There’s nothing more frustrating than a broadband connection that continually drops in and out – but users may be adding to the problem without realising it.
A duff or old router can cause issues, of course. It’s always wise to take a look at the router and check what lights are displaying. Green lights tend to be a good sign. No lights may indicate no power, whilst red and amber lights are usually not so good. Check the instructions for your specific router to be sure.
But that’s not all you need to be aware of. In addition to that, how you treat our router – and where you place it – can significantly affect the reliability of your internet connection.
You should not:
- locate your router near metal objects such as the TV or in the kitchen
The kitchen is a poor place to keep a router as large metal surfaces, like the fridge, affect the signal, potentially absorbing and disrupting it.
Microwaves may also interfere with the signal.
Likewise, TVs will tend to reflect and scatter the signal.
Fish tanks are also not a friend of routers as water absorbs some of the signal.
- position your router near other electrical items
Cordless phones, baby monitors, speakers and radios can all interfere with a router’s signal.
- Put your router near an open door
Wifi signals will struggle to travel through thick walls, especially those made of stone or brick.
Putting the router close to an internal door that is often open will help the signal reach out across the house.
- Place your router centrally in the house
Broadband routers transmit in all directions – up, down and side to side, so placing it as centrally as possible in the house will help to stretch the signal to all corners.
If you only ever need wifi in a specific room, or if it is most important to you that the signal is strong and reliable in a specific room, placing the router there will help.
If you live in a three storey home, putting the router on the middle floor will help stretch the signal to the top and bottom floors.
- ensure your router is visible
Hiding the router away behind a cupboard door or indeed behind any object, such as the sofa, will impair the signal.
The more unimpeded access the signals have to spread around your home, the more reliable routers will be. If you can see it, it’s more likely to do a good job.
But avoid window sills. The proximity to the window could scramble your signal as it reflects off the glass, you’ll potentially lose some of your signal outside and, if visible from outside via a downstairs window and displayed on the router, your wifi code could also be compromised.
Placing a router on the floor is also not wise as some of the signal will travel downwards and be lost.
- experiment with different homes for your router
Trying a few different locations around the home for your router may lead you to find the sweet spot where signal reliability is at its best.
If you change the location that you are most reliant on your router – such as moving your home office to a different room – you may wish to move the router too.
Other things to be aware of in terms of router performance
A lot of people in a room may lead to reduced wifi signal as bodies tend to absorb signals.
Bad weather will also likely have an impact – and there’s not a lot you can do about that.
If you have a persistent problem, contact your broadband provider who should be able to help.
You could also consider requesting a new router (especially if yours is more than a couple of years old),trying a reboot of your router or looking into a wifi extender to boost signal around your home.