WIFI – How to Get a Rock-Solid Internet Connection
As a computer tech with over 35 years in the business, I’ve seen a lot of Internet connection problems. That’s especially true with WIFI.
The most common problem is in establishing a ‘good’ connection between the remote computer and the wireless router. Many people don’t realize that just because you’re receiving a signal from your wireless router, (AP) you still may not be able to log onto the Internet. Here’s the problem.
A weak or noisy internet connection is usually caused by lost or scrambled data packets. These damaged packets are constantly being ‘re-sent’ between the router and the receiving computer. This will slow down your connection considerably and could even keep you from getting on the Internet at all.
There are several ways you can improve these weak WIFI signals. The easiest is to move the wireless router. If possible, try to locate your router near the center of the building. I’ve picked up WIFI signals from as far away as 1,000 feet when there were no obstacles blocking the transmission. On the other hand, I’ve also had a hard time just getting the signal to go from one end of a house to the other. This can be especially true if the router is located on a different floor than the receiving computer. The more walls and floors the signal passes through, the weaker it gets.
If you can’t locate the router near the center of the building, there are several other things you can do. First, try moving the receiving computer to a different location. Even turning it in a different direction may help. Laptops often have the WIFI antenna built into the monitor so just turning the laptop slightly might be all you’ll need to do to improve the reception.
In general, I’ve found that USB Internet adapters work much better than laptop internal receivers. The reason is…these external adapters come with a three to five foot cord allowing the adapter to be placed high in the air and away from obstacles that might be blocking the WIFI signal. Unfortunately, this means dragging around an extra device which is not what I really want to do. Luckily, in most cases your internal WIFI device will get the job done just fine.
If you need to reach out to an AP that’s hundreds or even thousands of feet away, you’ll need to investigate adding a high-gain antenna and a USB Internet adapter. This is actually old technology. Ham radio buffs have been building hi-gain antennas for decades allowing them to receive signals from around the world. There are various antenna designs available that practically anyone can build. For a few dollars, you can boost your range considerably.
The world record for a WIFI connection using ‘only’ a hi-gain antenna is 238 miles! You’re probably not planning on challenging any records, but it’s pretty common to see people connecting to wireless routers up to a mile or more away, just by using DIY antennas.
If you’re not satisfied with your wireless Internet connection, try some of the things I’ve mentioned. They should help. If you’re still having problems then I’d look into building your own hi-gain WIFI antenna. It will provide the ultimate wireless performance. You’ll find instructions in a book called, “FREE Internet” available on Amazon.com.