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How to improve your Wi-Fi

It may be surprising, but wireless communication is far from being perfect, even though the technology was invented more than two decades ago. Many individuals continue to experience sudden network disconnects, or strive (and often times fail) to open high-resolution videos and/or play modern online games on their wireless devices. Fortunately, there are several methods that allow people to improve the quality of their Wi-Fi networks. Here are the most effective ones.

1. Discover the best place for your router. It is easy to do that if you install an app on your smart phone. Android users should download Wifi Analyzer, while iPhone users should go for WiFi Explorer. Then, ask a friend or relative to go in the area where the Wi-Fi signal is almost inexistent and fire up the app that measures signal strength.

Start moving the router around, a few inches at a time, and have your friend/relative write down the signal value after each step of the process. You may end up discovering that the router delivers the strongest signal when it is placed above the door frame, for example. Of course, moving the device there may not be possible, but fortunately you can detach the router antennas and use a pair of compatible cables to reconnect them to the device. This way, you can hide the router out of the way, and still benefit from the strongest Wi-Fi signal in your home. Not only that, but the router antennas can now be moved and oriented independently, helping you get a powerful wireless signal that is beamed towards two or three different areas.

2. Signal interference can cause serious problems as well. Your neighbors may use the same Wi-Fi channel, and this will significantly diminish signal strength. To fix the problem, use the same app to determine the active channel for your network, as well as for your neighbors' networks. Then, log into your router and switch to the least crowded Wi-Fi channel.

3. Sometimes wireless data transfer speed decreases significantly because other people are secretly using your network to download huge files, stream 4K videos, and so on. So, kick the freeloaders off your Wi-Fi by activating the tight WPA2 security protocol, and then setting up a new password.

4. It is true that sometimes your own kids may be the ones who are using a lot of bandwidth for their Internet-related activities. The good news is that modern routers utilize QoS, a feature that allows you to limit the amount of bandwidth on a per-device basis. This means that you could limit the bandwidth for your kid's gaming console to 10 MBps, for example. It may not be enough, so he/she may experience some lag while playing a resource-demanding online game, but this change will allow mom and dad to stream the latest Netflix movies in full HD. It's just one of the advantages of being an Internet-connected parent ;).

5. This last method is guaranteed to work fine every time. It's not the first on the list, though, because it involves a financial investment. You can significantly increase the signal strength of your wireless network by purchasing a repeater. In fact, you won't even have to invest your money into a repeater if you've got an old router at your disposal. If this is the case, install DD-WRT on it, and then set it up as an access point. You will be able to achieve great results without spending a dime.

New Wi-Fi standards are invented every few years. Wi-Fi Alliance, the non-profit organization which promotes new Wi-Fi technologies and certifies Wi-Fi products, does this to help increase wireless communication speeds and boost security. So, it may be a good idea to replace your router every 3 to 5 years. Often, by simply replacing the router with a product that uses a newer Wi-Fi standard, wireless signal strength will increase a lot.