WiFi is one of the modern miracles of the technological age, but also one that often frustrates. You can have full bars in one spot of your house, and nearly nothing in another.

With so many locked down and working from home, it is even more vital to get the most out of your WiFi network. Here’s our guide to maximise the performance of your WiFi.

What interferes with my home WiFi network?

Your WiFi router is like a mini cell tower (although much less powerful, obviously) – the signal radiates from the device. This means the closer you are to the router, the stronger your signal will be.

Unfortunately, unlike cell towers, home WiFi devices are often placed against walls rather than in large open fields. This can greatly impact your signal by partially absorbing or even outright blocking the signal. 

Furniture, appliances, and even people can all interfere with your signal strength. But it’s not just physical objects you have to worry about; WiFi signals occupy the same radio frequency band of the electromagnetic spectrum as actual radios, cell phones, microwave ovens, and many other modern devices (including other WiFi networks!)

Is my connection strong enough to handle working from home?

WiFi has come a long way since the early routers first came on the residential market, and like all technology, older devices just aren’t built to handle modern work loads. 

Low-end routers cannot provide reliable wireless internet access for multiple devices, and if your home network already has a TV, laptop, mobile phone (and maybe even a fridge) connected, adding in a new work station might be too much for it to handle.

Where should I work?

In every home there is an optimal place to set up your work station, and it all depends on where you’ve set up your router. If you have the ability to, you should start with picking the perfect location for your WiFi device.

An easy way to pick a good location is to identify all the bad ones.The biggest emitters of electromagnetic waves tend to be found in the kitchen, and they include stoves, microwave ovens, and dishwashers. 

This means the kitchen is often the worst place in your home to set up your workstation. If possible, set up your router in the largest room in your house, and pick a spot where it is least blocked by walls, furniture or other people walking around.

You should also make sure not to have metal near your WiFi device, as it can easily disrupt the signal and create a large dead zone. 

What if I still experience interruptions to my connection?

WiFi signal radiates in all directions, not just horizontally. If your router is on the floor, it’s ability to emit signals is greatly limited. Try raising your router up, or if your home has a second floor, place it up there.

If you’ve moved your router into the best possible location and still can’t maintain a steady connection, the problem may lie with the capacity of your internet connection. Video conferencing and streaming in particular can be too much for even a strong WiFi network to handle. 

Outdated firmware on your router can also limit the performance of your internet connection. This can be a bit more technical to troubleshoot, but your internet provider will be able to assist with the update.

Wifi Extenders and Amplifiers

Another possible option to improve your home internet connection is to use a WiFi extender or amplifier. These devices are particularly useful if you like to move around your house during the work day, or work from your patio, backyard or balcony. When other steps fail, a WiFi extender can give you a much needed boost.

WiFi extenders work by repeating the wireless signal from your router – functioning like a bridge that picks up the signal and re-broadcasts it – allowing you to set up your workstation almost anywhere in your home without sacrificing connectivity.

One thing to keep in mind is that a WiFi extender will not upgrade your signal, only redistribute. A fancy extender will be hamstrung by a poor router, so make sure you pick up compatible equipment!