Knowing how to extend the WiFi range in the home is something that not everyone gives its deserved importance. WiFi is something that covers virtually all spaces in large cities and urban centers around the world today.
And its role or functionality in today’s society has become increasingly important, in many cases, WiFi connectivity is absolutely essential.
Having good coverage for your home’s WiFi is very important for your smart home products.
But it’s not the only signal of global interconnectivity. There are others such as radio and television, which are signals that can interfere with the WiFi signal.
Another source of interference is the magnetic and electromagnetic fields of many devices. And of course, so are physical objects, such as urban buildings themselves.
But in many cases, these interferences can be prevented, mitigated and/or avoided. Precisely, in this post, we focus on teaching you how to maximize the WiFi signal at home or at work.
We currently live in an environment surrounded by signals that turn out to be imperceptible to our senses. Radio, television, mobile phone, and wireless Internet signals are the most common.
However, between them (and when crossing physical objects), interference and weakening of each signal can be created. But our day to day depends more and more on being connected.
Therefore, in this post, we will show you some methods and Apps to increase the signal.
How to extend the WiFi signal
Despite the many interferences that can weaken the signal transmitted by a WiFi device, different methods can be implemented to maximize the performance of the signal in question.
To know how to increase the signal, just pay attention to one of our various tips, since there is more than one way to achieve it and get good results.
The first option (and in which we will focus more on this post) is the use of specially designed antennas to improve the reception of a WiFi signal.
But, first of all, you should be aware that just as the antennas that adapt to the router increase the power and coverage range of your signal, the equipment that receives the signal can also amplify its reception capacity through integrated or adapted antennas.
In this sense, there are both transmitting antennas and signal receivers. And in this case, we will focus on the signal receiving antennas.
On the other hand, knowing how to amplify a WiFi signal can save some money. How is this possible? With a sufficiently amplified signal, two neighbors can enjoy the same service, so that each one only has to pay half of the rent.
Finally, in the case of smartphones, you can make their integrated antennas be able to better capture any nearby signal through the use of some mobile applications.
Improve WiFi reception
Beyond the coverage of a modem, a very important factor is the reception capacity of the devices that connect to it.
Whether laptops, computers, smartphones, or any other with wireless connectivity, not all devices receive the same signal in the same way. In this sense, it is possible to ask if it is possible to improve the reception of WiFi.
Improve reception in laptops and computers
Definitely, the answer to this question is positive. For example, in the case of laptops (which usually have an integrated receiver antenna), you can add a more powerful external antenna, with greater reception capacity.
This already means an improvement in WiFi reception for laptops. And since these are connected through USB ports, they can also be used in computers.
It’s just a matter of you going about it patiently to make sure you buy the best possible antenna according to your monetary allowance. Because in the current market there are many brands, powers, and specifications in terms of receiving antennas we refer to.
Improve reception in smart devices
On the other hand, in terms of smart devices (such as tablets or smartphones), the best way to improve your WiFi reception is to make sure you use them far enough away from other devices or technological devices that may generate interference.
Good examples are microwave ovens, televisions, radios, and even laptops and computers. So do not bring your smart devices too close to these other devices, it will be enough to maintain the maximum potential of them in terms of their WiFi receptivity.
Location of the router or modem
Along with the reception capacity of the equipment and devices with WiFi connectivity, the issue of the location of the router or modem is the most basic way to increase the signal both in the home and in the office and any other urban environment.
Regardless of whether a router, a modem or a repeater is used, the important thing is that it is placed in a central and uncluttered place.
Standard WiFi coverage
A very important issue is the range of the signal that a device can emit (be it a modem, router or repeater). This will depend mainly on the power of the device in question.
In the current market, the standard power of the devices is enough to cover about 300 feet (92 meters) of WiFi coverage. Of course, without any interference; because when it comes to crossing surfaces and obstacles, the power and range of the signal emitted, is considerably reduced.
Reduction of coverage due to obstacles
In addition to interference caused by other devices, as mentioned above, WiFi home connectivity may also suffer from reduced coverage due to physical obstacles.
Both at home and at work, the main obstacles are usually the walls. Although it is important to emphasize that, depending on its thickness and its materials of manufacture, the reduction that a wall exerts on the scope of a signal can vary considerably.
After the walls, objects like mirrors and metallic objects are the other great obstacle for signals. In fact, in these two cases, the issue is worse compared to walls.
Since the latter only weaken the signal, while mirrors and other metals, reflect it. That is, they completely prevent the advancement of the signal, returning it in the opposite direction to its origin.
Closed doors and large furniture are minor obstacles but are also considerable.
So where do you put the WiFi router?
After all of the above, the question still remains as to where to put the router. Well, surely we will all have a different idea.
But in particular, the ideal situation is to find a space in the house (or work) that merges the best from these two aspects:
- Having a central location
- Have as much of a spacious and open area as possible.
Many people comment about the error of putting the router in the main room of their homes since it is usually the most spacious place. But the error is that perhaps the room is at one end of the house, and not in the center or near the center of it.
Locating the router in that manner makes it very difficult for the signal to cross all the obstacles that are from one end of the house to the other.
On the other hand, it is also a mistake to look only for the most central place in the house, thinking that the signal reaches all the ends of it equally. This is a mistake when the center of the house is the kitchen, or a tool room, or a space reduced and congested by furniture.
As already said, the ideal scenario is to find the best possible balance between the most central and the most spacious. Now, that you have found the best location, congratulations!
But do not get too excited, because we are not at the end of it yet.
The height of the router
Suppose that the main room of your house is right in the center of it, but you have your router on a piece of furniture that does not exceed one meter in height. In this case, you will be completely wasting
Since the height at which the router is installed is also a fundamental factor when it comes to increasing the WiFi signal in the home.
The waves that the router emits are better dispersed sideways and downwards. Knowing this, it is enough with a little common sense to deduce that the higher the router can be installed, the better its coverage will be.
In this sense, it is most appropriate to place it on the highest piece of furniture, or on a shelf previously installed on the wall at the highest possible height.
There are also some routers whose bases are designed to be installed easily (with stickers) to the wall. In this case, it is just a matter of putting it on the highest spot.
The orientation of the router antennas
The orientation of the WiFi router antennas is another important factor that we must consider when it comes to maximizing the signal in our homes and businesses.
In the images printed on the boxes of the routers, it is observed how the antennas always point upwards. Which is not bad. But years ago an engineer from Apple said that for the case of two-antenna routers, it is best to place them at a 90-degree angle to each other.
In other words, the recommendation is to place one antenna in a vertical position (pointing up) and the other in a horizontal position (pointing to one side).
This recommendation is justified under the argument that the waves emitted by the antennas arranged in both positions, improve their reception capacity. This is true before other devices and after, regardless of whether they have their receiving antenna in a vertical position or in a horizontal position.
It should be noted that the position of the antennas does not influence the connection speed, but it is something important when optimizing the WiFi signal range of the router.
Configure the least congested channel
That’s right, as you read it: channels. The radio waves with which the routers work on are designed to travel between 13 different channels or frequencies.
In general, routers come with a factory configuration that allows them to transmit their signals on the least congested channel. In turn, this less congested channel is usually 6. But once the WiFi tunes into this channel, it can only be changed manually.
How to change the channel
If all your neighbors use WiFi network on that same frequency (the 6), you probably notice an improvement in your connection when changing the channel of your router.
To do this, you must go to the web (IP address) where you manage the name and password of your WiFi network. On that page, you will almost always find the option Control Chanel (Channel Control).
But, if in your case that option does not appear, then the best thing you can do is consult the manual or, if possible; contact directly with the manufacturer.
Which channel to select
It is useless to change the channel in which WiFi transmits your router if you are going to pass to another that is also congested. Actually, WiFi networks are so many that you can hardly find a free frequency. In any case, you can look for the least congested.
In this sense, there is a mobile app for Android that allows you to recognize the status of channels in the area. The application is called Wifi Analyzer.
What it does is recognize all the routers within its range, and you can tell it which one is yours. From there the application will tell you which channel your router transmits and which is the most recommended for that moment.
With the information at hand, it’s just a matter of reconfiguring your router’s channel.
Remember to use the application with a
Router firmware update
Keeping the WiFi router firmware updated is also a crucial aspect to get the best possible signal inside the house, not to mention improving reliability too.
Understand in advance that the firmware is a basic computer program, responsible for controlling the circuits and electronic components of a simple device (such as routers or remote controls).
In many cases, especially when it comes to medium and high-end routers, manufacturers constantly develop firmware updates that adapt to the latest technological advances and thus maximize the performance of their devices.
Some routers are capable of updating their firmware by themselves. Others, on the other hand, require manual updates through the routers’ administration web interface.
You can check the manual of your router to see if it has an automatic update or if it’s to the contrary, it must be updated manually. In this second case, you can also check the manual to identify the IP address that takes you to the router’s administration page.
Repeater to duplicate the router signal
An excellent option to increase the WiFi signal at home is to use a repeater or signal extender. A WiFi repeater is, as the name implies, a device capable of repeating the signal it receives from a modem or main router.
With the advantage that your signal works independently, with a different access code, as if it were another router.
Working as a different router is an advantage to the extent that, by operating in that way, the signal coming from the main router is almost completely restored.
This is due to the fact that when the router’s signal reaches the repeater, it will surely have been weakened. Well, the repeater is responsible for amplifying the signal in order to be able to get coverage equal to the router.
You also have to option to only have it extend your signal when needed. You can plug it into a smart plug and then you will be able to turn it on from your smartphone or on a schedule.
This will help you save some power and keep your signal area lower when it’s not needed.
When to use a repeater
Buying a repeater can be an unnecessary expense on many occasions. The idea is to use repeaters when living in a two-story house, or when the house covers many square meters and has many interior walls.
For example, in a two-story house you can use the router on the ground floor and a repeater on the top floor. While in a large house you can put the router near one end of it, and the repeater near the opposite end.
Using a router and a repeater creates two different coverage ranges. With this, the signal is increased to double. And the best of all is that repeaters can be “chained” together using several. With three, the WiFi signal would increase to triple, and so on.
But be careful! Repeaters only increase the range of the main router signal but do not increase its connection speed. Using many repeaters in the same network could saturate the connection speed of the main router.
Home amplifier to channel the WiFi signal
A cheaper alternative (practically free) is to use a home amplifier to channel the WiFi signal. To do so, you only need an aluminum can from soda, beer or energy drinks.
And all you have to do is remove the base, cut it in two halves vertically and use the half that has the hole where you drink from.
What you should do is place the halved can around the antenna of the router, in such a way that the antenna fits inside the hole of the can (sometimes referred to as
The inner part of the can should be pointing towards where you want to amplify or direct the signal. You can use as many cans as there are antennas in the router. It’s just a matter of making sure they point in the desired direction.
How does this amplifier work?
As said before, metals and mirrors are able to interrupt the radio waves emitted by WiFi routers when they are bounced. We have also said that routers emit the signal in all directions.
Well, this amplifier works by redirecting the signal as soon as it is emitted from the antennas. Focusing it in only one direction: towards where you point the inner part of the cans, which as we know are aluminum (a metal that reflects the radio waves of WiFi).
When to use a home amplifier
Unlike the repeaters, which function as secondary routers; home amplifiers are ideal for use in very specific situations. This is because the signal is not only amplified but also focused on a single direction, while repeaters emit WiFi waves in all directions.
For example, if you work at home and need your router’s signal to focus on your office or library, simply place the cans on the antennas, making sure that the concave shape of the cans points to your office.
This not only achieves a focused signal towards only one direction but also increases its strength, which in turn translates into a greater range.
When you stop working, you can remove the cans so that the signal again flows in all directions. Another example: if you go to the backyard with visitors, you can put the cans back to amplify the signal in the direction of the patio.
A repeater or home amplifier?
As we could see, both the repeater and the home amplifier have advantages and disadvantages. In the case of the repeater, its main advantage is that the coverage of the signal can be multiplied in all directions, while its great disadvantage lies in the extra expense to buy it.
On the other hand, the home amplifier costs virtually nothing. It does not require configuration or firmware update, and its installation/removal is quick and easy.
However, the WiFi signal range can barely extend a bit (never doubling up), and the radius of emission of the signal is reduced to a certain direction (devices outside that address will not have signal).
In short, deciding on a repeater or a homemade Wifi amplifier is a unique decision, which will depend on the particularities and needs of each person and each situation.
Expand the neighbor’s WiFi signal
As we said before, extending the neighbor’s signal can be an excellent way to save some money when paying for the service each month.
If it’s the case that your neighbor is a great friend or close family, then you only have to be concerned with knowing and applying some of the methods with which you can maximize the power and coverage of the WiFi signal so that it reaches from one house to the other.
At this point, it is obvious to think about the installation of some type of antenna as a first option.
But remember that an antenna will rather be
If you really want to increase the signal that the neighbor’s router emits to share with you (or vice versa), you should rather think about the installation of a repeater. And of course, the installation of a receiving antenna does not hurt to get the most out of it in a context like this.
Extend the WiFi signal of an Android device
The integrated antennas of Android devices are relatively good. Its quality will depend a lot on the brand and the model. But certainly, all are potentially improvable.
And there is a very easy way to increase the signal of an Android device. Just go to the Apps store of the device to find one of the several mobile applications that exist today so that smartphones with the Android operating system can make the most of their receiving antennas.
However, it should be mentioned that extensions do not work like magic. In no case will the capabilities of the integrated antennas of a tablet or smartphone increase.
They will only help you to make the most of each one’s potential. In other words: the apps will not repair a defective antenna or improve it in the case of a low-quality antenna.
Top 3 apps to increase WiFi signal
In view of the constant problems presented by mobile devices to stay connected to the WiFi network during a video call or a file transfer, we decided to prepare and share with you the top 3 apps to increase the signal on an Android device.
WiFi Booster & Easy Analyzer
This extension allows
But the function that should interest you most is its ability to monitor in real-time the signal strength of your router. By doing it in real-time, you can move around the house to detect both the best and the worst places in it to receive WiFi on your computer.
In this way, if for example, the signal does not reach your room, you can move your router or install a PLC in a socket in your room.
With which you will be increasing the signal to your Android device in your room.
Red Signal Booster
Red Signal Booster automatically connects you to the WiFi source that has the best signal. To do this, evaluate the intensity of the different signals that your Android captures.
As long as the signal is not password protected or if the password is already registered in the device, it will connect you to it and only change it to another if it is better.
This app is ideal for those who have several PLC or WiFi repeaters at home, or for those who move in areas with various public or previously registered signs (for example, the university or the institute).
OpenSignal – 3G / 4G / WiFi
This latest app maps the nearby signals shows you where the most powerful signal in the area is and allows you to check the WiFi map so you can find the nearest public signs or simply the best available signals in the area.
These top 3 apps that we have prepared should not only be limited to a single application if possible. Of course, you can do so, if you think it’s the right way to go.
But ideally, use the three together to maximize the performance of your reception wherever you go.
With OpenSignal you can know which are the best free WiFi coverage sites whenever you travel for vacations or work. With Red Signal Booster you will be automatically connecting to the best available signals as you move.
And with WiFi Booster & Easy Analyzer you can be aware of the real quality of the signal received at a certain moment.
Having a good range for your wireless connectivity is important for the smooth operation of smart home gadgets. Especially if you are trying to keep as many devices’ cabling down to a minimum.
There are many complexities to wireless signals. This was a look into the basics to simply give you some practical steps and to provide some insights.
I hope this has given you some quality information as to how you can improve the range of your WiFi signal.
Marlo is currently working full time as a professional computer programmer, electronics engineer and computer technician. Besides having a great passion for computers, he is fascinated by smart homes of the future.