How Can I Extend WiFi Range for My Laptop?

After you set up wireless Internet access in your home, one of the first things you'll likely do is carry your laptop from room to room to see how strong your connection is. You may find that some rooms are dead spots, with no connectivity at all. How can you increase the range of your laptop's reception? Moving the router to a central point in your home is a good place to start, but if that's not enough there are a few other easy things you can do.

  1. Secure Your Router

    • If your router is not secure there's a good chance you're not the only one using it to access the Internet. If too many people are using your router, your Wi-Fi speed will slow to a crawl. The steps to secure a router differ from model to model, so consult your router's documentation to find out more. Note that WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy) encryption will keep most people out, but it is easily crackable for the determined. For this reason, the stronger WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access) protection is recommended.

    Change the Channel

    • A Wi-Fi network uses radio waves to send and receive information. If your wireless network does not have the reach or speed you'd like, it's possible another nearby router on the same channel is interfering with your signal. All routers on the market have the ability to use different channels, so consult your router's documentation to find out how to make the change. Experiment with different channels and see what works best for you.

    Use a Repeater

    • If large areas of your home are still perpetual dead spots you may want to consider a Wi-Fi repeater. These devices extend the reach of your wireless network by acting as a relay between a computer and a router. If a repeater is set up near the edge of the reach of your router it will extend the Wi-Fi signal farther. Ask for a Wi-Fi extender at your local electronics store, or look for one online.

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