Improving WiFi Signal

For more information, refer to the steps below.

 

Step 1) Your modem's location

  • The best place for your modem is in a clear, central location in your home. A typical indoor WiFi signal has a range of 30 metres, but this distance can be reduced by obstacles (e.g. walls) between you and your modem.
  • Place your modem on a desk or elevated shelf; WiFi signal travels better "downwards". A modem should never be placed on the floor as the ground causes a lot of signal interference.
  • Keep your modem away from any trees, plants, microwaves, metal objects and also any other devices that broadcast a WiFi signal.

 

Step 2) Switch to 5GHz WiFi

  • 5GHz WiFi is faster and has better performance than 2.4GHz WiFi. If your modem has 5GHz WiFi available, you'll find the default WiFi network name and password printed on its barcode sticker (example below).
  • Devices from 2014 and earlier may not be compatible with 5GHz WiFi. A plug-in USB AC WiFi adapter may be purchased from an electronics store for computers and laptops.
Modem barcode sticker example 5GHz WiFi

 

Step 3) Find the best WiFi channel (2.4GHz WiFi users only)

  • 2.4GHz WiFi has more interference than the newer 5GHz network. Switching to a channel that isn't used as much by other WiFi networks nearby (ideally channels 1, 6 or 11) can improve your WiFi performance.
  • We cover how to change WiFi channels on iiNet modems here. If you have a third party modem, please consult your modem's user manual or check the manufacturer's website for support information.

Windows

  • Open the Command Prompt program by typing “cmd” into your computer’s search bar. It can also be found in Start Menu > All Programs > Accessories.
  • In the black box, type “netsh wlan show all” and then hit the Enter key on your keyboard.  
    Command Prompt detect WiFi channels 1
  • A list of information for each WiFi network (SSID) detected by your computer's WiFi adapter will show up. Scroll through this list and take note of the channel being used by each network.  
    Command Prompt detect WiFi channels 2
  • The best channel for your WiFi is the one not being used by most other WiFi networks around you (e.g. neighbours). For example, if most other WiFi networks are using channel 11, try using channel 1 or 6 in your modem's WiFi settings.

Mac OSX

  • Hold down the Option key on your keyboard and then click the Wireless icon in the top menu bar.
  • You’ll see the WiFi network details for your current WiFi connection in the drop-down menu.  
    Mac OSX WiFi networks
  • To see the WiFi channels being used by other networks around you, hold down the Option key and then hover the cursor over the name of the network in the list. After a few seconds, a text box will appear next to the cursor with the details for that network, including the channel. Do this for for each WiFi network detected by your computer and take note of the channel being used by each network.
  • The best channel for your WiFi is the one not being used by most other WiFi networks around you (e.g. neighbours). For example, if most other WiFi networks are using channel 11, try using channel 1 or 6 in your modem's WiFi settings.

 

Step 4) Consider further hardware options

  • If you have a larger home and WiFi trouble kicks in when you’re far away from the router, you may want to consider getting a WiFi extender. This device will plug into a power outlet and relay your WiFi signal over a longer distance.
  • A serious step up from a simple extender, wireless mesh networking systems have several WiFi devices installed throughout your home, all working for the same WiFi network. These devices capture each other’s WiFi signals and rebroadcast it, creating a “mesh” of WiFi signal without any dead spots.
  • Ethernet cabling just can’t be beat, especially when it comes to very time-sensitive operations such as online gaming. To avoid running long Ethernet cables along floors or under doors, consider contacting an IT specialist or registered cabler to discuss getting Ethernet cabling installed in your home so you can simply plug into Ethernet ports on the wall in the rooms where you have your router, computer, gaming console and/or smart TV.