How to achieve the best possible home Wi-Fi experience

From location to security, here are some ideas on how to optimize your Wi-Fi

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Like turning on the lights or running a faucet, Wi-Fi has evolved to the point where we simply expect it to work when we need it. And it usually does. But like any home technology, Wi-Fi isn’t infallible. From Wi-Fi dead spots in distant corners of your home to your next-door neighbours “borrowing” your bandwidth by jumping on an unsecured network (or figuring out your password because you set it to “password”) there are plenty of ways Wi-Fi can go wrong.

The good news is that just a little effort and some precautionary measures are enough to stop most Wi-Fi problems before they begin. Here are some tips on how to ensure you and your family enjoy the best possible Wi-Fi experience.

Place your router strategically

The more objects in the path of the signal, the more likely it’ll be disrupted. Depending on the materials, this can apply to furniture and walls between a router and connected devices. Even mirrors – which have a metallic coating under the glass that reflects radio waves – can interfere with signal reception. Your best bet is to place your router someplace high, such as on top of a cabinet on the middle or upper floor of your home, so the signal can stream clearly over any potentially problematic obstacles. Also remember to keep your router well away from microwaves and cordless phones to minimize interference.

Consider a wireless bridge

Many new houses today are so big they’re more like mini-mansions than a traditional single-family home. In these giant houses, you may encounter low signal spots no matter how cleverly you place your router. A potential fix for this problem is to pick up a wireless repeater or range extender. These affordable devices act as a relay, or repeater, for your existing signal. Set one up halfway between your router and the area of poor reception for an instant boost.

Don’t get lazy with security

All of those unsecured networks you see when searching for hotspots? They’re prime targets for unscrupulous neighbours to leech signals and gum up the works for network owners. Step one in avoiding this is simply ensuring all of your networks – including the one you reserve for guests – have a password. And when you’re asked whether to use WEP or WPA/WPA2, choose the latter. It’s much harder for hackers to crack. To be extra safe, head into your router’s admin settings and switch off Enable SSID Broadcast. This will hide your network from showing up when random users are browsing for local signals.

Get down and dirty with your router settings

Most people are (understandably) too timid to venture beyond the password page within their router’s admin tools. But bolder users can optimize their networks by altering just a few key settings. For example, you can avoid bandwidth clogs and limit the number of devices that can access your router by creating a control list of MAC addresses. You can also switch wireless channels to make sure you aren’t using the same ones as your neighbours, easing interference. With some routers, even just upgrading your firmware can result in boosts to speed and reliability. Non-network whizzes will probably want to look up instructions specific to their routers that explain how to do all of these things, but you might be surprised how easy it is – and you can also find additional help on the Rogers Community Forums.

The Rogers IgniteTM Gigabit Wi-Fi Modem helps ensure strong signals throughout your home. Visit rogers.com to learn more.

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