WiFi networks are gaining popularity as the preferred connectivity solution for both business and home users. The proliferation of mobile devices and smartphones has been influential in the move from wired to wireless networks. A WiFi network increases the utility of these devices and offers flexibility that cannot be matched in a traditional wired network.
There are some additional concerns that need to be addressed in order to enjoy the convenience provided by wireless networks. The WiFi signal can be intercepted by unauthorized personnel or hackers, introducing more security issues than in a wired network. Another issue is the WiFi signal strength and its ability to adequately serve the network participants. This article aims to discuss ways that you can improve your WiFi signal and provide reliable coverage to the users of your network.
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Checking WiFi Signal Strength
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Whether you are setting up a wireless network from scratch or administering an installation that has been in place for some time, you need to be able to check the strength and reach of the WiFi signal. Home users may just need to find the best location for their single wireless router. Business implementations will usually entail these multiple routers and optimizing the WiFi signals will become more complicated.
In either scenario, the use of a tool such as a WiFi signal strength app can be indispensable in planning and tuning your wireless network. There are bound to be coverage areas that receive weak signals which can impact the ability of individuals to access the network. You may need to add hotspots or access points throughout the intended coverage area in order to address this issue. The question is, where exactly should these resources be placed?
The answer can be found by using a high-quality WiFi signal strength meter and analysis application such as NetSpot. This comprehensive WiFi tool can help you plan, analyze, and troubleshoot your wireless network. You can create heat maps of your environment which will indicate the strength of your current WiFi signal and help you determine how to make modifications that strengthen the signal.
A network analyzer can be used to eliminate dead spots and will allow you to fine-tune your wireless networking equipment to get the most out of your investment. You can also use it to find the best channel to use to eliminate wireless traffic jams.
How to Improve Your WiFi Network’s Coverage?
If you determine that your WiFi network is not providing the coverage that you require there are a number of actions you can take which can improve its signal strength and overall performance. Let’s take look at some of the methods you can use to make better use of your WiFi network.
Upgrade Your Routers
If your routers are more than a few years old they probably could use a technological refresh. The newest class of routers use 802.11ac technology which offers substantial improvements over the previous 802.11g and 802.11n standards. Simply replacing your routers can make a dramatic difference in the ability of your network to provide the coverage you desire.
Relocate your Router
Where your router is physically located can have a big impact on its ability to deliver a quality signal. While routers may not be the most attractive piece of equipment, you want to avoid hiding them away in cabinets or in other locations where the signal can be physically blocked. You also want to place the router away from metal objects or appliances that give off electromagnetic waves. A network analyzer can help you find the proper place to install your router for optimum coverage.
Purchase a Stronger Antenna
The antennas that are provided with most wireless routers are small and weak. This is to keep the size manageable and the form factor of the device within certain constraints. You can boost your router’s performance by the addition of a larger and more powerful antenna after analyzing your needs.
Employ a Less-Used Wireless Channel
Another use of the network analysis application mentioned above is to monitor the traffic on the various WiFi channels available. This analysis can point to channels which are used less frequently and that will afford you greater throughput speed than the channel you are currently using. You can then modify your routers to take advantage of this information and run into less traffic when transmitting over the network.
Update Your Router’s Firmware
Router manufacturers provide firmware updates that can provide performance and security enhancements to your WiFi network. Even in cases where your network seems to be running flawlessly, you should make it a point to stay on top of firmware updates and have them installed in a timely manner.
Eliminate Uninvited Guests
One of the ugly truths about WiFi networks is that if you don’t take the proper precautions to protect them, they are easily misused. Your WiFi signal may be being hijacked by a wide range of individuals who may or may not have bad intentions regarding your network and data. Uninvited users will drain the resources intended for your family or employees. Ensure that your WiFi network is protected by a strong password that is not easily guessed so that only authorized users can obtain access.
These are some of the ways that you can increase your WiFi signal and keep everyone in the company or family happy about their level of network access and the speed at which data is transmitted. If you are not satisfied with the performance of your current WiFi network give these methods a try.
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