Yes, your router is in the wrong place. Move it now to speed up your WiFi

This story is part of home tipsCNET’s collection of practical advice for getting the most out of your home, both indoors and out.

As many people continue to work from home, a strong internet connection is critical — we all have an important Zoom meeting when suddenly the Internet connection faults. Despite paying monthly fees to a internet provider and even if you’ve had one router professionally installed, you may still be spending too much time looking at your computer.

The good news is that there is an easy solution to these problems that will only take you a few minutes.

There are many factors that determine internet speeds and while there is a few tricks or guidelines you can follow to improve overall wireless speeds and coverage in your home, one of the most crucial factors is the location of your router. And note, the best place isn’t always where the technician set it up. So keep reading to learn about the best place in your house for your router and other tricks for faster Wi-Fi. You can also check out our picks for the best wifi routersthe best mesh routers and the best wifi extenders

read more Best Wi-Fi Routers for 2022

TP Link router on a blue background

Check out all the different routers available to you: Wi-Fi routers, mesh networks, and more.

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Find the right router for your space

First things first: It all starts with choose the right router or other equipment. Not all routers are created equal and the size and layout of your home will determine what type of wireless network you need.

For most apartments and smaller homes (less than 1,500 square feet), a single wireless access point should be sufficient. That said, if your router is several years old, consider upgrading to a newer model with 802.11ac wireless support and dual-band support. This gives you the fastest possible wireless speeds and the best overall coverage.

For larger, multi-storey houses, it is worth considering the upgrade to a mesh network to provide consistent coverage throughout the home. Once the main access point is installed and you notice that a far corner of your house doesn’t have solid wireless coverage, just add another node to that area. Problem solved.

For more information, see our list of the best mesh routers of the year and if you’re not sure where to start when choosing your next router, check out our router buying guide

Whether you have a single access point or a mesh network, where you place the primary access point still matters.


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Where should you put your router?

When you first move into a new house or apartment, the modem is usually installed along the wall in one of the far corners of the house. This is simply because that’s where the line enters the house and it’s the technician’s job to establish the connection – not to optimize your network. That part is yours.

It’s tempting to just leave everything where the technician set it up. But it is unlikely that this is an optimal location to have your router.

Choose a central location

Routers send the signal in all directions, so if it’s in the corner of your house, a significant percentage of your wireless coverage will be sent out. It is best to move the router to a central location to optimize the signal.

Installing a router throughout the house from the modem can be tricky. You may need to manually run a CAT5 cable under the floor or enlist the help of powerline network adapters. But the improved wireless coverage will be worth it.

Raise the router

Routers tend to spread signals downward, so it’s best to mount the router as high as possible to maximize coverage. Try placing it high on a bookshelf or wall mounting
in an inconspicuous place.

Avoid other electronics

Try to choose a location away from other electronics and large metal objects. The more walls, large obstacles, and electronics near your router, the more likely something is interfering with the signal.

One type of electronic device that you should especially avoid is the microwave, which emits a strong signal in the 2.4 GHz band, the same wireless band in which your router operates.


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Those funny looking antennas really matter

Some routers have no antenna at all, but some have eight. These antennas help to direct the signal. If there are two or more antennas on your router, do not place them all in the same direction.

Instead, make them perpendicular to each other – place one horizontally and the other vertically. Or slightly change the position of all antennas to cover a wide variety of angles.

Try to map the signal

In the worst cases, it can be useful to map the signal in your home to see where there may be gaps or problem areas in your coverage.

If you’re considering upgrading your router, be sure to check out CNET’s Best Routers of 2022

For families with children, make sure: explore your router’s parental controlsat.


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