Improve your home wireless network

More and more of my clients are using wireless networks at home. The first consideration should be Security however performance can also be an issue. The following tips should help you improve your wireless reception.

1)      Most homes only have 1 incoming BT point and there is a temptation to put your wireless router near to this point. Where possible the router should be placed close to the areas in which people are using laptops.  A router near to one wall of the house could mean a week signal in another part or the building. The antennas supplied with your router are designed to be omni-directional, meaning they broadcast in all directions around the router. If your router is near an outside wall, half of the wireless signals will be sent outside your home, and much of your router’s power will be wasted.

2)      Move the router off the floor and away from walls and metal objects (such as metal file cabinets) Metal, walls, and floors will interfere with your router’s wireless signals. The closer your router is to these obstructions, the more severe the interference, and the weaker your connection will be.

3)      Wireless network signals must be sent both to and from your computer. Sometimes, your router can broadcast strongly enough to reach your computer, but your computer can’t send signals back to your router. To improve this, replace your laptop’s PC card-based wireless network adapter with a USB network adapter that uses an external antenna. Laptops with built-in wireless typically have excellent antennas and don’t need to have their network adapters upgraded.

4)      Wireless routers can broadcast on several different channels, similar to the way radio stations use different channels. Just like you’ll sometimes hear interference on one radio station while another is perfectly clear, sometimes one wireless channel is clearer than others. Try changing your wireless router’s channel through your router’s configuration page to see if your signal strength improves. You don’t need to change your computer’s configuration, because it’ll automatically detect the new channel.

5)      If you have cordless phones or other wireless electronics in your home, your computer might not be able to “hear” your router over the noise from the other wireless devices.  For example, most cell phones, cordless phones, Bluetooth, and microwaves share the 2.4GHz band .There is a temptation to put your router and “cordless phone” close to each other. Both use the same wireless frequency so if possible should be at different parts of the home.

6)      Pick equipment from a single vendor. While a Linksys router will work with a D-Link network adapter, you often get better performance if you pick a router and network adapter from the same vendor.

7)      802.11g is the most common type of wireless network, but the newer 802.11n was designed to improve on 802.11g in the amount of bandwidth supported by utilizing multiple wireless signals and antennas (called MIMO technology) instead of one. Devices can operate on 2.4 or 5GHz bands. However, to use 5GHz all connected devices must be 802.11n compliant. Note, too, the 5GHz band will significantly decrease the maximum range. The trade off is that there will be much less interference, and 5GHz is drastically more effective at penetrating concrete and brick walls.

If you need help to improve your home wireless network please contact Anglesey Computer Solutions

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