Most of us use WiFi wireless technology to connect to the internet using our laptops, tablets and smart-phones. And most of us have experienced significant frustration when it is difficult or even impossible to connect to the internet because of a poor wireless signal.
The simplest and cheapest way of boosting WiFi coverage is to buy an external wireless adaptor that would connect to one of your laptop’s USB ports. These are available for less than £10.
External USB wireless adaptors are usually compact, portable and can be installed in a few seconds.
In addition to having a better performing radio, external wireless adaptors often come with a high gain antenna that can be unscrewed and replaced with an even higher gain antenna.
When connected, the more powerful external wireless adaptor would automatically be used instead of the wireless client that is integrated with your laptop.
You can view and buy different types of USB wireless signal booster adaptors from various vendors on the Amazon website by browsing the search box below.
Please note that USB external wireless adaptors can only be connected to laptops. At the time of writing there are no similar adaptors available for smartphones or tablets.
An external USB wireless adaptor would be your only option for boosting the WiFi signal when using a laptop with a public wireless hotspot service (eg in hotels, airports, bars, cafes etc), but there are other options that will improve wireless internet access in your own premises.
These would improve internet access for all WiFi devices, including smartphones and tablets and would include:
- Install additional wireless access points (ie signal boosters);
- Deploy a better wireless router; or
- Relocate your existing wireless router.
Option 1 is usually the only option that can be considered because in most home or office situations the type of wireless router and its location can’t usually be changed.
1. Install additional wireless access points
Simply stated, if there are areas within your premises where the wireless coverage and performance is not sufficient then you would need to install one or more additional wireless access points.
The problem is usually that your router’s integrated wireless access point is not sufficiently powerful to provide the required coverage throughout your home or business premises.
To provide the required wireless coverage additional wireless access points would be installed in the areas that require coverage. These would be connected back to the router (or network switch) using one of the following three methods:
- an ethernet cable connection to dedicated wireless access point;
- a wireless repeater; and
- a homeplug wireless adaptor.
The best method of boosting or extending wireless coverage is to install a Dedicated Wireless Access Point that is connected back to the router using an ethernet cable connection either directly or via an intermediate network switch.
[NB In situations where it is necessary to provide wireless coverage over a large area it may be necessary to install multiple dedicated wireless access points with a central wireless controller managing security and controlling access.]
Zyxel have a good range of high quality dedicated wireless access points. You can view these and others on the Amazon website by clicking on the links in the search box below.
In most domestic situations installing an ethernet cable connection is impractical or too expensive. In such cases you would need to install either a Wireless Repeater or a HomePlug Wireless Adaptor.
With a Wireless Repeater the wireless access point is an integral part of the Repeater and would be connected to the router using your existing wireless connection.
The Wireless Repeater would be installed at the limit of the existing coverage area so that it can “bounce” (ie repeat) the signal into an adjacent area where coverage is required.
Netgear have a good range of high quality Wireless Repeaters. You can view these and others on the Amazon website by clicking on the links in the search box below.
With a HomePlug Wireless Adaptor the wireless access point is also an integral part of the adaptor and would be connected to the router via your premises’ mains electrical cabling.
The HomePlug Wireless Adaptor would be installed in the middle of the area that requires coverage (eg a television room or a study).
Devolo have a good range of high quality HomePlug Wireless Adaptors and starter kits. You can view these and others on the Amazon website by clicking on the links in the search box below.
In general a Wireless Repeater solution would cost less that the Homeplug Wireless Adaptor solution, but a Homeplug solution would perform better and would have more flexibility.
To find out more about each method of installing additional wireless access points to boost wireless coverage just click on the appropriate link in the list above or contact Premitel.
2. Deploy a better wireless router
If you own your wireless router you have the option of replacing your existing wireless router with a better model.
You should certainly ensure that your router complies with the “N” standard, or better still the new high-speed “AC” standard.
The best wireless routers would also have features that can improve wireless performance such as:
- output power adjustment;
- simultaneous dual-band capability (ie 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz);
- auto and manual channel selection;
- bandwidth selection; and
- removable and replaceable antennae.
The performance boosting features summarised above would also apply in situations where your existing WiFi internet access is provided by a dedicated wireless access point that is not integrated with the router.
3. Relocate your wireless router
In many situations the wireless router is connected to a phone socket that is located on the periphery of the area that requires wireless coverage. The reason for this is that the phone socket is often located near the entrance to the premises, for example near a door or a window.
In such situations it would be possible to improve wireless coverage by relocating the router to somewhere that is more central to the required coverage area. It would also help to have the wireless router as high as possible so that any floor standing objects would not block the wireless signal.
The main problem with relocating the wireless router is that it also requires the phone socket to be relocated or an extension socket to be installed.
Another problem is that it is necessary to provide power to the router. This means that the router needs to be located near a mains electrical socket.
If you require assistance relocating your wireless router or access point and are based near Edinburgh then you should get in touch with Premitel to benefit from our professional installation service.
Otherwise you would need to get in touch with a local installation firm.
Get in touch with Premitel if you have a specific requirement or if you wish to discuss how your business could make better and more cost-effective use of its existing telecommunications and internet infrastructure and services.