4 Ways to Eliminate WiFi ‘Deadzones’ and Increase Network Speeds

The age, placement and settings of your router all contribute to making your WiFi signal stronger. Learn more here.

If you own a wireless router and your home is on the larger side, chances are you have areas with a strong signal and fast speeds, and some where you can’t connect to the internet at all. That’s especially true of sprawling homes. We’ll show you how to make WiFi faster in your home with a few small adjustments.

You can fix some WiFi coverage and speed problems by tweaking router settings, relocating the router or adding an expander device. But if you’re using a router with outdated WiFi technology, there may not be much you can do. In that case, you’re better off buying a new router with the latest WiFi technology. Either way, we’ll show you how to make WiFi faster at home.

Close-Up Of Wireless Router On Table At HomeKittichai Boonpong / EyeEm/Getty Images

Update Your Router’s Software

First, update the router’s “firmware” (the software that operates your router). Find the latest firmware on the manufacturer’s website. You can often solve connection and speed problems by simply installing the most recent firmware version. Check your owner’s manual to learn how to obtain and install firmware.

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Change the Channel

Most modern routers are dual band, meaning they can send out WiFi networks that operate on two channels: 2.4 GHz and 5GHz. Think of these channels as a two-way street, sending information to devices and receiving data back. The more people and devices using the street, the more things slow down. The same is true for WiFi channels. If your neighbors’ routers use the same channel as yours, both can slow to a crawl. In that case, changing the channel may help.

If your dual-band router was set up properly, it should be sending out networks on 2.4GHz and 5GHz channels. The 5GHz channel is less common, so it should be largely traffic free and much faster than its 2.4GHz counterpart. Switch to the 5GHz and then test your internet speed to see if it’s faster.

Relocate the Router

If your router is in a corner room, you may improve speed and coverage by moving it to a central location. The signal may be degraded by traversing layers of drywall, brick or other material. Since rewiring is a lot of work, try hooking it up in a central location with temporary wiring first to see if it helps the signal strength.

Disconnect the modem/router from its present location and run a longer ethernet cable to a central location in your home. Then connect the modem and router to the temporary cable and recheck signal strength in all rooms. Turn on the WiFi in your smartphone, tablet or laptop and move it from room to room, noting the number of WiFi bars (not cell phone bars).

Detail of Wifi range extenderLobro78/Getty Images

Set Up a WiFi Range Extender

Range extenders receive the signal from the router and rebroadcast it so you get coverage over a wider area. They’re available in different speeds and power ratings. Two examples are the NETGEAR EX6200 High Power WiFi Range Extender and the NETGEAR EX6100 WiFi Range Extender, both available through our affiliation with Amazon.com.

Install a desktop or a wall plug-in range extender halfway between the WiFi router and the weak/dead area. Access the extender with your laptop and program it with your router password.

Plug the extender into a standard receptacle and follow the programming instructions to make it work with your existing router.