How to Increase a Wireless Router Signal's Coverage

By Gregory Hamel

A wireless router is a device that can split a normal wired Internet connection, such as that output by a cable modem, into a wi-fi signal that enables other computers in the vicinity to access the Internet. The use of wireless routers has exploded due to the convenience of being able to move around a localized area with constant Internet access without the jumble caused by Ethernet cables. One of the main problems with wireless networking, however, is that a router's signal can become weak due to distance and interference.

Step 1

Put the router in a central, elevated location. It may seem obvious, but it is very common for routers to be positioned in the corner of a home on the floor, which makes for suboptimal signal strength and coverage. Try to position the router so that the farthest points from which it will be accessed are are the same distance from the router.

Step 2

Remove obstructions. Wireless radio signals are weakened by material other than air that gets in the way. Walls, cubicles, fish tanks and other objects will weaken a wireless signal. Try to position the router so that it creates a direct line to the access points you desire. Remove those obstructions that can be moved.

Step 3

Upgrade your router's antenna. Many routers come with weak antennas, or antennas that broadcast signals in all directions. By using a more powerful antenna, or one that sends signals only in the direction that you plan to access it from, you can increase signal strength.

Step 4

Use a wireless repeater. A wireless repeater is the standard add on device used to increase wireless signal strength. A repeater is a device that receives and then retransmits a wireless signal. By putting a repeater somewhere between your router and your access points that need higher signal strength, the access points will receive a more direct and clear signal.

Step 5

Remove ambient radio interference. Aside from physical obstructions, waves put off by other wi-fi routers and appliances will decrease signal strength. By turning off other wi-fi devices, or creating physical obstructions in front of them, your own wireless signal can be boosted.

Tips & Warnings

  • If your wireless signal is still not as strong as you desire, consider updating the wireless cards in the computers that are accessing the wi-fi connection, or getting a newer router.