Why your wireless isn’t working everywhere in your house – and what to do about it


We’ve all experienced the annoyance of being in those bits of our house where the wireless signal from our internet router doesn’t seem to penetrate. While this is a handy tactic for keeping kids from using up a whole month’s internet in three days (“sorry kids, I just can’t get the wireless to work in your bedrooms”), it is frustrating when you find your phone is connecting to the 3G network in certain rooms because it can’t get on the wireless.

So is there anything you can do to get your wireless internet to penetrate through your entire house? There sure is:

1. Figure out what’s blocking the signal

Wireless signals cannot pass through metal or metal mesh. They also struggle to travel long distances so if your house is particularly long and sprawling, and your router is situated at one end of your house, this might be causing dead spots in the opposite end.

2. Move your router

This is always the first option you want to try. If the wireless signal is struggling to get through walls, try moving the router into the roof space temporarily. This may not be a long term fix, but it’s worth doing to confirm if it’s the material in some walls that are causing the problem.

If your house is long and sprawling, simply moving the router to a more central location can fix things.

3. Upgrade the software on your router

If you have an older router, sometimes all it takes to get things working better is to upgrade the router software. Updates can be found on the router manufacturer’s website.

4. Check the channel on your router

Sometimes the channel your router is using overlaps with the channel other routers in your immediate vicinity are using. It’s worth figuring out how to change the channel on your router and see if this fixes the problem – especially if saves you buying a new one!

5. Get a new router

If your router is 3-5 years old, it’s worth trying a new version as router technology has changed a lot in recent years and the most current routers come with stronger antennas built in.

6. Try a repeater or extender

This is a piece of hardware (sometimes also called a wireless range extender) that takes the signal from your existing router and rebroadcasts it to effectively create a second network. For the rooms of your house that cannot access the primary signal, a repeater allows for connection to that second network.

7. Try an external antenna for your device

This is probably only practical for laptop computers. External antennas can be attached to your laptop and then, via the long cord most come with, the antenna can be moved to the bit of the room where the wireless signal is strongest.

8. Consider a fully wired network for your house

When all else fails and you can’t surmount the dead spots in your house … and it’s really affecting your ability to use your devices as you’d like, there is the option to get your house hard wired.