METHODS COSTING LESS THAN $1
1) Place the Wi-Fi router in a central and elevated location. Radio waves spread best laterally and down. Therefore, the best locations are:
------ a) on an upper floor rather than on a first floor
------ b) on top of furniture like a book case, bureau or .
------ c) if mounting on a wall then at least 7 ft from the floor and minimum of 7 ft away (in all directions) from the electrical conduit/outlet.
2) Do not
place your router on or near:
------ a) walls that are thick like masonry and stone
------ b) a wall that has plumbing pipes or multiple electrical conduits inside it. The wall will most likely have one outlet in order for you to plug the router in. Just make sure you place the place the router a minimum of 7 ft away (in all directions) from the electrical conduit/outlet.
------ c) electrical equipment like baby monitors, cordless phones, microwaves, halogen lamps, televisions, radio's/Hi-Fi systems, etc...
3) If you live in a multi-unit dwelling (aka apartment, condo, etc...) or have multiple routers then:
------ a) access your routers settings through your web browser. Typically http://192.168.1.1
. If neither of these URL's works then search the web for your routers make, model and the phrase "default IP address" to find it. Once you've accessed your routers settings page you can change two things:
------------ i) the channel the router broadcasts its signal on. There are 13 channels Wi-Fi routers use to broadcast their signals and the channels overlap each other by a little bit. The default (and usually best) channels are usually 1, 6 and 11. Therefore, set each router to broadcast on a different channel. BTW, if you are trying to access a Wi-Fi network (public or non-public / free or non-free) on your laptop you might want to change the channel your wireless NIC is using as this can increase your signal strength being recieved by not competeing with the other users trying to access the same Wi-Fi router.
----------- ii) change the transmitting power level. Search for a setting called "Xmit" or "Broadcast Power". Change this setting to 70dB (the default is usually around 25dB). Yes, most routers can go far higher (250+dB). However, in some countries (Britain, Australia, New Zealand, etc..) you need a special license to go over 100dB.
4) Update or replace your routers firmware.
------ a) go to your router mfg's website and check to see if they have an updated version of the firmware that controls your router. If they do simply follow their directions for doing so.
------ b) most router mfg's don't release firmware that allows the owner to fully use all the hardware functionality their router possesses. Therefore, replacing the routers firmware with Linux based Open Source firmware that unlocks all those hidden features can be a very viable solution. Go to OpenWirt Wireless Freedom (http://openwrt.org/
) to learn more about how to do it.
5) Modify your current antennae using materials costing less than a $1
------ a) The Ez-12 Parabolic Reflector Template (http://www.freeantennas.com/projects/template2/
) from Free Antennas is a really cool way to significantly boost your antennae signal strength. There's even a YouTube video about it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sUTT8wdN_VA
------ a) If you've wall mounted your router this YouTube video provides an excellent solution.
------ a) Other options using metal cans or aluminium lined tubes like Pringle's cans, vegetable strainers and steamers, etc.. can be found in various other YouTube video's as well as a couple of the reference links below.
METHODS COSTING MORE THAN $1
a) upgrade your Wi-Fi router to the newest 802.11 standard ( "N" or better). *note that you will also have to purchase newer Wi-Fi NIC's as well in order to take advantage of the newer router.
b) Assuming your Wi-Fi router has removable antennae then perform a web search on your current routers make, model and the phrase "Wi-Fi Antenna". You will find a myriad of DIY and commercial solutions you can replace the current antennae your router has with more sophisticated and longer reaching gear.
c) Other options costing more than $1 using can be found among the reference links below.
REFERENCES FOR EXPLORATION
Hyperlinktech WIFI supplies
DIY-- Wi-FI Antennas
OpenWirt Wireless Freedom
Here's a YouTube video showing how you can use your cell phone to boost your wireless signal: