Did you know that where you position your router – and what’s around it – can make a big difference to the strength of your network?
Here are 7 quick tips on how to set up and position your home router to make it the most efficient it can be.
1) Put your router near the centre of your home.
A router sends out signals in all directions, so putting it in a corner of your house or apartment – or near a window – means that a significant amount of its signal is wasted.
Your network connection might be in a corner or other tricky spot, but long network cables are fairly affordable these days, so consider investing in one and moving your router to a more central location. It could dramatically improve performance.
2) Lift your router up off the ground.
There are two reasons why it’s not an ideal to have your router directly on the floor.
Firstly, most routers are designed to broadcast signals in a slightly downward direction as they travel from its antenna.
Secondly, the signals can’t easily penetrate some solid materials, such as metal and cement, which might be present in your floors.
I recommend you position your router at least a metre off the ground, perhaps on a table or bookshelf.
This is also why you shouldn’t put it in the basement, especially if you have a multi-story house and a concrete foundation.
3) Try to put your router in a room where you often use the internet.
Regardless of where you put your router, the signal will be strongest in the room it’s in.
Ideally, put your router in a spot that’s relatively near the center of your house and in a room in which you actually use wifi-connected devices.
4) Keep your router out in the open.
Because the router’s signal can be absorbed by many materials, you want to have it out in the open as much as possible.
In other words, don’t hide it away in a closet, or stick it in between a big piece of furniture and a wall.
Radio waves travel best through open air, so sight lines are a good clue here i.e. if you can see the router from far away, and from many different angles, you’re using it efficiently.
5) Keep the router away from other electronics.
All sorts of electronic devices can interfere with your router’s signal, including microwaves, TVs and cordless phones.
Essentially, anything that generates an electromagnetic signal or has a motor is a potential source of interference.
This is why sandwiching your router between home entertainment components, beneath your TV, is not a good idea.
In general, keep it away from other electronics.
6) Position one router antenna vertically, the other horizontally.
Because the router’s signal spreads out in the direction perpendicular to that of its antennas, conventional wisdom holds that vertically-oriented antennas will broadcast the signal horizontally, covering more of your house.
This is true, but it’s also the case that having your device’s antenna (e.g. the antenna built into your PC or phone) aligned in the same direction as your router’s antenna can maximize reception.
Most laptops have horizontally-aligned antennas inside, but a phone or tablet’s antenna might be positioned in a different way depending on how you’re holding it.
Putting one router antenna in a vertical position and the other horizontal can cover all your bases while still spreading the signal as broadly in your house as possible.
7) Measure your signal strength.
I recommended you map out the WiFi signal through your house.
There are a number of apps that you can download to your phone to help you to see where your router signal is weak and to give you some clues on how to better position your router.
Check out Ubiquity’s Wifiman or Amped’s Wi-Fi Analytics, both for Android.
We’d love to hear if any of the above tips improve your home internet / WiFi service. Please come back and let us know!