Lifehacker Readers' Solutions For Your Home's Bad Wi-Fi Coverage

We recently detailed a few solutions for bad Wi-Fi household coverage, and our readers had a lot of experience, knowledge and workarounds of their own to share. Here's how Lifehacker readers got around shoddy wireless coverage in their own homes and offices.

Image via osde8info.

Use Channels 1, 6 or 11 for Best Results

We alluded to the salvation of changing your router's Wi-Fi channel to escape interference from neighbouring routers. Most routers default to channel 6, but changing to 7 won't help you much, as channels next to or nearby each other can still interfere.

You're trying to get at least five channels away from the other nearby Wi-Fi uses, so channels 1 or 11 can usually help you out. If you use a Wi-Fi analyser and find other devices using one of those channels, try to get as many channel numbers as possible away from the strongest interference. Most Wi-Fi analysis apps, like the web/Java-based Meraki Wi-Fi Stumbler, can show you where to turn. The setting for changing a router channel is usually on the first screen of the setup page or just inside the "Wireless" tab.

Cut Out Cordless Phone and Microwave Interference

Some microwaves and many cordless phones operate in and around the same frequency range as some Wi-Fi channels. If you can, try moving your router or phone apart from each other, such that the router has a more clear shot at rooms where you'd be accessing the internet.

Lifehacker reader Joshua Bardwell. having designed wireless layouts for hospitals, states that the real solution is to buy a phone labelled as using DECT 6.0, so that it operates in the range around 1.9 GHz. He also suggests that microwaves tend to interfere more with channel 11, if you suspect that your internet drops out every time it's a Lean Cuisine lunch.

Try an Attic Router in Short or One-Storey Homes

A central position in the house is the best spot for a router to go, but reader Live N Learn suggests an attic or top-floor placement, at least in single-storey or shorter houses.

I discovered this when I lived in a house that had plaster walls. I could get a low signal one room away but that was it. Then I realised...DUH! Always make it one room away. Since then, it's worked like a charm in every house I've lived in...well, all of three.

Image via Infrogmation.

We're pretty geeked out on wireless waves, as you've seen, but we're always up to hear other solutions, success stories or unique problems. Tell us about your own adventures in Wi-Fi in the comments.


Comments

    I found that swapping my WiFi adaptor for a USB one with an external 2dBi antenna improved the reach of the wireless network markedly - perhaps doubling the range. I assume that it's because the antenna on the USB device is in the same orientation as the two on the wireless access point, versus the PCB track antenna of the PC Card it replaced.

    The whole wireless network is only as good as the weakest link. IME one crap card can upset the performance of the entire network. This is worth remembering when updating drivers and firmware - often it's not just the driver software that's being updated, but also the software that runs on the wireless card.

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