Confronting awful WiFi signal coverage is annoying right? When you are walking into the stairs, the WiFi suddenly disappeared. If you have tried the common solutions like upgrade firmware and play with antenna to improve your WiFi signal, but they didn’t make good result. Here are some practical tips to offer. First of all, let’s figure out what causes the poor WiFi connectivity.
The WiFi employs 2.4Ghz or 5.8Ghz to transmit the signal in the air which is easier to weaken by the obstructions such as the walls. One wall will weaken WiFi signal to 80%, and two walls will go down to 50% left. Some people think 5.8Ghz WiFi router can improve WiFi signal, which may not always true. If the WiFi is weaken by obstructions, the 5.8Ghz WiFi router only makes it worse. Although the 5.8Ghz WiFi router is capable of carrying higher volume data, meanwhile it compromises the penetrating capacity, which means its transmission distance is shorten than the 2.4Ghz WiFi router. An instinct way to bypass the obstructions is relocating the WiFi router. However, sometimes you will have no condition to move the router. Because WiFi router has to set closed to the network entrance. The first practical tip is that you can use a repeater to receive the WiFi signal from the main router and transmit forward to the destination. Look at the image below. There are 4 walls between the WiFi router and the bedroom which causes the dark zone. Now if we place a repeater at the living room will reduce the obstructions to 2 walls. The key is to find the path for the WiFi signal to bypass the obstructions, usually it is the L shape. The repeater should be placed at the turning point of the L.
There are two ways to repeat the WiFi signal. If you already have an old WiFi router in hand, now this is a chance to re-use it. What you should do is to connect your old router to the main router through WiFi. Actually it is not complicated as you think.
- Re-use your Existed WiFi Router
Firstly, power up the old router and make the connection by using a laptop or Mobil phone, then login the router in the web browser. If you don’t remember the IP address or the login account, usually you can find the information at the bottom of the router. Find the reset button and depress for more than 10 seconds after the router is powered up. This operation can restore the factory setting which allows you to login with default account. In the Wifi setting page, you can see the WDS option unchecked. Mark the checkbox and it will present the network search option in the page. Use this search option to connect this router to your main WiFi network. There are two more steps to go through. Turn off the DHCP and change the IP address of this router in case that it may have IP conflict with your main router. Once you have done these setting properly, the WiFi router will work as WiFi repeater.
- Pick WiFi Repeater
If you feel too much bother to tweak the setting in the router, you can simply buy a WiFi repeater. WiFi repeater (aka WiFi extender) works much similiar as your old router here. But the setting is simpler. The DHCP and IP address conflict issues are avoided by the default setting as the product is designed for WiFi repeating purpose. Simply plug the repeater to the AC outlet, it will create internal WiFi which allows you to access by using the mobile phone or tablet. After you login the repeater, you can connect the repeater to your main WiFi network, and the repeater will start forwarding the WiFi which works exactly the same as the above WiFi router.
- Move Antenna Outside
The WiFi signal is being transmitted through the antenna. While there are thick walls that weaken the signal, move the antenna to another side to bypass the walls which could improve the WiFi signal. This solution doesn’t always work, because some of the WiFi signal could be consumed while transmitting along with the extension cable. It’s too weak for the remained signal to spread out. People mentioned to turn to high power antenna, I don’t recommend it, as the antenna needs to match the original power design of your router. Replace with high power antenna while the router can’t provide enough power which makes the case worse.
WiFi router and repeater try to bypass the obstructions by changing the direction. It only reduces the obstructions but not eliminates it. The seconds practical solution is to mix wire and WiFi connection. Use the wire cable to transmit network signal to the dark zones and create WiFi signal from there. There are several ways to make it.
- Powerline Adaptor
The power line adaptor takes used or existed AC power line to transmit network data. The network signal is converted before being injected to the power line with adaptor and picked up at other AC outlet by another adaptor. After that, it will generate new WiFi signal. If you have WiFi birdhouse camera in the garden, it relies on the WiFi connectivity. Use the power line adaptor can easily extend the WiFi signal closed to the camera as long as the AC outlet is nearby. Two important things about the power line solution. The adaptor only works in the same electric meter. Both transmitter adaptor and receiver adaptor need to stay in the same meter. And the second thing is that power line requires qualification cables in the building. If the building is very old with poor cabling job, the power adaptor may have problem to transmit the data.
- PoE WiFi access point
PoE WiFi access point receives network signal by using the Ethernet cable and generates new WiFi dignal in the field. The connection between PoE WiFi access point and the main router is cable link, which can provide reliable high speed up to 1000 gigabytes. Moreover, multiple WiFi access points can be deployed to improve the WiFi signal to coverage different areas. The advantages of PoE WiFi access point is both power and data can be transmitted to the access point by using signal Ethernet cable. Wherever the cable is, the power source follows. The power is added to cable at the router by using the PoE injector.
- Long distance WiFi PoE extender
As we know that the cat5/cat6 cable connection is limited to 100 meters. If the WiFi signal needs to be extended over 100 meters, such as from the lake to the house, you may need the PoE extender to repeat the network signal. The PoE extender can repeat the network signal up to 500 meters. The PoE WiFi access point will be installed at the end of 500 meters and create the WiFi signal to cover the area. It’s of great convenience that the PoE extender doesn’t require power source closed to each repeater. The power is added to the cable inline by PoE injector. The power adaptors are eliminated in the daisy chain setup.
The last but not least, sometimes the poor WiFi is not caused by the obstructions, but jamed with neighbor’s WiFi, because there are too many WiFi working in the field. I saw people has more than 25 WiFi hot spots picking up in his phone, the WiFi signal is so craw so it gets jam. Sometimes you experience the poor WiFi connection occasionally such as at night or at weekend. Properly the WiFi is too crowded. People use WiFi more often in these time frames. You can simply check the WiFi hot spot with mobile phone. If in such case, except for bringing your WiFi more closely, you can switch the WiFi channel in your WiFi router to avoid the jam.
- Channel switch
What is WiFi channel?
Think of the walkie-talkie which has different channels to communicate with each other. The WiFi router has around 13 channels, it is set to auto selection in default. What you can do is to login your WiFi router and manually switch the channel to test whether the situation improved. It is important to choose the moment to make the change when WiFi connectivity became worse. Only this moment you can know which channel is being jam. Reboot the router after you switch to new channel, your mobile device will make the WiFi connection to the new channel.
The above is the all the possible solutions that I offer for help. If you do have any new idea or all above tips still can’t improve your WiFi network, please leave a message in the comment section. Here is the article about how to set up home network with PoE switch.