Boost the Bytes: How to Set Up a Wifi Extender
You're streaming the Stanley Cup Finals and suddenly your neighbors are screaming. You missed out on watching the goal happen live because your WiFi is lagging behind.
While rural Ontario isn't known for its speedy internet, there are ways to avoid spoiling another goal.
If you don't enjoy having your neighbor's fast internet shoved in your face on a daily basis, getting a WiFi extender is the way to go.
Even if you don't see yourself as the techie-type, setting up a WiFi extender is not rocket science. Here is how to set up a WiFi extender in the simplest and most comprehensive of ways.
What's a WiFi Extender?
A WiFi Extender is what you need to give your wireless internet a much-needed boost.
Even if you already have a great internet service, there are some nooks and crannies in your house that are so internet-dead you can put your kids in time-out there for a well-deserved internet break.
But if your goal is to have your house fully internet-covered, getting a WiFi extender will be key.
A WiFi extender (or a wireless range extender, if you're feeling fancy) is stand-alone equipment that grabs existing WiFi signal from your WiFi router and boosts it.
Sounds like a dream, right?
But the trick is correctly placing the extender so that it would effectively re-broadcast the WiFi signal.
WiFi Extender Placement
You better warm up before tackling the WiFi extender placement, because you're going to move around...a lot.
The effectiveness of a WiFi extender relies heavily on its placement. And since strategy is key to correctly place your WiFi extender, we're going to start with a floor plan.
Mark the location of your WiFi router, then assume that this will be the nucleus of the internet. You can note where your AC outlets are, in addition to the internet dead zones in your house.
Try to find an AC outlet somewhere between your WiFi router and your worst dead zone. This is where you want to place your extender.
Of course, this placement depends on whether you live in a one-story home or a multi-tiered one.
If you live in a two-story home, place your extender either close to the ceiling of the first floor or on the actual floor of the second floor.
Think of it as placing the extender in the most central of locations as you can get.
In addition, try to keep it away from home appliances that emit any sort of "waves", that includes microwaves, your TV, and your landline (if you still have one of those).
Those appliances can interfere with your extender (and your actual Wi-Fi router) if they started operating on the same frequency.
Other Things to Look Out For
Sometimes, you will be besieged by random pieces of furniture. You might need to place the extender above a random chair or wedge it in a bookshelf.
And if your extender has antennas, feel free to play around with their direction (or swapping them) for a better signal. Also, you can break out the aluminum foil to make a cheap WiFi reflector.
You also need to look out for walls because they can seriously affect your extender's signal-boosting abilities.
First, try to avoid placing your extender between a wall and your WiFi router. Map a direct line of sight between your extender and router, which will help immensely with the signal's power.
Second, take a closer look at your wall materials. Drywalls are a great choice if you are keeping your internet health in mind.
Walls with insulations, on the other hand, cause a bit of trouble. Walls made of brick, concrete, and steel; aren't signal-friendly either.
How to Setup a WiFi Extender: The Nitty-Gritty Details
After spending so much time trying to find the perfect WiFi extender placement, it is finally time to set it up.
No worries, we're going to take it nice and slow from here.
To power up your extender, plug the power cord into a wall socket and the other end of the cable into the WiFi extender
You are going to need two Ethernet cables for this segment, but it will -most likely- be included with your WiFi extender package.
Connect the first Ethernet cable into the internet port at the back of your extender and the same port located on your router.
Using the second Ethernet cable, plug it into the LAN port (it will be labeled "LAN") on the extender and the other end into a laptop that is already connected to your internet.
3. The Real Sofware Setup
Now that you have all your toys in order, launch your preferred web browser and type the IP address of your extender in the URL field.
You can find your extender's IP address on the bottom of your extender, in its user manual, or -if you're lucky- it might automatically fill in once prompted in the extender's login window.
You'll be asked to fill in some login information, which you should have no trouble finding in the user manual.
Now, this next step can change depending on your WiFi extender's manufacturer. Traditionally, you will find "wireless settings" or a wireless tab in the login window.
If so, feel free to enter your network's wireless name in the "SSID" field. Save -or Apply- your hard work.
Finally, you can unplug the Ethernet cords from the extender and place it where it belongs.
4. Check out your speed
Before vigorously patting yourself on the back for a job well done, go check your internet's speed. It will be a crowning moment to see how well your WiFi extender is working.
Enjoy Your Newly-Revived WiFi
While it has been quite the journey, nothing beats having a strong WiFi signal in the darkest parts of your basement to the smallest nooks in the attic.
Hope you enjoyed learning all about how to set up a WiFi extender. Now that you have such a great internet connection, you should check out how to keep it steady and other delightful tips about making the most out of your electronics.