We have all been there; watching our favourite show on Netflix or that hilarious clip on Youtube only for your enjoyment (much like the video) to come to an abrupt halt. Why did it happen? You check the connection – it’s working; you check the speed (speedtest.net is a good site for this)- all is good. But have you checked the wifi router itself?
One of the pitfalls that many users overlook is the positioning of the router. It’s important to remember that wifi waves are about 12cm long and that the signal gets progressively weaker as you travel further from the router. This signal is limited to 150ft so if your router is placed in the attic and you’re online in the living room it has to travel through concrete walls and metal surfaces which can absorb and block the signal. As a result, the signal and therefore your speeds can be drastically weakened.
It is best to position your router out in the open in the centre of your house and not locked away in cupboards and presses. It is also important to remember to keep it away from all other electronic devices. Microwaves and baby monitors run off the same frequency as your wifi connection so while they are in operation they can have a direct impact on your signal.
There are many apps out there that are very good at determining signal strength. I have included three of the most popular signal strength apps below because, you know, I’m nice like that!
NetSpot is a software tool for wireless network assessment, scanning, and surveys, analysing Wi-Fi coverage and performance. It runs on Mac OS X 10.6+ and Windows 7-8-10 and supports 802.11n, 802.11a, 802.11b, and 802.11g wireless networks. NetSpot uses the standard Wi-Fi network adapter and its Airport interface to map radio signal strength and other wireless network parameters, and build reports on that.
Wi-fi Sweetspots is an iOS specific app that allows you to check how Wi-Fi connection speed fluctuates over time, and allows you to locate the fastest and slowest Wi-Fi spots in your room! It allows you to locate the optimum spot for your wireless router to ensure the fastest speeds.
Wifi Analyzer is an Android only app that allows your phone to determine the channel which is least crowded and as a result will allow your device to run at the fastest speed.
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