Moving your router
Signal does not just get weaker the further away you are, but is also weakened as it passes through structures like walls and floors and cupboardsThe simplest solution to improving the wifi at home could just be to move the router to a more central location in your home. You can think of your wifi signal strength as a target board. The closer you are to it, the stronger the signal, and the faster the wifi. Conversely, the further away you are, and the more structures between you and the router, the weaker the signal, and the slower the network speed. This applies as well if you are keeping your router hidden in a cupboard. The walls of the cupboard weaken the signal. Depending on where the broadband, or the fibre optic point, in your home is, you may have to get a longer cable for your router to be placed more strategically in the home. Try to keep it as close to where you need it the most, like your workstation, but centrally enough that you get signal in the further corners of your home.
Changing your broadband planDepending on what your current plan with your telco is, you may be on a slower cable broadband plan. Cable broadband is much slower than fibre broadband. Cable broadband reaches maximum speeds of about 100 mbps when you are plugged directly to the outlet. Meaning when you are connected via wifi and you are some distance away from the router, your internet speed is going to suffer and you will have an agonisingly slow connection. Fibre broadband is much faster, reaching speeds of up to 1 gbps (10 times that of cable broadband), making your wifi connections even faster if you were plugged in directly to a cable broadband.
Upgrading your routerMost newer routers offer 2 types of frequencies, 2.4Ghz and 5.0 GHz. The 2.4 Ghz frequency provides signal at a longer range, but a slower speed. The 5.0 Ghz frequency provides wifi at a higher speed, but with lower range, and less penetration through solid objects such as walls and floors. Make sure you are connected to the correct frequency relative to your position form the router. More technically, you can also take a look at your current router and see if its due for an upgrade. Your service provider may have provided you with a router at the time you signed the contract with them, but with newer and faster routers coming out every year, yours may have fallen behind the rest. A simple trick is to look at the bands the router provides for its frequencies. Older routers run on 802.11n or 802.11g bands. These are slower than the newest bands which run on 802.11AC. The differences are most pronounced if you are using new devices such as the latest iPhone or laptop.
Using a wifi boosterThis has been a common go-to solution for many years now. Third party devices are often used to ‘extend’ the range of your wifi, or even market to increase the strength of your network. This is usually not true, all wifi range extenders work from the base network speed of your router and can only extend the range with some limitations.
Wifi extenders increase the range of your wifi by using your existing networkThe image shows you the general concept of how wifi range extenders work. They use the wifi signal from your existing router and extends it to other parts of your home where the signal would normally not reach. Over the years, there have been several generations of wifi range extenders, starting with the first generation of wireless repeaters. Wireless repeaters, as the name implies, just repeats the original network from your router. It connects to the routers wifi network and amplifies it, although often causing it to become less reliable. The second generation is wireless range extenders. These work similarly to repeaters as they re-broadcast the original signal from your router. However, these usually come with 2 frequencies, 2.4 Ghz and 5.0 Ghz, a step up from wireless repeaters. With both older generations, a common problem is location and placement. As they connect wirelessly to your original wifi network, they need to be close enough to the router to get a good signal to rebroadcast, but far enough that it reaches the rest of your home.