Learning how to extend WiFi range is necessary if you have a large surface area to cover.
You may also want to extend your WiFi range to broaden your WiFi coverage at home so you can use your phone in the backyard without interference and waste data.
No matter the reason, learning how to extend your WiFi range should be easy. After thorough research, I will explain exactly which products and services you can use to extend your Wi-Fi network's signal strength.
I will also break down exactly how to extend your WiFi based on which service you have and which operating system you use.
Table of Contents
Steps to Extend Your WiFi Range
Although there are various products you can purchase to help you connect to WiFi from longer distances with less interference, you should try a couple things first. Also, keep in mind that the process to extend your WiFi range will differ depending on which best Internet provider and router you have.
1. Update the Firmware on Your Wireless Router
Before you go out and buy a wireless extender, you may be able to improve your office or home network signal strength with a firmware update. Every wireless router's firmware update can be accessed differently, but there are some general steps you can take. Here's what to do.
- Find your router number. Various WiFi networks use the number 192.168.1.1, but it could be different depending on your wireless network.
- Type it into your web browser and search. This should bring you to your wireless network user interface page where you can sign into your administrator account.
- Once you get into your network's user interface, look for anything that says update. You may be able to find it under where it says Router Setup or About This Router.
Something else to consider is firmware with open source programs. Firmware with open source programs can provide advanced bandwidth and improved network reliability for your router. You can even integrate your open source firmware with your VPN service.
2. Move Your Router to a Different Location
Dead spots are a nuisance when it comes to WiFi. A dead spot is when there is a certain area in your house or office where the WiFi won't work as well as the rest of the house or office. If you're having this problem with your office or home network, try simply moving your router to another wall outlet. Finding a better power outlet (maybe closer to your dead spots) could save you from having to purchase extra software.
3. Set Dual Band Routers to the 5GHz Band Instead of a 2.4GHz Band
Most wireless routers these days are dual band. This means they work on both the 5GHz band network and the 2.4GHz band network. If you want a good connection, you should make sure you are connected to 5GHz band WiFi instead of 2.4GHz. 5GHz is more modern and supports more Mbps of Internet speed than 2.4GHz. If your router only works with 2.4GHz, you may want to consider upgrading for less interference.
Additionally, you should look into an 802.11 AC router. An 802.11 a router runs just 5GHz band WiFi instead of dual band 2.4GHz and 5GHz WiFi like 802.11 n routers.
4. Check to See if Your Wireless Channel is Too Congested
Congestion on your wireless network channel can cause interference and slow down your connection. Sometimes, if you're neighbors are all using the same channel for their WiFi, the channel gets congested. Luckily, you can check which channel your neighbors are using ad change it if you find it's congested. Here's how.
On A Mac
With a Mac, you can check you WiFi channel along with your neighbors without any other software.
- Hold down the option key on your keyboard and click your WiFi icon on your status bar.
- Click Open Wireless Diagnostics
- Ignore the introduction screen that pops up and click on Window > Scan from your status bar.
- Click scan now to get all information about networks in your area. Scroll to the right to see channels being used in your area and check the best channels available in the left-hand column.
- If you want to change your channel, try simply rebooting your router. It will usually try to pick up a less congested channel.
On A PC
If you want to check WiFi channels in your area on a PC, you'll need your IP address. First, you should check out the WiFi channels being used in your neighborhood.
- You'll need to download a software utility to check which channels are being used in your neighborhood on a Windows PC. You can use on like the Acrylic WiFi scanner.
- Once you've seen which channels are being used with your scanner of choice, it's easy to change the channel. Type in your Windows IP address into your web browser. It should be something like 192.168.1.1, 192.168.2.1, or 10.0.0.1.
- Then, go to your router's wireless settings to change the channel and click apply.
5. Use Quality of Service Settings
The quality of Service (QoS) settings is router settings that let you prioritize your WiFi depending on what you're doing. For example, if you want to play online multiplayer games, you can set your router to give more bandwidth to online multiplayer games than streaming TV or music. Check your router instructions or do a Google search to see if your router provides these settings.
6. Secure Your WiFi
Before you go out and buy an external software to extend your WiFi range, make sure you know how to secure your WiFi. If you don't have secure WiFi, strangers can hack into your network and steal your connection, causing slower Internet speed overall. As a result, you should learn how to activate Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS) to secure your network from strangers. You should also look into how to create a strong password for your WiFi network during setup. With Wi-Fi protected setup and a strong password, your connection should be secure.
7. Connect an Ethernet Wire or Install a WiFi Range Extender or new Access Point
If all else fails, you're going to need an external method to figure out how to extend your WiFi range for long distance use. Your choices include a Wireless Access Point, a Wireless Booster, Gigabit Ethernet, a base station, or a simple USB flash drive.
How To Extend Range With Wireless Access Points
Wireless access points are hardware networking devices. They will connect your WiFi devices to a wired network from a long distance. Wireless access points can be either standalone devices that connect to your router(via WiFi or wire), or they can be built into a router.
Regardless, access points are meant to extend your WiFi range if you need wider coverage. Wireless Access Points usually come with a power adapter and an Ethernet cable in the box unless they run completely on WiFi. Here's how to install one once you've made a purchase.
Steps to Install Wireless Access Points
1. First, plug in your Ethernet cable to your router's Ethernet port and your Wireless Access Point's Internet port to connect the two. If you already have an Ethernet plugged into your computer, simply unplug and connect it to your WAP. You can also connect your access point directly to your computer with the Ethernet cable.
2. Then, connect the power adapter to a wall outlet and your wireless access point.
3. Once you're connected, you'll need to restart your router and computer to reconnect. Then simply follow any directions included with your Wireless Access Point to configure it on your computer.
Use a Wireless Booster/Extender/Repeater
A Wireless Extender, Repeater or Booster can help you extend your WiFi range. They have different names but do the same thing: extend your WiFi. Wireless boosters do this by receiving your wireless signal and amplifying it to transmit farther distances. They will double your signal strength and wireless coverage, guaranteeing a good connection outside and in every room of the house.
- The best wireless extenders either connect using an Ethernet cord in Access Point Mode or via WiFi to receive and transmit your signal wirelessly.
- You can set up your WiFi extender by plugging it into a power outlet between your router and your WiFi dead zone. Then, you'll have to either plug in your Ethernet cord or connect wirelessly if possible. Check your wireless extender's manual for specific instructions.
- If you're looking for a great wireless extender, you should check out Amped Wireless. Amped Wireless sells high-power WiFi range extenders with advanced smart security.
There are various alternatives to consider as well if you're not interested in a traditional WiFi range extender. Here are a couple options.
Gigabit Ethernet Cable
Gigabit Ethernet is a cable that allows network transfers up to 1.000 Mbps. It is usually only supported by optical fiber networks. To connect, just plug in your Ethernet cable to your Gigabit Ethernet Port. Plug the other end of the Ethernet cable into a wireless local area network router. Once your Gigabit Ethernet Port and router are connected via Gigabit Ethernet cable, you'll be able to get a stronger connection.
A base station is a transceiver that acts as a wireless access point for computers with wireless cards. A base station connects devices to a wireless Local Area Network (the Internet) based on the network's WiFi standard without wires. Apple offers base stations as a wireless alternative to a regular router.
Apple Base Stations
If you have a Mac computer, you can use Apple Airport Utility to set up wireless connections to one or more base stations. Click the link for details. Airport Utility can also connect base stations using an Ethernet cord.
USB Wi-Fi Adapter
An external USB Wi-Fi Adapter is a smaller, portable version of a WiFi extender. USB Wi-Fi Adapters can create an extremely reliable connection for maximum speed on your laptop when used with an upgraded router. Before you buy, just make sure your router and your USB Wi-Fi Adapter can run on the same WiFi protocol and frequencies. Otherwise, it won't produce maximum speeds.
How To Extend Range of Wireless Security Cameras
You may also want to learn how to extend your Wi-Fi network if you're adding wireless security cameras to your best home security system, according to CCTV Camera World. Usually, cameras are set up on the 2.4GHz band network so they don't interfere with the 5GHz network. It's best to have a router with dual band capabilities if you want to install wireless security cameras.
Check the Quality of WiFi Router
When determining wireless Internet service, the best WiFi router can help you cover more ground without any extra software. Here's what to look for in a router.
The best WiFi router should have:
- an access point built in
- dual-band with 2.4GHz and 5GHz capabilities
- solid throughput (speed Mbps) in long-range circumstances
- 802.11ac router capabilities
- Quality of Service controls to prioritize WiFi.
Extending your WiFi range is great when you can do it, but you might be stumped on the first step: connecting to WiFi! It's not as simple as it sounds. We have a step-by-step instructional guide on how to connect to WiFi, and another on how to enable WiFi in your car.
Now that you're a professional when it comes to figuring out how to extend your WiFi, decide which option is suitable for you. Whether you need a WiFi range extender or to simply move your router to a new power outlet, extending your signal is always possible.
For more helpful tips about the Internet, check out our Internet Provider Guides page for everything we have to offer.
If this article helped you learn how to extend your WiFi range, please share it with you friends and family to help them out as well. You can subscribe to the MoneySavingPro Blog or follow us on Pinterest and Facebook for more how-to articles and technology guides.