30% of Australians have Wi-Fi black spots - Here's how to fix them
By Alex Choros
Figures released by Telstra have revealed that 2 out of 3 of Australians are now using home wireless networks, but about 30% suffer from Wi-Fi black spots. A Wi-Fi black spot is an area in your house or apartment where you get poor internet speeds or where the wireless signal doesn't reach at all. The most common causes are thick walls, interference from home appliances and long distances. Here are a few ways to fix your Wi-Fi black spots.
Wireless Range Extenders
Wireless Range Extenders take an existing wireless signal from your home network, and rebroadcast it creating a second network. While these are simple products to setup and use, there are a few things to consider before purchasing one.
The majority of Wireless Range Extenders will create a second network with a new name; for example, CyberShack WiFi, and CyberShack WiFi Extended. As such, users need to manually swap between the two networks as they move around their house. If this seems like too much of a hassle, the Belkin N600 Plugin Dual-Band Wi-Fi Range Extender supports "Single SSID Technology". This allows users to extend their wireless without create a second separate network.
Alternatively, the Netgear AC750 Wi-Fi Range Extender helps you find the ideal position for it. After all, there's no point in having a Wi-Fi Range Extender if it doesn't have a strong enough signal for it to repeat. The way this feature works is via two arrows that tell you to either place the extender close to your router, or your device closer to your extender.
If you have a lot of devices connected to your wireless in one spot, the Netgear AC1200 Wi-Fi Range Extender could be your best bet. Aside from extending your wireless, it also have five Ethernet ports. This means you could plug your TV, PlayStation, and Set-Top Box straight in the Extender, reducing Wi-Fi congestion.
Upgrade your modem or router
If you’ve had your modem or router for over five years, chances are it's not up to date with the latest technology. We've seen wireless standards constantly improve over the last few years, delivering better range and performance.
Personally, we're convinced the Linkysis WRT1900AC could be the one router to rule them all. Thanks to its four antennas, it could potentially end your Wi-Fi woes for good. If you need a modem router instead, the D-Link AC1750 is also a beastly machine we think highly of.
Change your wireless channel
If you live in an apartment, it's likely you're surrounded by countless wireless networks. Interference from other networks can reduce the operating potential of your own. It's possible to mitigate some of this interference by changing the channel your wireless operates on. Wireless channel is a setting most commonly found under the wireless options on your modem or router. By default, most wireless routers are set to channel 6, so we recommend changing your channel to either 1 or to 11. Alternatively, with the Netgear Wi-Fi Analytics app for Android, you can find out what channels your neighbours are using, and pick a different one. Warning: while it is possible to change your Wi-Fi to a channel higher than 11, many devices won't operate on these channels.
Access Point + Ethernet
Some black spots are unfortunately unsolvable with the above methods. The wall of appliances that makes up my kitchen completely decimates any wireless signal, no matter how strong. In such scenarios, the best option is to get a LONG Ethernet cable running from your modem or router to an access point placed past the problem area. The D-Link Wireless N150 is a good value access point that fits this bill.