Scientific American presents Tech Talker by Quick & Dirty Tips. Scientific American and Quick & Dirty Tips are both Macmillan companies.

In Part 1 of this series, we talked about some free and easy ways that you can boost the WiFi signal in your home.

In this episode, I will be covering some more advanced ways you can boost your WiFi if the tips I mentioned in Part 1 didn’t do the trick.

Change the Channel
As I mentioned before,  WiFi uses radio waves to communicate. These radio waves use 2.4ghz or 5ghz and from there the router breaks up this signal into 14 different channels, much like walkie talkies. If you’ve ever tried to share a walkie talkie channel with someone else, you know how annoying it is! You’re not sure who is talking to whom, or what the conversation is actually about.

This is the same thing with routers. If you are in a neighborhood or apartment complex that has a lot of wireless connections, I would suggest digging into the options of the router and trying some different channels out to see if it helps improve your signal. Depending on which router you have, this can be done in a variety of ways. So Google your model number or referring to your owner’s manual for instructions.

New Firmware
The next and probably best option I’ve discovered for optimizing your router is a new type of firmware. I talked about updating your firmware in Part 1 of this series, but in some cases however there are other types of firmware you can download to your router that can unlock its potential.

If you’re scratching your head about this, let me explain it this way. Pretend you had a blender with one speed, this is similar to your off-the-shelf router. Installing a custom firmware would be like giving your blender speed controls for purée, milkshake, consommé, and a ton of other features.

Continue reading on