Most households only have a single broadband connection. However, there are usually a multitude of devices that need to access and share that connection. Using cables is an option, but one that becomes a hassle, especially when you need to connect devices that are far away.
This is why most broadband providers will include a wireless router in addition to the modem. Both may even be integrated into a single device. Unfortunately, using a wireless router can sometimes lead to problems related to poor signal reception.
The result of receiving a poor or weak signal is that devices cannot access your broadband connection. There are many reasons why this can occur, which vary depending on the circumstances of each individual. Fortunately, there are several ways someone can resolve problems with inadequate signal strength.
Change the position of your wireless router to get a better signal
The first thing you should do if you are confronted with a weak reception is to reposition your wireless router. Depending on the layout of your home and the materials used during construction, your wireless signal may be suffering from interference. The signal may be getting blocked or it's getting bounced around, which results in you getting no signal or a weak one.
It is better to position your wireless router as high as possible instead of close to the ground. You need to make sure that nothing can block the signal from reaching certain areas. Get rid of clutter and create as much open space in your home as possible. The signal should be able to travel as freely as possible. There should be a clear line of sight if possible. Experiment until you've found a position that works.
Correct the problem of weak output from a wireless router by checking its settings
Most wireless routers have a setting that can increase or decrease the strength of the signal. Depending on its strength, the signal may not travel as far and will therefore not be able to reach all devices in your home. Increasing its strength should enable the signal to travel further.
More often than not, the manufacturer of your wireless router lowered the wireless signal output on purpose as a security precaution. Since the signal does not travel as far, fewer people can receive it. That may be desirable in some cases. For instance, if you don't want your neighbors or strangers parked outside of your home inside your network.
Consult your manual and configuration to make sure that the relevant setting is set at maximum strength. The most common way to do this is to access the router configuration by typing its IP address into your browser. Change the setting if you have to and reboot the wireless router.
How to Fix a Weak Signal With Larger Antennas
All wireless routers have antennas that can often times be screwed off. If this is the case, it is possible to make the signal output stronger by purchasing a bigger antenna for your router. Just replace the original antenna with a bigger antenna and you should get a stronger signal that can travel much further than before.
You can also do the same with the wireless adapters. The ones used inside desktop computers can usually be screwed off. Find a bigger antenna and use it to replace the original one. The wireless adapter will have its sensitivity enhanced so that it is now able to receive a signal that may previously have been too weak.
Buy a repeater to extend the range of the signal
A repeater is a device that picks up a wireless signal, amplifies it and then broadcasts whatever it has received. Using this method, the signal coming from a wireless router can be extended to cover a far greater area than is possible using only a wireless router. It essentially extends the reach of the wireless signal.
Wireless adapters that are too far away to receive a signal can benefit from the extended range coming from a repeater. If your wireless signal falls short or is too weak for proper reception, a repeater is just what you need to fix the problem. The drawback of course is that you will need to purchase a repeater. Be sure to try the previous solutions before opting for this one as those are easier on the wallet.
Upgrading to newer technology can fix a weak signal
The latest wireless technology usually features improvements in signal strength and range. For example, 802.11n is better than 802.11g, which in turn is better than 802.11b. Depending on the technology currently used in your wireless router, you may be able to get a stronger signal with newer technology.
However, this does require a new wireless router. Upgrading your current wireless router is not possible. This may be a somewhat costly option, especially if your wireless router is integrated with your modem as is increasingly the case. In that case, both the modem and wireless router will have to be replaced with another one incorporating the latest wireless standards.
This method should only be considered if other alternative methods are not an option. You should first try to resolve the problem of poor reception with methods that are easier to implement. Once you have tried those, you can move on to the more expensive solutions, including the option of installing devices that use newer wireless technology.
Poor reception can be resolved using different methods
Problems with poor reception that prevent you from using your broadband connection to its fullest can be resolved. It may take some time and effort to find out how to solve the problem, but a solution definitely exists.
The question is not if, but how to solve the problem of poor signal reception. If you are lucky, you may be able to do so without spending a penny. In other cases, you may have to buy some new equipment to solve the problem.
John Tsang (author) on November 03, 2013:
Glad to help you. Thanks for commenting!
Dean Walsh from Birmingham, England on November 03, 2013:
I didn't realize that just getting bigger antennas could help - that such a cheap easy thing to do - great tip!
John Tsang (author) on August 24, 2013:
Yes, upgrading to a newer firmware if there is one can help fix problems.
Thanks for commenting!
calculus-geometry on August 23, 2013:
Good tips. It's amazing how well the signal can improve if you just move it to a new location. You can also upgrade your router's firmware to fix problems. I found that helped with intermittent outages.