Picture this: you’re on your phone on Netflix, excited to stream the newest episode of your favorite show in your living room. After attempting to find a cozy spot on the couch, you decide to go upstairs to your room instead to lie down comfortably as you watch. But as you’re climbing up, you notice the video starting to lower in quality and when you arrive in your room, your stream starts to buffer. You check your WiFi signal and see that you’re down to one bar.
This situation is indicative of a WiFi dead spot, which in layman’s terms is an area in your building, office, apartment, or house where there’s weaker WiFi signal or none at all. Dead spots exist because of interference from thick walls, large metal objects, and distance between your device and the wireless router.
To find out which rooms in your home are dead spots, pick up your phone, connect to the WiFi network, and walk around. Pay attention to where and when the WiFi signal indicator drops to no bars—there, you’ve found a dead spot.
Reviving dead spots
After figuring out which areas have weaker signals, you can implement some fixes. There are a couple of options to try to bring WiFi to these zones in your home.
- Reposition your router
Moving your router can help make your internet connection more stable. As much as possible, you will want to place it in an open, central area, as routers transmit to all directions. Avoid placing it next to thick walls and other obstructions like metal file cabinets because they can absorb wireless signals. Also, don’t put the router next to other electronic items like cordless phones—this will cause interference and crowd the channel of your connection.
- Optimize your router’s settings
If you’re on the tech-savvy side, try configuring your router and switch to the least congested channels. Most routers have two channels: 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequencies. Most people are on the 2.4GHz channel, which means that it gets congested quickly resulting in slower speeds. To avoid interference and if your router settings allow, switch to the 5GHz band. It will give you faster internet connection.
- Get a WiFi extender or repeater
If you want the signal to reach far corners of your home or other floors, get your hands on a WiFi extender or repeater. These devices work by serving as a secondary network you can connect to—they broadcast a new network name to provide signal to the dead spots. Ideally, you should plug in an extender or repeater halfway between where your WiFi router is and the dead spot. This is ideal for increasing coverage in smaller spaces.
- Set up a WiFi mesh network
If you want to extend your WiFi signal in a bigger space, like a two- or multi-story home, your best bet is to set up a WiFi mesh network. A mesh network replaces your router with an intelligent WiFi system, usually coming in multiple units, working together. One of the advantages of this setup, compared to WiFi repeaters, is it broadcasts the same network name or SSID and uses the same password. This way, you don’t have to connect to a different network when you move to another room in your home.