It’s happened to all of us. You’re watching a video and it suddenly cuts out in the middle. Or, worse yet, you receive a text and can’t send a reply.
These minor inconveniences are likely caused by weak or slow WiFi, and though they seem small, can cause huge interruptions in our lives. We might be expecting this sort of service in a public WiFi setting, but not at home.
Dropped or slow internet connections are frustrating and more common than you might think. Fortunately, solutions exist. While there often seems to be no reason behind Wi-Fi connections that randomly drop or weaken, there are actually several common scenarios that can cause this.
Before determining what to do about an Internet connection that keeps dropping, you need to understand what might be causing it because it can greatly impact your choice of solution. The reasons for a poor WiFi signal will vary. A device may be old, or the router’s settings and placement may be skewed. Sometimes too many devices might be connected at the same time. Often, people may ignore a slow WiFi connection because they think it is an expensive issue to fix, but there are many ways to do this affordably.
So how do you improve a WiFi signal? Continue reading to learn about some of the easiest and most inexpensive ways you can improve your wireless router’s signal. We are going to cover many of your burning questions related to this issue, including:
- What causes loss of WiFi signal?
- How to boost your WiFi signal for free?
- Why do your devices keep disconnecting from WiFi?
- How to fix a WiFi connection that keeps dropping?
What Causes Loss of Wifi Signal
In order to improve your WiFi strength, we first need to understand what could be causing the loss of your WiFi signal. There are many common issues, but to best diagnose, it’s important to understand how a WiFi signal works.
Routers carry a WiFi signal, which is a radio frequency used to send signals between devices. These radio frequencies are different from the signals emanating from other devices like walkie talkies, car radios or cell phones. WiFi signals are 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz, which are the units of frequency used to send data. 2.4Ghz generally has a greater range, while 5Ghz is usually stronger within a smaller area. Some may experience interruptions to their WiFi signal while using a microwave, as they have a very similar frequency.
The loss of a WiFi signal doesn’t have to be complicated. It could be that you are just too far away from the router. By moving closer you can strengthen the connection.
In a scenario where you’re near the router and still getting a weak signal, it may mean that too many people are using the network, which causes slowdown. You have no control over a public network, but at home, you can check to see what other devices are connected and using the available bandwidth.
Another reason for the loss of WiFi signal may be that your router is not in an ideal connection spot. If it is stuck in a corner of the basement or behind too many walls, it may impede your connection, especially if it is an older device. Moving the router to a more central area, free from obstructions, could help improve connection. It is important to note that different frequencies operate differently. A 5Ghz connection is stronger near the router, but doesn’t stretch as far as 2.4Ghz.
You pay your internet service provider (ISP) for a certain level of Internet speed. If your speeds are still slow after testing, there could be a problem with either your modem or router. Outdated hardware simply may not be able to handle the faster speeds.
It’s also important to check your computer drivers when working to improve WiFi speed. The driver may need an upgrade for better connectivity or its settings may not match that of the router (which come as either Wireless-N or Wireless-G). You can look into these updates by checking the manufacturers’ websites.
We have now gone through many of the possible reasons for losing your WiFi signal. Understanding which of these is contributing to your connectivity issues will help find the best solution for increasing your WiFi strength.
Next we’ll cover how to boost your WiFi signal without spending tons of money.
How Can I Boost My WiFi Signal for Free?
There are numerous ways to boost the WiFi signal from your router without spending tons of money for high speed connection or greater bandwidth!
If you live in a busy area you’ll likely see multiple networks listed on your WiFi settings tab in addition to your own. All of these other networks are competing for space with your own network and can greatly slow down your WiFi’s effectiveness. By adjusting your WiFi router settings, you may be able to improve your signal by moving to a different channel. New routers have a built-in touchscreen that makes it much easier to change channels (as compared to older routers).
If your WiFi is connected through a telephone cable, moving it may be impractical. If you can’t move it, try to keep the area clear of clutter and keep the router off of the floor in order to boost the signal. You can also try changing the direction of the antenna to help increase signals in a poor area.
If none of these methods are working, you can download an app that will test the signal strength of your WiFi in different areas of your house. This can help you map out problem areas and decide how to best address them.
If your WiFi connection is poor in specific rooms, then one of the best, most affordable options is a WiFi Booster (aka a WiFi Range Extender). It helps extend the range of your WiFi signal to these problem areas (like that one frustrating dead zone outside of your bathroom where FaceTime constantly cuts out).
These WiFi Boosters work by receiving the wireless signals from your router and repeating them with powerful amplifiers and antennas, thereby extending your coverage. They are easy to install so there’s no need for tech geniuses or other expert installers. For optimal performance, the WiFi speed of your new extender should match your existing router’s WiFi.
These devices are great as they are affordable and you can use multiple if you find you're struggling with weak WiFi signal in different corners of your house. Not all WiFi boosters are the same, so you should take care to research the benefits of each and match the one that best fits your issue. One of the best on the market right now, SuperBoost WiFi, extends WiFi up to a range of 100m and works with WiFi speeds of up to 330 Mbps.
With these different methods, poor WiFi connection can be a thing of the past! Don’t pay any more money than you already are.
Why Do My Devices Keep Disconnecting From WiFi?
We’ve discussed many of the issues that could be causing loss of WiFi signal, but what is happening if it is your device that keeps disconnecting rather than your WiFi dropping? Continue reading below for some of the most common reasons for this and ways to fix the issue.
One of the most common causes of this is that your device lacks bandwidth. This means that videos won’t play, websites won’t load and eventually, the device may start disconnecting and reconnecting to the WiFi network as it tries to hold onto enough bandwidth to keep functioning online. Whether it happens on your smartphone, tablet or computer, you’ve most probably encountered this issue at some point. It’s frustrating. The problem is that until other devices are off the network or the capacity increases, it will continue to behave this way.
One way to tell if your device or router is the issue is to test another computer, tablet or smartphone on the same network. If another device is working, there are websites and apps that you can use to test the strength of your WiFi and make sure that it is not having connectivity issues. If other devices are having the same issue then it is likely a problem with your modem or router.
Outdated operating systems or network drivers may cause a fluctuating WiFi connection. Making sure your device is up to date could help to stabilize and secure your connection. The same thing can happen if you keep your devices up to date and not your router. If your router is older then it can cause issues if it is running slower than your devices.
Another common reason for WiFi disconnection is that there may be too many devices on the network at once. If they’re using the signal heavily, this may cause the router to overload and start dropping connections. This most often happens with large downloads, gaming or even too much video streaming at one time. It may temporarily fail and drop devices from the network in order to get back to where it can function properly. It is important to take a look at what type of router you have and make sure that it fits your online needs.
Often this problem can be solved with minor fixes so make sure you try everything suggested on this list before paying for a more expensive solution.
How Do I Fix My WiFi Connection That Keeps Dropping?
Sometimes you might encounter the issue of your WiFi connection randomly dropping that has nothing to do with the device itself. If this is the case, there are a number of factors that could be causing you to lose that WiFi connection.
First, make sure that you are near your wireless access point. Your WiFi will only reach so far, so if you are trying to connect on the outer edge of that range, you will probably notice your WiFi dropping as it struggles to stay connected. If this is an area that you would like better connection in then you need to take a look at some of the suggestions offered above, including moving your wireless router or looking into getting a WiFi booster.
If you have eliminated other possible causes and believe it is the cable modem that is having trouble maintaining a steady connection, restarting it may help to resolve the issue. Give the modem a few minutes to restart and reconnect. Once this is done, try reconnecting your device and see if that connection will remain established.
This can also be done with your router, either at the same time as the above step or after you have established whether it was a problem with the modem or not. Just as above, make sure that you give it a few minutes to restart and re-establish a connection.
If none of these solutions solve the problem, try wiping your device and reinstalling the operating system. This will help to eliminate any issues with old software or possible viruses that could be interrupting the connection. You could also check with your ISP to see if there are any interruptions with coverage or cables in your area. The company may be doing upgrades that could interrupt this, or may offer other possible suggestions for fixes, or look into whether something with their system is causing issues.
We have now covered a wide variety of Internet connectivity issues and possible fixes for these problems, as well as ways to boost your coverage without it adding to your already high WiFi costs. All of these solutions are simple and easy to do by yourself.. While inconsistent Internet can be super frustrating, this doesn’t need to be something you need to deal with any longer. You can have fast, strong WiFi without paying your ISP a cent more!