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How do I get the best Wi-Fi signal?

Written by KCOM Support on 22/03/2022. Posted in Broadband.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how to get the best Wi-Fi signal in your property, so we've put together this article.

  1. Introduction to Wi-Fi
  2. Where shall I put my router?
  3. My Wi-Fi isn't working - what can I do?
  4. Wireless powerlines, boosters and extenders

Introduction to Wi-Fi

Wi-Fi is a radio signal that allows you to connect your internet device to your KCOM router without wires. Most modern internet devices connect to your router using this radio signal and it's a far more convenient, practical and tidy way to use the internet than by using traditional wires (Ethernet cables).

As with radio signals, the further away you are from the source, or transmitter, the less powerful or clear the signal and greater chance of interference occurring.

 

Did you know?

Just like any radio signal, Wi-Fi operates on different frequencies. When you try to connect your device to your KCOM router, you'll have the option of two frequencies: a '5GHz' (5G) and '2.4GHz' (2.4G).

5GHz uses tightly bunched wavelengths that are powerful but may not travel far, depending on what's in their way.

5 GHz

2.4GHz uses long shallow wavelengths that can travel further - that's why the 2.4GHz network may be available in your garden, or further away from the router, and the 5GHz isn't.

2.4 GHz

Where shall I put my router?

The speeds you experience over Wi-Fi will depend partly on where you put your router.

We'll do our best to help you position your router in the best location; however, as everyone's house is different, it's up to you to make sure your in-home setup is at its best.

Here's an example of a typical setup

Poor Setup

Where you place your router in relation to where you most use the internet is important

  • We recommend placing your router in a central location in the house, plugged into your main broadband socket. This would be your ONT (Optical Network Terminal) if you're on Lightstream, otherwise it will be your main telephone socket.

    Good Setup
     
  • Although we recommend fitting the router centrally, it's sometimes best to place the router nearest to where you're likely to use it most. If your needs change and you need to move your router to somewhere more appropriate, please give our team a call on 01482 602555.
     
  • Keep your router off the floor, well-ventilated on a solid surface, in the open and ideally away from other electrical appliances
    Off The Floor
  • If required, make sure your microfilters are fitted correctly - refer to the guide provided with the router for details. Not all Lightstream connections require microfilters - check the guide with your router.
    Microfilter
 

Did you know?

It's best to leave your router switched on all the time. This means less disruption to your service and keeps your devices connected.

My Wi-Fi isn't working - what can I do?

Just like when you listen to your favourite radio station, interference can disrupt the signal between the source it's transmitted from (in this case, your KCOM router) and your device. Although the standard KCOM router provides one of the strongest available Wi-Fi signals, interference can come from the following:

Wi-Fi Problems

You can reduce interference in a few ways:

  • Router position: making sure your router is closer to your device and away from the culprits mentioned above will help
     
  • Making sure you're on the right channel (see here for guides on changing your channel)
 

Did you know?

Your router works on a number of Wi-Fi channels.

If your neighbour's Wi-Fi is operating on the same or a nearby channel, the interference from their Wi-Fi may be affecting yours. Changing your Wi-Fi channel may reduce interference to your signal - we have a guide for this here.

Wireless powerlines, boosters and extenders

Another option to help you get the best Wi-Fi signal in your property is to look at wireless powerline adapters or extenders.

What's powerline?

Powerline adapters turn the mains power in your house into a really fast network. Imagine it turning your electrical cables into one long Ethernet cable; it allows you to plug your devices into a Powerline adapter, as if you're plugging directly into the router.

To use powerline, you need a minimum of two powerline adapters.

A wireless powerline adapter does the same as a regular powerline, but it has the ability to broadcast its own wireless signal (a wireless hotspot). This is great if you're struggling to broadcast your Wi-Fi signal around your house from your router.

A good example is in a property where you might only be able to connect to your Wi-Fi when you're downstairs. You could buy a Wi-Fi enabled Powerline adapter and plug it in upstairs allowing you to connect to Wi-Fi where ever you are in your home.

TP Link Powerline Adaptor

What's a wireless extender?

wireless extender works differently to a wireless powerline adapter. Rather than create its own signal/access point for your devices to connect to, it connects to your existing Wi-Fi signal and then re-broadcasts it to extend its range.

The downside to extenders is when your Wi-Fi quality isn't very good. A wireless extender will simply extend your poor signal and it won't improve the quality of your wireless connection. For this reason, a wireless powerline adapter is better as it provides its own signal.

Wi-Fi Booster


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