Wireless Networking Tips

Tip 1: Reduce interference on your wireless network

Since wireless networks use radio waves to transmit signals, it’s possible that typical household electronics-your microwave, cordless phone or even the baby monitor- can interfere with this signal. Make sure you move your wireless router away from those devices that use the same 2.4GHz frequency range.

Other causes of interference are brick and cinderblock walls, metal doors, metal frames around windows and doors, and metal filing cabinets.

Take these simple steps to reduce wireless interference:

  1. Move the router further away from the interfering device or object.
  2. If there is interference with a phone, you can change the channel of the phone or the Router so they use different channels. If there is still too much interference, you may have to buy a different phone system, operating at either 900MHz or 5GHz.
  3. Place the wireless router in a central location of your house, such as a family room or office.
  4. Arrange the desktop or laptop’s wireless antenna so that it points toward the wireless router.
  5. Avoid placing the antenna close to an outside wall (unless outside is where you want to be).
  6. If you want to connect while you’re outside, place the router near a window.
  7. Place your Access Point as high as possible. If your network goes through multiple floors, try to place the Access Point on the upper floor.
  8. Put large furniture along the exterior walls of your home.
  9. Minimize mirrors. All metallic surfaces reflect WiFi signals, including the thin metal layer found in most mirrors.
  10. Keep antennas as far away from power cords and other computer wires as possible. Those cords and wires can interfere with radio reception.
  11. Reflectors can also be used to good advantage. Use NetStumbler to tune your placement of the reflector. Compact disks can be used, as can anything that actually looks like a parabolic reflector. The reflector, of course, should be placed behind the receiving device or antenna. Large increases in signal strength can be expected. This trick also works with cellphones.
  12. The addition of a “high gain” (higher dBi) external antenna will often provide increased reception signal and performance. Note that a higher dBi increases the signal horizontally, but decreases vertically. If you need to cover several floors, a higher dBi will probably not help. In this case, you might consider buying a Wi-Fi amplifier, which will boost your signal.
  13. purchasing a WiFi repeater, which is a piece of hardware can be used to boost the signal between the router and your device

Tip 2: Change the channel on your wireless router

If you are experiencing frequent loss of connections on your wireless network, interference from another network using the same channel is the likely cause. If you and a neighbor both have a wireless network set at channel 6, then you may experience interference. Try changing to a different channel, either 1 or 11.

If your wireless signal is intermittent, then you are most likely experiencing 2.4 GHz interference. Before switching channels see Networking Tip #1 for easy ways to reduce or eliminate interference.

Here are some simple steps to take if you want to try switching channels:

  1. First, be sure to have the latest firmware installed for your router.
  2. Follow the instructions for your router model (see your User Guide or follow the link above) and change the channel to 1, 6, or 11. These are the best channels to use for wireless networking.
  3. If you are still experiencing interference try switching the router to one of the other channels (2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10) until you find one that makes a good connection.

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