Improving wireless signal range

Published 12/05/2004 10:46   |    Updated 02/05/2008 11:42

What can I do to improve the wireless range between my wireless router and computers?

Wireless routers use a frequency spectrum that is shared with many other wireless electronic devices such as other wireless networks, video senders or microwave ovens. Although the routers are designed to cope with a certain level of interference, in some environments it could be difficult to achieve optimal performance.


There are several measures you can take to minimise interference and improve the range between your wireless router and computers.

  1. Most wireless problems are due to interference from other network or appliances. You can change the wireless channel used by your router to try and avoid those interferences. Start by trying channels 1, 6 or 11 (follow the link at the end of this article to learn how to do this on BT wireless routers), then try all channels in between if necessary. Wait for 60 seconds each time after changing the channel to verify if the signal has improved. As all environments are different, there is no easy method for doing this other than trial and error.

  2. Position antenna vertically on your router and wireless adapter (if available).

  3. Locate the router in a central place in the house (where telephone socket allows).

  4. Locate the wireless router over or on your desk/table, not under it.

  5. If the wireless router is on the ground floor and range is a problem upstairs, try positioning it on a shelf.

  6. Position the wireless adapter in your computer so that the computer is not between the router and the wireless adapter.

  7. Where available on the wireless adapter, use cables or antenna extension provided to locate wireless adapter away from your computer and other interference.

  8. Move all wireless devices away from potential sources of interference such as microwave ovens, metal sheets, cordless phones, cordless keyboards and mice, video senders, etc. Switch them off or move them away to identify which one interferes. Some devices such as video senders offer the possibility to change their channel of operation so if possible try configuring an alternative channel on the other devices too.

  9. Interference might be intermittent (for example, if a video sender is only used in the evening, or when a microwave oven is being used). Therefore you might need to check for electrical devices that are only used at certain times.

  10. Some laptops with built-in wireless adapter will provide lower wireless performance than an external wireless adapter such as a USB dongle. Consider upgrading to a USB wireless adapter or borrowing one for testing if available.


See also: How do I change the wireless channel on my wireless router?

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