IMAGINE booking a much-coveted ‘seat sale’ flight online for you and your friends. You walk over to the kitchen to grab a snack while waiting for the booking confirmation page to load. All of a sudden, the connection lags and then you are disconnected. You’ve just entered a WiFi dead spot.
A WiFi dead spot, also sometimes called a dead zone, is quite simply, an area within your house wherein the WiFi does not work. Anyone who has ever experienced it knows how extremely frustrating and disruptive it can be, especially if your lifestyle or job is internet-dependent.
Why causes WiFi dead spots?
WiFi connections work by transmitting radio waves that can be picked up by any device with the right reliever technology. If these waves are interrupted, obstructed or altered, the result is poor network performance or worst, a completely dead spot.
Radio waves can be hampered by thick walls, doors, large metal objects and signal interference-producing devices and appliances like microwave ovens, wireless security and sound systems and baby monitors, among others. If you live in an area with a dense wireless network (e.g. a residential building where every unit has a wireless connection), signal strength will be diminished, possibly creating dead zones.
When it comes to the reliability and consistency of your WiFi connection at home, it’s not just the signal strength and the speed that matters. Here are some tips to help you get out of that dead spot:
• Assess the problem areas. You can use an application like WiFi Analyzer (available on Google Play Store) to assess the strength of your network and the frequency of the surrounding networks. Once you have the application on your mobile device, you can go around your house to see where the signal fluctuates.
• Maximize signal strength. Remember: The farther you are from the router, the weaker the signal becomes. Reposition your router to make sure it is in a central spot in the house. The antenna should be up and pointing vertically.
Remove obstructions by rearranging furniture and appliances that block radio waves.
• Upgrade your router. Part of maximizing your signal strength is ensuring that your firmware or driver software is updated for optimal performance.
• Set up a wireless repeater. As the name implies, a wireless repeater can extend your WiFi coverage to a larger area. This is ideal especially if you have a large or multi-level house.
• Migrate your connection. If possible, look for a less crowded channel so you don’t have to share your bandwidth allocation with multiple users.
• Ask your service provider. Your service provider knows best how to help you maximize your WiFi connection. You can ask about a customized plan to amplify your connection based on the unique structure of your home and your online habits.
Even with the rapid pace of today’s internet and mobile technology, WiFi dead spots are still unavoidable because of structural and network factors that are sometimes beyond our control.
Although there are ways to manage dead spots at home, the jury is still out on a holistic and reliable solution that can address WiFi issues for the entire home. Hopefully, the same technology that allows us to enjoy meaningful digital connections at home can also empower us to overcome pesky WiFi dead spots.
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