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How to troubleshoot and improve your home Wi-Fi signal

As we are all spending more time at home, the status of your Wi-Fi signal is a top priority. Here’s how to troubleshoot and make sure your signal stays online.

PHOENIX — Working from home. Schooling from home. Entertaining from home. The coronavirus pandemic has left many people spending a vast amount of their day inside their houses. 

And with the increased amount of time being spent online at home, having a steady Wi-Fi signal is more important than ever. From streaming to gaming, video meetings and online collaborations, there are plenty of activities taking up bandwidth at any time. 

So how can we make sure we’re getting the best Wi-Fi signal at home and troubleshoot any issues? We turn to an expert for some advice.

Daniel Bliss is a professor at Arizona State University in the School for Electrical Computing and Energy Engineering. He is also the director of WISCA, the Center for Wireless Information Systems and Computational Architectures at ASU. 

Bliss took some time with us to share some tips for those looking to improve their WiFi signal or fix any issues they might be experiencing.

Making sure you are getting the best Wi-Fi signal possible

Take a look at these suggestions to help make sure your WiFi is as strong as it can be.

Hard wire what you can

Whenever possible, Bliss said it’s a good idea to connect devices to your router directly with an Ethernet cable. Devices connected through the wire have a better signal and may offer faster speeds. Also, the fewer devices you can have on the wireless signal, the better. We’ll explain why below. 

Keep away from other devices 

Another good recommendation is to keep your wireless router away from other devices. 

“If your device is closer to the Wi-Fi router, it actually allows the router to send higher data rates,” Bliss said. 

Bliss added having it near too many other devices could block or hinder the signal from reaching other devices on the W-iFi signal. 

Avoid putting the router near walls

Here’s some good news for those with open floor plans for your home. When talking about the location of your router, Bliss suggested keeping it away from walls. 

“If there are more walls between you and the router, it definitely slows it down,” Bliss reiterated.  

Having multiple walls between the router and your connected device could impact the stability of your wireless connection. 

Try Wi-Fi mesh networks 

If you're looking to extend the reach of your wireless network, a mesh network might be for you. These networks use several routers connected to one main wireless router to help extend your signal throughout your home.

Bliss explains mesh networks a little more in the video below.

Fixing Wi-Fi issues at home

Here are a few suggestions to help you fix your faulty Wi-Fi signal at home.

Check your devices first

If your connection isn't working on the device you're using, Bliss recommended checking other devices connected to your Wi-Fi signal to see if they are still connected. This will help determine if it's an issue with the device itself or the network.

Look at the wired connections

Still getting connection issues after checking the device? If so, Bliss suggested checking your devices connected to the network via Ethernet cable. If the wired connection is still working, the issue could be with the wireless signal from the router itself.

Limit the number of devices

Having several devices connected to the same Wi-Fi signal at one time can really slow down your signal. So if possible, Bliss added that it's a good idea to limit the number of your devices connected to Wi-Fi at one time. 

Watch out for interference

There are plenty of ways other signals can interfere with your Wi-Fi, both inside and outside your home. Bliss said one possible cause could be coming from your neighbors. 

“Beware of potential interference from your neighbors’ Wi-Fi signals and other devices like baby monitors,” he said. “The systems try to avoid each other, but actually Wi-Fi is not particularly good at avoiding interference.”

Due to the homes’ proximity, these signals are more likely to interfere with each other, causing potential issues.  

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These are just a few suggestions to help keep your Wi-Fi signal as strong as it can be. 

While you might not be able to solve all of the possible issues that can arise from your wireless network, these tips offer some useful solutions to troubleshoot from your home.

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