Many small and midsized businesses use wireless networks because they are easy to set up and convenient to use. However, a weak Wi-Fi signal can mean slow connection speeds and a smaller range of coverage. Not being able to quickly access data and applications from all areas in an office can hamper employee productivity.
When you are experiencing problems with your Wi-Fi signal, the first thing you should do is check your wireless router or access point. Older devices provide a smaller range of coverage and slower signal speeds. As a result, you will not be able to improve your Wi-Fi signal much, no matter how you try to boost it.
If your wireless router or access point supports only the 802.11g, 802.11b, or 802.11a wireless specification, you should consider getting a new one. Devices that support 802.11n and 802.11ac have much larger ranges and support faster transfer speeds. If you buy a new wireless router or access point, you need to make sure your business’s computers are compatible with it. Newer computers will likely have built-in 802.11ac or 802.11n wireless adapters. If not, you can upgrade them with USB wireless adapters.
If your Wi-Fi signal is weak despite having a newer wireless router or access point, try the following to boost the signal:
- Move your wireless router or access point to a central location. Distance is a major consideration when it comes to Wi-Fi. The signal weakens the farther away you are from the wireless router or access point. To get even coverage throughout your office, you should choose a central location for your Wi-Fi equipment.
- Change the channel. Wireless routers and access points broadcast Wi-Fi on a specific channel. If you work in an office building where other businesses are using Wi-Fi, signals from their wireless routers and access points might be interfering with the signal from your device. To avoid this problem, use a less crowded channel. You can change the channel through your device’s user interface. Many modern wireless routers and access points even come with software to help you determine the optimal channel to get the most out of your wireless network.
- Update the firmware in your wireless router or access point. Firmware is the software that gives a device its functionality. Updating the firmware in your wireless router or access point can improve its performance. If your device does not let you check for updates through its user interface, you can check the manufacturer’s website.
- Update the firmware in your computers’ wireless adapters. Like the firmware in wireless routers and access points, the firmware in your computers’ wireless adapters should be regularly updated for optimal performance.
- Add hardware. You can boost a Wi-Fi signal by adding equipment. External antennae and wireless range extenders can increase the range of coverage for your wireless router or access point. In addition, you can use a wireless repeater to send the signal even farther.