella” platform, like the Core i3, i5 and i7 series, comes with a dual-band chipset. Only the Centrino Advanced-N 6200 AGN adapter and above offers such perks.
Tweak Your Broadcast Channel
Here is something you can try when faced with weak signal strength. Instead of using the router’s default broadcast channel, try selecting other channels and see if the wireless signal strength improves with a different selection. You should be able to find this option under the router’s Wireless configuration page. In addition, some routers also indicate the precise frequency band, like 2.457GHz for example, next to the channel number.
Change Your Wi-Fi Adapter
While you might not experience a significant drop in throughput speeds, legacy 802.11g adapters like those found on older laptops can affect the range of your N-wireless network. Recent wireless modules such as Intel’s Centrino Ultimate N 6300 for instance, offer 802.1n multi-stream capabilities and dual-band support besides offering a boost in signal range. However, you can always opt for a USB M-wireless adapter if it’s too costly to purchase a brand new notebook.
Add a Wireless Extender
If all else fails and you are still experiencing dead zones at various areas, then a wireless extender is needed. Most extenders are inexpensive and relatively easy to configure. There are some alternatives which make use of power lines such as Aztech’s HomePlug HL110EW. While they are easy to configure via a “Simple Connect” button, you will require another compatible HomePlug to pair them up.
Prioritize Applications with QoS
Quality of Service (QoS) is a common feature found in many N-routers today. It is a useful tool which prioritizes VoIP and gaming applications, like Skype for instance, on top of your regular Internet traffic. Some brands, such as ASUS and Netgear, offer a user-friendly QoS interface whereas others like EnGenius are designed more for the network savvy. For the latter, you’ll need to assign the appropriate physical port or IP range to the application you’d like to optimize.
It’s not uncommon to find TVs integrated with DLNA features. If so, you may hook up a media server computer, NAS, or even a gaming console to a DLNA-certified TV to stream multimedia content. Again, the DLNA configuration process varies from brand to brand and it’s best to consult the TV manual for this. Contrary to popular belief, however, an Ethernet connection between the TV and your home network is a must.