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Optimize your WLAN: 16 Tips for A Better Connection

Slow or nonexistent Wi-Fi irritates me. This is especially frustrating when you’re trying to unwind on the couch and the movie you want to watch refuses to load or freeze. Fixing your Wi-Fi yourself might save you what seems like hours of frustration. Discover the causes and remedies for poor Wi-Fi reception. (Optimize your WLAN: 16 Tips for A Better Connection)

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Everything at a quick glance:

  • Use speed tests to check your Internet connection’s speed.
  • Heat maps show you where there are WLAN reception issues in your house.
  • The multitude of things can lead to problems. Maybe there’s a signal blockage, an incorrectly positioned Wi-Fi router, or an overload on your network.
  • Water, metal, and other radio-emitting objects are the most frequent causes of interference.
  • You can improve your slow Wi-Fi by upgrading the router, extending the range with Wi-Fi repeaters, or clearing the way for Wi-Fi radio signals.

Measurement: Broadband speed and wireless signal

Check to see if your Internet link is working right and if it’s giving you any issues before you start to improve your Wi-Fi.

How fast is your Internet?

Your slow Internet connection might not be the wireless network’s fault at all, but the problem with your Internet connection. How good is the Internet at home that you pay for? To find out, you should check how fast your Internet deal is.

You can get help from speed tests. There are a lot of free ones on the web, like wieistmeineip.de, speedtest.net, and breitbandmessung.de. You will have to give information about where you are, your Internet service provider, and the speed you agreed to. The test will show you how fast or slow your Internet really is. If the result is much less than what you agreed to in the contract, you should call your ISP. Take the test at different times and on different days to get a good score.

How do you measure your Wi-Fi signal?

Once you have ruled out general Internet problems, it is time to take a closer look at your Wi-Fi speed. There are two questions to ask.

Question 1: Is your Wi-Fi connection different from your cable connection?

If you are familiar with computers and the like, it will be easier for you to answer this question. Send a file (500 megabytes to 1 gigabyte) from your media server twice. Once to a laptop using a wireless connection, and a second time to the same laptop using a LAN connection. If the file transfer was significantly slower on the wireless connection, you may want to optimize your wireless Internet connection or even replace your wireless router.

Question 2: Is your wireless coverage consistent throughout your home?

The easiest way to find out is to walk around your home with a device connected to the Wi-Fi network and note the areas of poor reception. This will tell you where you need to improve your Wi-Fi, such as with a repeater.

TIPS:

“A heat map works the same way. You can download free tools like Ekahau Heat Mapper from the Internet. The tool measures the different signal strengths, puts them in relation to each other, and analyzes your home for problems with Wi-Fi reception. NetSpot is an expensive but very informative program.”

Case: Wi-Fi signal with MacOS and iOS

If you are using a Mac, you can also check the quality of your Wi-Fi speed directly using the built-in tools. To do so, open the Diagnostic Utility for Wireless Environments. Click on the Performance window. You will see three graphs showing your current reception performance. You will be interested in the middle graph, which shows signal quality. Good signal values are above 25, and very good values are above 40. If the values are below 25, you should check what you can do to improve your WLAN. For example, if you realign the antennas on your router, you can immediately see on the graph whether the signal quality has improved.

For iOS devices, download the Cloudcheck app from the App Store. The Wi-Fi Sweetspots feature creates a graph of your signal strength. The app’s audio alert is especially helpful, sounding an alarm when the signal is poor. You can leave your iOS device in a location with poor Wi-Fi and switch routers. If the beep stops, your Wi-Fi network is fine.

Causes of Poor WLAN

After these measurements and tests, you now know if you need to improve your Wi-Fi. If so, it’s time to investigate the causes. Your home has many hidden reasons why your Wi-Fi connection is slow or intermittent.

What causes bad Wi-Fi?

Your Internet connection is fast, but your Wi-Fi can’t keep up. Why is this happening? There are many reasons why your Wi-Fi may be slow:

  • Your Wi-Fi router is placed in an unfavorable location that prevents signals from reaching end devices.
  • Thick walls with lots of metal inside weaken the Wi-Fi speed.
  • You have too many sources of interference near your router that also emit or absorb radio signals.
  • Your antennas are misaligned, so you can only get a fraction of the Internet.
  • The range of the wireless signal is too short for your needs and needs to be extended. This is especially true in large apartments or houses.
  • Your wireless router is transmitting on a frequency that is also used by other networks, such as your neighbors’.
  • There are too many devices (including smartphones) on your home network that are constantly connected to the Wi-Fi.
  • You have an outdated router that can no longer provide the Internet performance you need.
  • You have a router provided by your Internet or telephone provider that does not meet your individual needs (Internet speed or building conditions).
  • Your router does not have the latest software update or has a technical fault.

Many of these causes can be fixed quickly and easily. As a first step, take a good look around your home: You may be able to help your router by removing sources of interference.

What can interfere with my Wi-Fi signal?

There are materials that can interfere with your Wi-Fi signal. They can either absorb or reflect radio signals. These are usually objects that contain water or metal, or devices that emit radio signals themselves. For example, you should not place your router in close proximity to these sources of interference:

  • Large amounts of green plants
  • Devices in the 2.4 GHz range (microwave ovens, Bluetooth devices)
  • Water (aquariums, radiators)
  • Building materials containing water (steel, concrete, wood)
  • Surfaces with a metal coating (doors, gas boilers, metal pipes in the wall)
  • Metal beams in lightweight walls
  • Bathroom and kitchen
  • Metal fire protection equipment
  • Other devices with wireless Internet connections (wireless phones, baby monitors)

TIPS:

Even if you don’t see a connection at first, a clothes rack full of freshly washed laundry can cause problems with your wireless. The water in the damp clothes absorbs the wireless signals from the WLAN, and the metal of the clothes rack reflects them. The clothes rack acts like a barricade and slows down the WLAN.

Optimize your WLAN

If you want to optimize your Wi-Fi, it’s best to start with the simplest step you can do quickly and without professional help.

What can you do about bad Wi-Fi?

Often, removing sources of interference, moving the Wi-Fi router, or disconnecting unused Wi-Fi devices from the network will help. If that still doesn’t help, you can extend the range of the signal with Wi-Fi repeaters to bring fast Internet to remote corners of your home. If that still doesn’t work, and you’re still waiting what feels like hours to stream a movie, you can go to your router and try a few tricks. In the worst case, you may have to buy a new, more advanced router.

How can you optimize your WLAN?

Tip 1 – The right location:

For good signal quality, you need to clear the path for radio waves between the router and the receiving device. Interference can weaken the signal. It is best to place your device slightly elevated (at least 1 meter) in a central location where you spend most of your time. Placing a wireless router on the floor is not a good idea, as the wireless signal travels best to the sides and down. It is also important that the signal passes vertically through the wall, as it has to cross too much floor space diagonally.

Tip 2 – Align the antennas:

WLAN antennas emit signals in a ring. Therefore, pointing them towards smartphones and the like is useless. If you position your antenna vertically, you will optimize reception on the same floor. Positioning it horizontally, on the other hand, improves reception on other floors. If a Wi-Fi router does not have an antenna, turning it 90 degrees may help. Rule of thumb: The more antennas a router has, the better its performance.

Tip 3 – Fewer receiving devices on the network:

The more devices on the network at the same time, the slower the performance of your wireless network will be. Check to see if a device is creating a wireless connection that it does not need all the time.

Tip 4 – Switch to cable:

Decongest your wireless network by switching some devices to a wired Internet connection. This is ideal for fixed devices such as the TV or PC in the office. Otherwise, they will only slow down your Wi-Fi unnecessarily.

Tip 5 – Use a repeater to extend your wireless range:

The wireless repeater is a useful tool for extending the range of your wireless connection. It plugs into an outlet between the router and the end device and extends the connection in between or boosts the signal. But be careful: a Wi-Fi repeater can only amplify what it receives. So you need to plug it into a location with adequate Wi-Fi coverage.

Tip 6 – WLAN Ethernet Router:

Like the WLAN repeater, the mesh system is inserted into the existing network. It consists of several nodes, each with its own access to the network. Receiving devices automatically connect to the node with the strongest signal. A mesh system is comprehensive and can be expanded at any time. It also automatically detects the use of the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz frequency bands. Many devices only support 2.4 GHz bands, so it moves 5 GHz capable devices to that frequency.

WHAT ARE FREQUENCY BANDS (2.4 GHZ AND 5 GHZ)?

In the spectrum of electromagnetic waves, the frequency band refers to the range of frequencies used for technical communications. The higher the number, the faster the transmission.

Tip 7 – Powerline adapters:

These WLAN adapters are used when a WLAN repeater can no longer bridge the distance, such as in remote rooms. A powerline adapter uses existing electrical wiring. The basic adapter is plugged into an outlet near the router, and a second adapter with a built-in wireless module is placed where you want to use the WLAN.

Tip 8 – Update your software:

Your wireless router should always have the latest software. Many devices update automatically, unless you have disabled this feature. The latest software version can be downloaded for free from the manufacturer’s website.

Tip 9 – Reboot your router:

After a restart, the router uses automatic channel selection to determine the frequencies that it may access. It will thereafter select the frequency with the lowest level of activity. One benefit of this is the lack of nearby wireless networks operating on the same frequency.

Tip 10 – Reset the router:

One five-second hold on the small reset button. To reset, you can also use a gadget that is connected to Wi-Fi. Pick up the computer and type in the router’s IP address. Then type in the correct password to open the user interface. It’s on the back of your router or in the directions. In Settings, you can also return the phone to its previous settings.

Tip 11 – Replace your router:

Some websites may not load quickly even though your Internet link seems to be fine. This could mean that you need a stronger router. These days’ wireless routers offer faster Internet, a wider range, and a more stable link. Devices that are too old can’t keep up.

Tip 12 – Choose the right router:

Modern devices such as smartphones require suitable wireless routers. Ideally, a dual-band router works on both wireless bands at the same time. A modern device can then operate on the 5 GHz band. Other devices that only work on the 2.4 GHz band will dial in there. You can then use all devices at the same time without interference.

Tip 13 – Cross-band repeaters:

These WLAN repeaters are useful in conjunction with dual-band routers because they also transmit on two bands. This allows for parallel sharing (on two bands), which speeds up transmission.

Tip 14 – Second Router:

If your ISP provides you with a router that you must use, but it does not provide good WLAN, you can help yourself with a second, more powerful router. Connect it to the existing one with a network cable. Disable the DHCP server on one of the two routers and assign it a static IP number, for example using the bridge, AP mode, or cascaded router setting. You can then dial into the newly named wireless network with your end devices.

WHAT DOES A DHCP SERVER DO?

This server automatically assigns names, called IP addresses, to all endpoints that log on to the network.

Tip 15 – Two wireless names:

This tip only works with dual-band routers. When configuring the base station, you have the option of setting one common name or two individual names for the two wireless bands. Having separate names for the 2.4 GHz network and the 5 GHz network gives you the advantage of being able to pair your end device specifically with the band it needs. This reduces the load on your device.

Tip 16 – WLAN USB Stick:

If you have a 5GHz network at home, you can upgrade your old PC with a special WLAN USB stick. This will give you up to 1300 Mbps. The stick acts as both an external wireless module and an antenna.

Also read: here

Conclusion:

If your Wi-Fi works, it’s useful. Ideally, you’ll have a wireless connection everywhere. But if it doesn’t, it’s annoying. You can’t stream music or movies or communicate via the Internet. But don’t despair. First, try to improve your Wi-Fi signal quality yourself. It’s not hard.

Sometimes you can move the router or use a repeater to extend the range. It’s also worth identifying sources of interference. Objects that contain water or metal or emit radio waves can interfere with your Wi-Fi. Even clothes hangers with laundry on them can absorb the signal.

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