Does the weather affect the Wi-Fi signals

Increase WiFi range: With these 10 tips you can improve reception


Using the Internet via WLAN is easy and convenient, but unfortunately the wireless network also has its pitfalls. What to do if the WiFi signal is weak in the living room or kitchen? We give you ten tips with which you can significantly improve your WiFi range.

The WiFi network is a good invention. It not only saves you having to wire up the devices via LAN cables, it also enables even the smallest products such as smart home gadgets or smartphones to use the Internet. In addition, we can move freely and are not tied to one place. However, the wireless network is significantly more susceptible to interference than the cable connection. The neighbour's WiFi or incorrect settings in the router can significantly reduce the range and speed of your wireless network.

WiFi killer: causes of poor WiFi connections

Does your connection break or does not even come about, is the range poor or the transmission speed more than slow? Problems are often caused by simple physical properties. Electromagnetic waves or building materials such as thick concrete can have a significant impact on WiFi reception. Therefore, first make yourself aware of the disruptive factors that could be the causes of the poor reception for you. You can eliminate network problems, for example with the IP address, with our WLAN problem solver.

WLAN, Bluetooth or other radio standards: Many devices often use the "unregulated frequency band" around 2.4 gigahertz. In all frequency allocation procedures, this was always left out, because it is actually only poorly suited for radio transmissions. 2.4 gigahertz is namely the resonance frequency of water.

You should pay attention to this

The following things have an impact on your WiFi network:

  • Concrete and brick walls
  • Plants and water pipes
  • Microwaves and wireless cameras
  • Foreign WiFi networks
  • Other radio-based systems (e.g. Sonos)

For example, microwave ovens also work on this frequency and can thus interfere with other 2.4 gigahertz signals such as your WLAN. This also makes it clear why even plants in front of the router can significantly weaken the signal - this is simply due to the water content in leaves and Co. For the same reason, rain and snow can reduce the WiFi range.

Concrete or brick walls with a high moisture content interfere with WiFi more than dry building materials such as plaster of paris or foam. In the case of wood and other materials, the shielding behavior depends on how high their water content is. But metal and steel are also unfavorable for WLAN radio waves because they block electromagnetic waves. And even glass surfaces influence the signals because they partly reflect the radio waves. This effect can be observed particularly in long corridors with a large glass front on one side.

Measure the WLAN networks in the area

For all subsequent steps, it is important to know which channel your WLAN network uses, how the neighboring networks are set and whether the router location is optimal. Therefore, before actually troubleshooting, you should measure all WiFi networks in the area. We looked at three WiFi analysis tools for this and show you how you can use them to measure the WiFi signal strength.

Optimize router location

The easiest way to optimize the WLAN range is to position the router correctly. Many people place the router directly next to the telephone or cable socket in order to save wiring to other rooms. However, this is not always optimal. In a separate article we will tell you how to find the right location for your WiFi router and what you need to consider.

Change WiFi channel

You can improve your reception by changing the channel on which your wireless router transmits. Most WLAN base stations offer 13 channels from number 1 to number 13 to choose from. Due to their bandwidth, these channels partially overlap one another and interference occurs. This can be remedied by changing the WLAN channel. How this can be done in a few simple steps is explained step by step in the linked article.

Swap antennas

You can often swap these for routers with externally attached antennas. So you can replace the supplied copies with much stronger models. In our article "WLAN antennas: improving signal strength and reception" we have listed for you which antennas you can use and for which areas of application they are intended.

If your router manufacturer does not offer stronger antennas, you may be able to fall back on offers from third-party providers. In this case, however, be sure to find out about the compatibility with your router. You should also clarify whether the replacement will invalidate your device warranty. Also observes the legal regulations in Germany. You are not allowed to use certain WLAN amplifiers that are too powerful in this country.

Align antennas correctly

The correct alignment of the router antennas can also bring significant improvements in reception - you know that from the radio. Many modern routers often have three antennas. These should be aligned like this: one antenna vertically upwards, one antenna horizontally to the front, the third antenna horizontally to the side.

With two antennas, one antenna should be oriented horizontally and the second vertically. Overall, the antennas should always point away from each other. In this way you achieve an even spread of the WLAN network. Does your router not have adjustable antennas? Then unfortunately you cannot change the position. However, you have the option of changing the direction of the radio waves with a simple trick.

Reduce interference by switching to the 5 GHz band

Not only foreign radio networks interfere with your WLAN signal, electronic devices such as microwaves, DECT telephones and the like also bring your WLAN network out of sync. The reason: Most routers send their signal on the 2.4 gigahertz band ex works. However, other electronic devices also use this frequency. It is therefore better to switch to the 5 gigahertz band - on which there is significantly less "radio traffic".

However, note: Not all routers and especially not all end devices support 5 gigahertz WLAN networks. In addition, the 5 gigahertz frequency offers a significantly higher Internet speed, but a shorter range. The same also applies the other way round: If you have a WiFi network running at 2.4 and 5 gigahertz, for example, switching off the 5 gigahertz network can lead to noticeable improvements. In both cases it makes sense to first sit on a tape and observe it.

Update firmware

Updating the firmware of the router or the end devices can also improve the quality of the network. You will find a menu item for this in the web configuration of all common routers. In many cases, available updates are automatically imported by the router in order to close security gaps, for example. Nevertheless, you should check whether an update is available. In a separate article we explain how to update the firmware with the Fritz! Box.

WLAN repeater for signal amplification

WLAN repeaters are a sensible and inexpensive alternative. You should expect around 30 to 100 euros for the purchase, depending on which device you want to use and whether it contains other functions. For example, you can use a WiFi repeater to extend the cable signal or connect wired devices to it.

If you use a Fritz! Box, ideally use a Fritz! Repeater, the same applies to other manufacturers. The advantage is the significantly better integration into the existing network structure and, above all, the better maintenance options. With the Fritz! Box, for example, integration works with the push of a button on the WPS button, after which the repeater appears in the Fritz! Box's web interface and can be configured using it. This works with any number of devices, whereby one signal amplifier is probably sufficient for most of them, two or more are only required in very large buildings.

Mesh network

An alternative to repeaters are WLAN systems that consist of several routers - such as Google Wifi or Netgear Orbi. Several routers are distributed in the house here. These form a network and communicate with one another. Configurations, SSID and the like are exchanged. In this context, one speaks of a mesh network, whereby a Fritz! Box with corresponding repeaters works similarly and can be configured just as easily.

Powerline adapter as a WLAN bridge

If your WLAN signal does not make it to the desired location of the repeater, it cannot of course amplify anything. Now you can lay a cable there and install an access point there, but that will not be feasible for rental apartments. Powerline adapters provide a remedy here. These obtain their network signal via the existing power line and act as an access point in the existing network.

Unlike the WLAN repeater, which "extends" the existing WLAN, powerline adapters act as independent access points. This is not a problem at first, but when using WLAN and several adapters it can lead to several WLAN networks. If you only want to have one visible network (i.e. an SSID), you must first check whether the powerline adapter supports this. With the Fritz! Powerline this function is called "WLAN bridge". If you have activated this, the wireless network name and WLAN key are adopted. Afterwards, there is no difference whether you get WLAN via powerline, directly via the router or via a repeater.

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