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Vox

Five Science-Backed Ways to Improve Your Wi-Fi Signal

FIONA MACDONALD
27 AUG 2015

Show me someone who doesn't want access to faster Internet and I'll show you a liar. And then I'll show both of you the handy video above, created by Vox, which lays out five surprisingly simple, science-backed tips for getting the best signal out of your router. Before you ask, yes these do work, and you're welcome.

 

To understand how to get the most out of your Wi-Fi router, you first need to understand how Wi-Fi waves work. They're radio waves, similar to the electromagnetic waves you pick up with your smartphone or radio. But unlike AM radio waves, which can be hundreds of metres long, Wi-Fi waves are on average only 12 cm long, which means that your signal gets weaker the further it gets from your router. With that in mind, here are some of the tips from the Vox team on how to avoid that happening:

1. Put your router in the centre of your house

Your eyesight is going to be your best tool here - if you can see your router from most spots in your house, then you've probably got it in a pretty good position.

2. Don't put it on the ground

The way a lot of routers are set up means they broadcast a lot of their Wi-Fi signal downwards, as the video explains. And seeing as poor little Wi-Fi waves can't penetrate most flooring types, this means you could be wasting the best part of your signal strength. This also applies to cupboards and walls - don't fence your router in!

3. Keep it away from electronics

It's not an urban legend, electronics such as TVs, computers, and pretty much anything with a motor can interfere with your Wi-Fi signal, so keep your router away from them if possible.

4. If your router comes with antennae, play around with them

Fun fact: devices work best when their internal antenna is in line with your router's antenna, as Vox explains in the video above. While most laptops have horizontal antennae, the angle of your phone's antenna depends on which way you're holding it, so for the best coverage, have one antenna pointing vertically and the other horizontal.

5. Map your signal strength

There are plenty of apps available to let you map the strength of your Wi-Fi signal around your home, and a lot of ways you can fix the problem once you know what you're dealing with. We'll let you watch the video above to find out how to do that, and for more handy tips on boosting your Wi-Fi strength.

And if all else fails, here's a formula that might helpHappy download speeds.