This is a common issue that we run into with customers. Streaming relies heavily on having a strong Internet connection to stream without interruption. We run into situations where the router is on the other side of the house from the box, the Internet speed is not sufficient, and many others. Most people don’t know that there are many options to increase your signal strength. A lot of these options do not cost any money.
Upgrade your Router Firmware
Updating router firmware is often overlooked by home users. Business networking devices usually display some sort of notice when newer software for the device is available for download. Consumer wireless routers, especially older routers, don’t always offer this notification. Check often for firmware updates for your router. There is typically a section in the router’s interface for upgrading the firmware. However, you most likely will have to go the router manufacturer’s website and search for the firmware (most vendors make searching for firmware pretty easy) and then upload it through the router’s interface. The release notes that accompany the firmware release will usually tell you what is being fixed.
Change Router Position
Location! Location! Location! Do you have your wireless router nestled up against the broadband modem, tucked away in the entertainment center in a basement that’s been converted into the family den? Move it, if you have range issues. You don’t have to have the router close to your modem. Ideally, a Wi-Fi router should be in a central location. If you need more flexibility in centrally positioning your router, you can purchase custom-length Ethernet Cat 5 cable from Best Buy, Amazon, or any place that services computers. If you do that, however, this is technically no longer a free option, of course. We recommend that the router be located within 10 feet of the box if possible to lessen interference.
Change Channel on Router
If you have neighbors, their routers may be interfering with yours and causing the signal to degrade. Wireless routers can operate on a number of different channels, and you want yours on a channel with as little interference as possible. Lifehacker suggests tools like Wi-Fi Stumbler or Wi-Fi Analyzer to find the perfect channel in your house. They have more detailed instructions on how to do that here.
Network Powerline Adapter
These devices use your home’s electrical wiring as a wired data network. We have seen many customers have lots of success with these devices, which is why we often recommend them. These are not designed to replace a wireless network, rather they are used to compliment the wireless network that you have. In cases where your Element box is far from your router, these devices can do wonders to increase the signal strength.
The Powerline solution is a ‘no new wires’ approach. You buy a basic kit, which comes with two Powerline adapters and two short Ethernet cables. You connect one of the Ethernet cables to your router and to the first of the adapters. Then you plug it into the nearest power socket. You click the second Ethernet cable into the back of the Element box and into the second adapter. You plug the second adapter into the nearest power socket. It’s as simple as that.
Direct Your Signal
If you need to send a strong Wi-Fi signal in just one direction, you can add a reflector to your antenna.
It sounds crazy, but it really works. If your router has an internal antenna, a sheet of curved aluminum foil set behind the router can work as well.
Click HERE for instructions on how to do this.
There are many factors that affect the strength of your WiFi signal. Even things like microwaves and cordless phones can affect the strength of the signal. It is important to stay on top of these things as you may not be getting the speed for which you pay your Internet provider.
These are only a few ways to strengthen the WiFi signal to your Element box. There are many more ways that we did not mention. If you have a way that has worked for you we would love to hear about it.