If you’re experiencing problems with the wi-fi signal in your home, you may have been told to buy a wi-fi range extender or new souped-up wireless router. While either of these methods can help to boost your signal, there are some cheaper tricks you can try first.
We've collated top tips to help you achieve a more reliable home internet connection. From your router’s positioning to upgrading its antenna, here’s our guide to boosting your wi-fi signal.
1) Check the position of your router
Moving your router slightly away from its current position may help, but it’s more likely a wholesale change is in order. This means placing the device away from nearby sources of radio interference and obstructions, such as large objects and thick walls. Electronic devices like TVs, cordless phones and microwaves also emit radio signals and can use the same frequency range.
2) Fit a microfilter to your ADSL socket
If you’re signed up to ADSL broadband, not a faster fibre optic connection, your router has to be connected to and positioned by a telephone point – the main socket is best. Make sure you’ve fitted microfilters at sockets that have any equipment connected (unless fitted with an ADSL faceplate). These cost around £2 each, and prevent connection issues caused by broadband and voice signals interfering with each other.
3) Change the wireless channel or frequency band
If it’s not possible to position your wi-fi router away from potential sources of interference, then consider changing its wi-fi channel to one that’s less congested – this also avoids any competition with neighbouring wireless networks. Having done this, don’t forget to amend the wireless settings of any PCs and devices on your network so they use the same channel.
4) Try the tin foil approach
You could buy a longer directional antenna for your router, which will typically give a better signal that can reach through your home. That said, not all wi-fi routers support longer antennas and there’s a much cheaper solution available using tin foil. Simply place a sheet of the aluminium stuff behind your router so that it reflects your wi-fi signal in the appropriate direction.
5) Wireless boosters
This is one of the simplest options for boosting your wi-fi. You can buy a wireless booster box and set it up halfway between your router and the 'wi-fi dead zone' in your home. Press the WPS button on the wireless booster (pictured below), then the corresponding WPS button on your router (most modern routers will have one, but check before buying a booster unit).
The two devices will 'talk' to each other and your network should be extended within minutes. There's no need to set up an additional password or network name - your original network is simply extended.
You'll most likely get by just fine with a third-party router. But, some broadband providers prefer you to use their own equipment - Sky Q broadband, for example, requires a Sky Q Wireless Booster, pictured below.
6) Use a Homeplug or powerline extender
If you’ve got an unused wi-fi router lying around, you could turn it into a range-boosting wi-fi repeater. This should extend the wireless signal to the darkest corners of your home, but you’ll likely experience slower network speeds.
Read our guide to setting up a Homeplug or powerline extender
7) Turn an old router into a repeater
If you’ve got an unused wi-fi router lying around, you could turn it into a range-boosting wi-fi repeater. This should extend the wireless signal to the darkest corners of your home, but you’ll likely experience slower network speeds. It’s a complicated process, so we’ve explained it separately in our improve your wi-fi signal with an extra router guide.