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5 ways to boost your WiFi signal when working from home

23rd March 2021

man working from home

Due to the unfortunate and unforeseen pandemic, more of us are working from home than ever before. 

Where we may have thought it essential for us to come to the office every day, the world has changed, many employers now see that a remote workforce is more possible than they had initially thought and many employees are finding their feet in the era of remote working.

As a range of business prepare to open their doors again, from hospitality to retail, it seems that the increase in the remote workforce may be with us for a while longer. With companies such as John Lewis and Metro bank adapting a 'flexible' working policy whereby employees can choose to split their time from WFH and the office, this policy for 'blended' work appears to be a popular choice for many employees as well as employers moving forward. 

Whilst many of us have adapted to the new way of working, from setting up a home office, getting into our WFH clothing (a mismatch between smart tops and casual bottoms), and kitting ourselves out with a new desktop, most of this won't allow you to reach your full potential without a solid internet connection.  

If you're finding yourself moving rooms to get a better signal, sitting in the hallway on zoom calls so you don't cut out or generally feeling frustrated with flaky wifi in the office, then this is the article for you!

Here we talk you through how you may be able to improve your WiFi signal without needing to change provider or plan!

1) Where is best to place my router? 

The first reason why you may be suffering from flaky WiFi, is that your router isn't in the optimum location, you may find that simply moving this may be a key to increasing signal strength and speed in your home/office.

The first suggestion to increase the signal in your home office would be to move the router closer to (or into) the home office. Not only will this give off a stronger wireless signal, but you will also be able to plug into the LAN port which is guaranteed to be faster and more reliable. 

If you don't want to move the router closer (or into) your home office as to not weaken the signal elsewhere in the house, then consider the next few points to help determine the optimum location for your router. 

Your router is best placed in a relatively central place, slightly away from any walls and any large electrical or metal items (such as a fridge or microwave!). This is because the WiFi signal can have difficulty penetrating walls, and could be disrupted or absorbed by electrical appliances and large metal surfaces - we recommend a hallway!

By giving your router a bit of extra space in a centralised spot, you may find that you could receive a stronger signal and more coverage in the house. 

laptop and router

2) Use a mesh

If you find yourself moving from spot to spot around the house to try and get a better signal, or you're in the middle of an important update and the signal suddenly drops off, you're probably struggling with dead zones. Luckily we have the perfect solution to this, which is a mesh system.

A mesh can improve reliability and speed consistency thanks to its satellites, which rebroadcast the routers signal at its original strength, giving you not only more reliable signal throughout the property but also consistent connection across the whole house …so you can wave goodbye to the days of hopping from room to room in search of reliable signal as well as having a trade-off of prioritising signal between rooms. You could now have powerful signal in both the home office for zoom calls and the living foom for streaming 4K Netflix films!

Whilst mesh systems have a reputation for being on the expensive side, this isn't actually the case as there are a range of affordable mesh systems on the market.

What are the best mesh systems for working from home?

We are currently loving the HUAWEI MESH WIFI Q2 PRO as it's super affordable, a gorgeous design that you'd be proud to have in your home, has a super easy setup and a bunch of awesome features from PLC turbo technology to 200mbps. 

Huawei mesh system

Another favourite of ours at the moment is the NETGEAR AX1800, also at an affordable price, this WiFi 6 mesh is absolutely awesome and is designed to give you reliable WiFi throughout the entire house in houses up to 3,000 sq. ft. with a 1.8gbps combined speed. You can also easily add extra satellites if needed, which are designed to integrate seamlessly into the system. 

Wifi 6 mesh

However, if you feel that a whole mesh system may be overkill for your needs, then fear not as there are still plenty of options for you, that we will discuss below. 

3) Is it time to upgrade my router? 

Whilst the one you have might have been perfect for your needs when you got it, for example surfing the web on the evenings or browsing through your phone in the morning, it may not be equipped to handle the multitude of devices we have nowadays. From Smart TV's, to phones, tablets, smart doorbells and now an entire working from home setup which could include both your laptop and PC...older routers just aren't designed to handle all of this, so it may be time for you to upgrade your router. 

There are a range of modern routers that are packed with the latest technology and are designed for modern-day internet needs, from dual-band routers to WiFi 6, this is the tech you never knew you needed!  

First of all, dual-band routers are pretty much a must-have, because if one stream is overcrowded, you have the option to connect to the other. Generally, most devices will likely be connected to the 2.4GHz because it offers better range, so if you're close enough to the router we recommend connecting to the 5GHz band. This is because the 5GHz generally has faster speeds, however, if your home office is further away from the router you may want to do the opposite instead and clear some devices from the 2.4GHz to free up extra bandwidth for your WFH setup. 

If you're looking at a new router, we definitely recommend looking for one with WiFi 6, the next standard in wireless technology. WiFi 6 can improve connection when a variety of devices are connected. Many WiFi 5 routers are designed to handle a smaller number of devices so can struggle with the demands of modern-day living, as these days one household can have as many as 10 devices connected to the router! This means your network can slow down overall as it's not designed to communicate with this many devices. WiFi 6 on the other hand allows routers to communicate a multitude of devices at one time, as well as send data to many devices in the same broadcast and it let's WiFi devices schedule check-ins with the router. What does this mean for you? Well, it means faster and more reliable signal even as you add multiple devices! 

What are the best routers for working from home?

For an affordable model, the HUAWEI AX3 QUAD-CORE WIFI 6 PLUS REVOLUTION ROUTER is a brilliant choice. Equipped with WiFi 6, this awesome router has a theoretical speed of up to 3000mpbs, it can handle up to 20 devices with ease on both bands (4 on 2.4GHz and 16 on 5GHz) and it's an absolute steal at the moment as it's on sale for under £50*

For a slightly more premium router, the ASUS RT-AX56U AX1800 is a perfect choice, this dual banded WiFi 6 router gives increased speed, peace of mind with trend micros home security system, reduced latency and it can even extend the battery life of devices up to 7 times! Click the image to find out more.

*A WiFi 6 router will only be able to provide WiFi 6 connection on WiFi 6 devices. However, not only are most WiFi 6 routers backwards compatible so will work with your current devices, most newly released devices are equipped with WiFi 6. So even if you don't currently have a WiFi 6 device, having a WiFi 6 router will really futureproof your purchase, allowing you to enjoy the improved connection when you inevitably upgrade devices!

4)  Use repeaters or extenders to enhance coverage 

If you're happy with your current router and changing its location isn't practical for you, it might be a good idea to use a WiFi extender or repeater which is a brilliant budget-friendly option (extender connects to your router via a cable and repeater is wireless, these are known collectively as WiFiboosters). A WiFi booster connects with your router and broadcasts the signal to where you want it, almost working as a middle man to help extend the signal into dead spots such as your home office.

What are the best WiFi boosters for working from home?

TENDA A15 AC750 - not only is set up super easy, this repeater can expand 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz WiFi networks simultaneously, it can be turned into an AP if connected by an ethernet...and for just £10.99* it's a no brainer really!

If you're looking for faster speeds and longer range, the TP-LINK RE505X AX1500 is an excellent choice. It comes with WiFi 6 technology, has an intelligent signal light to help you determine the best placement for optimal WiFi coverage by indicating the signal strength in the current placement. On top of this, it has a Gigabit-Ethernet Port, dual banding and so much more! Click the image for additional information:

5) Disconnect any devices that don't require WiFi

Our last and final tip requires no extra cost, it's simply to disconnect any devices that don't require WiFi! Even when you may think a device is idle, it can be running things in the background that use WiFi, for example, a smartphone syncing with the cloud or a smart TV syncing background apps. The more devices that are connected to the router, the more bandwidth consumption goes up, leaving less for your WFH device. So in the morning before you start work, it might be a good idea to disconnect any devices that you won't be using for the rest of the day in order to help give your home office devices a little extra piece of the bandwidth pie. 

So there you have it, our top 5 tips for boosting signal in your house that don't require changing broadband connections! We hope you have found this article helpful. If you have, please make sure to check out our Box blog for similar content such as 'How to spring clean your home office' and 'How to add a personalised style to a rented kitchen'.

*Prices were correct and accurate at the time of publishing

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