Determine whether physical obstacles are weakening the signal. Not surprisingly, wireless networks offer the strongest signals in open spaces, but unless your home resembles a big hall, your wireless network must negotiate walls and floors, both of which can reduce the strength and range of the signal. Today’s home networking equipment can reach as far as 300 feet in the very best circumstances, but your home’s metal and concrete will savage your router’s signal strength. If the computers closest to your wireless AP or router aren’t dropping the wireless connection and the computer that is dropping the connection is at the far end of the house, you can probably blame your network troubles on distance and physical barriers.
There are two popular types of signal-strengthening devices on the market for home users: range boosting antennae and repeaters. Several manufacturers offer APs and wireless routers that have removable antenna. If you can detach your router’s antenna, you can replace it with an antenna that offers more dBi. Chances are, your router’s manufacturer also offers an optional range-boosting antenna.
Wireless Repeaters, which are devices that resemble APs, also boost your router’s signal strength and are great for throwing the signal around corners. Unlike antennae, which attach directly to the router, a repeater can sit far from a router, pick up the router’s signal, and repeat it. If your PC sits behind a particularly thick wall or other physical barrier, consider placing a repeater between the router and the PC that drops connections.
Another way, is move your wireless adapter or your computer. If your computer sits under your desk or in a cupboard, consider buying a wireless USB adapter that includes a lengthy cable. You can run the USB adapter’s antenna up to the top of your desk, where it may get better reception.
Also, change your wireless channel. If you live in an area that has many wireless networks, you may see a performance boost when you change your router’s wireless channel. Other APs and wireless routers that use the same channel your router uses may reduce the strength of your signal. Your router supports up to 11 channels, which means you have plenty of wiggle room.
To change your router’s channel, you’ll need to enter its firmware menu via an Internet browser. Once you enter the menu, browse for the router’s wireless settings, which will include a field that lets you choose a channel. Most standard networking devices choose a channel by default and then let users change the channel, but enhanced devices that offer extra range and speed functionality may insist on a specific channel until you disable the performance-boosting feature.
Click for Wireless Repeaters.
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