Remodel Your Home Network For Stronger Broadband

Planning a good room layout is all about furniture placement and finishing touches. It’s the same with getting a good broadband signal — put your router in the right place, make a few quick tweaks to the settings and you’ll be surprised how much your signal could improve. Guest writer Charlotte Brown is here to help you get the best possible signal in your home, with a few quick tips on remodeling your home network.

Tip one is to ensure good router placement. For the best possible signal, set your router up in an open space away from shelves, corners or cabinets. Place it as close to the center of your home as you can. If you’re online most often in the living room, place your router there (not right next to the TV, as I’ll explain in tip three). If the signal doesn’t seem strong, try placing it higher up, perhaps on a mantelpiece.

Wireless devices need to be able to ‘see’ your router to receive signal, and obstacles like brick walls, metal cabinets and faulty extension cables can get in the way. If you think your router’s signal might be blocked, remove any obstacles between your router and wireless devices. If you can be flexible about placement, move your main computer to the room with the router or vice-versa.

When more than one person speaks at the same time, you can have a hard time getting a clear idea of what they’re saying. It works a similar way with devices trying to receive wireless signal — something as innocuous as a microwave, when close enough to your network, could be broadcasting a conflicting signal that can cause interference and slow down your connection. Here’s tip three: Keep your router away from other broadcasting devices. Try not to place your router right next to your TV set or any other device that broadcasts its own signal.

If you want the clearest possible signal and your router is in an unavoidably close proximity to other broadcasting devices, tip four is to change the channel on your wireless router. Wireless networks are able to operate on a range of channels, and you can usually (make and model dependent) manually change the channel on your router to the least busy one. Have a look in your router manual for advice on this, or follow this handy tutorial from How to Geek — it gets a little technical so you might need to allocate a little time for this task.

If you’re using DSL broadband and you have multiple access points, tip five is to micro-filter out any interference. You can fit microfilters cheaply and easily yourself. They are small plastic devices that connect to your telephone line and allow your broadband and home phone service to run alongside each other without interference.

Out with the old and in with the new hardware. Tip six is to ensure you’ve got the latest broadband equipment. Outdated hardware can deliver significantly slower speeds and a less secure service, so if it’s been a while since your ISP updated your router, TV box and modem, give them a call and find out if you’re entitled to a free upgrade. Signal problems can often be solved by switching to a new router that’s capable of working across more channels, so if you aren’t due for a free upgrade but are struggling with old equipment and slow speeds, you might want to invest in an upgrade.

Using an extension cable to connect your router to your telephone socket, or to anything else, is a no-no. Tip seven is to avoid using extension cords at all if you can, and if you can’t, make sure they are as short as possible.

If you didn’t have a password for your email, anyone could hack in. It’s the same with a home network. You’ve taken the time to set it up in the right position, remove any obstacles and change the channel to get a better signal, so my eighth and final tip is to take two minutes and set a password for your home network. Kick any unwanted users off your network that could be gobbling up bandwidth and stopping you from streaming over Netflix. Try to make it as difficult to guess as possible, with upper case, lower case and numerical characters. Here’s a little help from Microsoft on passwords for Windows users.

If these steps haven’t fixed your signal problem it could be due to faulty equipment or an issue with your service provider, give them a call and ask them to fix it. Happy home networking!

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