Why doesn’t my wireless reach every room?

That is an excellent question I will be happy to assist you with your wireless.

Welcome to the wireless age. Everyone has a phone, or tablet, or laptop,even TVs are smart now and everything needs wireless. I probably get this question several times a day. Why are there sections of my house where the wireless doesn’t work? Leaving out specific examples here are some general rules about wireless.

The first being that you actually need a wireless router to have wireless. I know this seems obvious but it does come up a lot. The modem you received from your cable company does not always have a router built in. You may need to get a wireless router. This is the first thing to check, make sure you actually have the equipment.

The next thing is to make sure that you have set up a wireless name and password. Most routers come with a default name that you can connect to before setting up your own wireless network. We will get more into what a wireless network is in a minute. If you purchased your own router from the store it should come with instructions on how to set up the network. if you got the router from your ISP (Cable Company) call them and they will help you.

Alright, so lets assume the router is in the house and set up correctly. Now it works in the room with the router but you go somewhere else in the house and it stops working. So here are a few things to keep in mind when dealing with wireless. First, the wireless signal comes off of your router like a giant bubble with the router being the center. With that visual in mind look at where the router is in the house. Is it in one corner of the house and half your signal going outside? Is the router connected to the modem in the basement and your two or even three stories up? When you picture where you are standing in relation to the router are you starting to move just outside that bubble?

Next thing to think about is that wireless uses radio waves. And these waves act like waves in the water. When the router sends out a signal that signal bounces off of any material it comes in contact with. Imagine that you house is a giant colandar or a big mettle pot with lots of holes in it. Now when the signal hits the walls or cabinet or shelves most of that signal passes through with no problem. However, some of that signal bounces back and is blocked from continuing on. Now depending on the material the wireless is passing through, the holes get smaller bouncing back more signal and letting less through. Sheetrock has big holes while metal is blocking more signal.

What does this mean? If you have your router in a metal cabinet or under a metal shelf, that is going to limit the available wireless signal that can make it to your device. If you crawled under the desk your wireless would be amazing but anywhere else there is nothing. The other thing to think about is how is the house set up. Is there a better place you can put the router to increase the signal strength in the rooms with low signal? Try again to imagine the wireless as water and watch it bounce off walls and furniture and think of where the signal might settle.

You may want to move the router around the house and see if the signal distributes more evenly in different areas.

damping

No we move into the final stage of wireless set interference. Again, we understand that wireless is actually radio waves and it acts like a radio. The router is the radio station or radio tower sending out the signal and your device is the radio in your car receiving the signal. What I want you to imagine is that you are driving and as you move around the station starts to crackle and fade. Maybe another station starts to come in. That is what is happening with the wireless. Since everyone has routers your neighbor’s wireless could be interfering with your signal. Their radio station is sending out a signal that is jamming your wireless and causing the connection to be weaker. So if you have the router against one wall and the neighbor has their router against the same wall or a wall near yours, then the routers are fighting with each other. The other thing to think about is that there are other devices that send out radio waves.

Wifi013

Now most routers by default use a 2.4 Ghz frequency to send the signal. The number is not important except to realize that cordless phones, baby monitors, and microwaves all use 2.4 Ghz frequencies also. The big problem that I see is if you have a bundle with your cable provider where the TV, phone, and Internet are included together then there is a good chance that you set up the cordless phone by the modem right next to the router. This is weakening the signal right at the source. If the signal is weak before it even leaves the router there is no way it can get further into the house.

Another thing to look into is if your router is a dual band router, this means it has two wireless frequencies – the normal 2.4 Ghz and a 5 GHz frequency. 5 Ghz frequency is a newer frequency that is not affected by cordless phones and microwaves. Also 5 Ghz is a stronger faster connection. Now since 5 Ghz is the newer technology not all devices are compatible so sometimes this is not an option but if your device can see 5 Ghz, usually the wireless name will be the same as the 2.4 Ghz name but with a 5G at the end, jump on that connection instead.  The only down side to 5Ghz is that is has a short range. the connection is faster and stronger but you can not go as far away from the router and maintain the connection. 2.4 Ghz is slower but the range is much larger.

So what to do? Best practice is having the router in the center of the house on an open shelf or cabinet, away from from cordless phones or other devices that send out a wireless signal, and as far away from neighboring routers as possible. Make sure the wireless name and password are set up correctly and if possible make the router broadcast the signal in two frequencies to increase the chance of having a good connection.

If you have a technology question would like answered please E-mail speakslowerblog@gmail.com and I will be happy to look into for you.

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