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12 June 2007

How to Boost a Router Signal

Posted by Jaisal Abdurrahman

Wireless routers typically have ranges of 100 feet or more, however there are many factors that can lower this range, making your signal and signal strength lower than you might like. Interference can be caused by metal, other signals and other devices that use wireless frequencies like cell phones and microwave ovens. There are many methods you can use to boost your signal strength.

Steps

1. Check for interference
* Replace devices in your home that can interfere with network traffic on the 2.4GHz frequency range. These devices include many cordless phones, microwave ovens, and the like.
* Check your signal strength with these devices on and off to determine if they are the cause of your signal problems.
* Buy a wireless network analyzer to track down the source of interference.
2. Change your signal channel
* Routers can broadcast on a series of channels, between one and eleven. Change to a channel that will allow your router a clear signal between other wireless networks.
* Use a software utility to analyze which networks are using which channel.
* Configure your system for an unused channel.
3. Reposition your Router.
* Raise the router up as far as possible to increase the effective broadcast range.
* Move the router away from any metal including metal shelving, filing cabinets and similar common objects.
4. Raise your Xmit power.
* Check your router's documentation and configuration utility for the ability to change the Xmit power of your router: the amount of power it uses to transmit the signal. generally you can boost this number by up to 50mW, however you do risk overheating opr damaging your router.
5. Replace the Antenna.
* Unscrew and replace the broadcast antenna on your router with a model that delivers more power. Not all routers allow for new antenna to be attached, but many do.
6. Install a Repeater.
* Purchase a repeater. A repeater is a piece of hardware that acts like a wireless network expander. The repeater takes the signal from your router and boosts it to increase the range.
* Wireless repeaters are increasingly common and affordable and will probably be available in your local computer store, or on the Internet.
7. Install a Wireless Amplifier
* Purchase and attach a wireless amplifier, also known as a booster, directly to your router. A booster can be more affordable than a repeater as they only increase the strength of your existing signal, rather than the strength and range.
* Use a bi-directional amplifier to increase both your inward and outbound speeds.
8. Make a Reflector with Tinfoil.
* Cut a tinfoil circle with the tinfoil on the inside of a piece of paper or some cardboard large enough to wrap around the router.
* Place the tinfoil circle over the router.
* Run the cords over the top of the circle.


Tips

* Older and traditional homes have walls made from wooden studs, while newer construction in office buildings, malls and condominiums are often constructed with metal studs in the wall. metal studs can interfere with a router signal quite badly, so consider your building type when diagnosing your signal.


Warnings

* Do not overheat your router.


Things You'll Need

* Router also known as an access point.
* Tinfoil
* Paper or cardboard

Authors
Nik, Ben Rubenstein, Tom Viren, Flickety, Simon Hayes, Krystle

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