Extending Your Wireless Network Potential

Weak wireless signals are a real pain and interfere with running your business. But don’t fret; there are effective and easy ways to expand your wireless potential.

Frustrating, that’s the word for it: when your wireless connection isn’t as strong as it should be. When there are “dead zones” in certain parts of your building. When you are constantly losing your Wi-Fi connection.

A weak wireless signal is a common problem for many businesses, especially those housed in multi-story or oddly shaped buildings. But there are simple ways you can strengthen your wireless signal and expand its range. Some of these solutions involve moving your wireless router, while others may require the purchase of additional hardware.

Correct Your Router Placement

The instructions for your wireless router—the hardware that distributes the Wi-Fi signal to your various computers—provide its signal range, 150 feet or so. However, this figure is the optimal range, and a number of factors can reduce it. The interference of walls, floors, filing cabinets or bookshelves can limit the useful range of your Wi-Fi.

If you experience a weak signal, look for obstacles that might cause interference and move your router away. While you’re at it, make sure your router is centralized in your building.

Centralize Your Router

Routers distribute the Wi-Fi signal in an omnidirectional pattern — in every direction outward. To ensure that each part of your business receives the strongest signal, the router should be placed as centrally as possible. This may mean placing the router in the middle of the room or on a middle floor.

A common mistake in router placement is to locate it near an outer wall. The result is that half the Wi-Fi signal is directed outside, away from your computers.

Upgrade Your Antenna

Another way to make sure your Wi-Fi signal is going where it should is to replace your router’s omnidirectional antenna with a high-gain, or unidirectional, antenna. This type of antenna distributes your signal where it is needed most.

Change Your Wireless Channel

Your wireless network has to compete with a lot of other signals coming from neighboring networks or from devices like cordless phones and microwaves. This interference can cause signal noise and reduce your wireless potential.

To reduce noise, try changing your wireless channel, as explained in your router instructions. You can also purchase cordless phones and other wireless appliances that use a different frequency from that of your Wi-Fi network.

Add Wireless Repeaters

If moving or reconfiguring your router doesn’t increase signal strength, or there are still dead zones in your building, you may need to purchase a wireless repeater.

Wi-Fi repeaters are hardware that extends your wireless range by picking up the signal from your router, amplifying it and redistributing it. Place the repeater halfway between your router and your weak signal areas. Some buildings may require two or more repeaters for optimal networking.

Upgrade Your Network

The typical Wi-Fi network uses wireless-G hardware, an upgrade in strength from the previous wireless-B. If all efforts to increase your wireless potential have failed using your current system, consider making the switch to the newest hardware, wireless-N. Keep in mind that switching to a wireless-N router won’t make any difference unless your computer adaptors are upgraded as well.

Weak signals are a real bother and interfere with running your business. No worries, though, a solution is readily at hand.

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