Remote Wireless Infrastructure

Below are different techniques by which you can improve your Wi-Fi signal coverage and/or Wi-Fi speeds along with the relative cost and difficulty of implementing each solution as well as the likely effectiveness of the particular solution. Please contact a RFWEL Signal Improvement specialist for a free consultation discussing how you can improve your particular Wi-Fi network.

Summary of Wi-Fi Coverage Enhancement Options

Ways to improve your Wi-Fi Signal

Difficulty Cost Effectiveness Notes
1. Upgrade your Wi-Fi devices Low $$$$ High Easy and effective if you have on older router more
2. Add Wi-Fi access points in areas of poor coverage Moderate $$$ High Effective but more complex than upgrading router more
3. Reposition your Wi-Fi router (or antenna(s)) Low - Moderate Easy and cost-free so try this first if possible more
4. Replace existing Wi-Fi antenna(s) Low $ Moderate Easy and cheap but benefit depends on extent of coverage problem more
5. Add external Wi-Fi antenna(s) Low $$ High Best option more
6. Add a Wi-Fi amplifier with external antenna Moderate $$$ High Use when relocate antenna far from the Wi-Fi device more
7. Reconfigure your existing Wi-Fi router High - Moderate Cost-free but the most difficult more
8. Add a broadband-over-powerline adapter Low $$ Low Uses building's electric wiring to route LAN signals more
9. Add a Wi-Fi repeater/ range extender/ signal booster Moderate $$ Low We do not typically recommend this option more


Compare Wi-Fi Channels and Devices

Compare Wi-Fi Antennas


1. Upgrading your existing router and/or network adapters

This is an easy and very effective solution if you have on older router. Newer routers using the latest WiFi technology (e.g., 802.11ac) provide much larger coverage or much higher speeds (e.g., 802.11ad). The cost is variable based on the choice of router (and the features the router includes). Also remember that if you upgrade your router to newer technology, you may need to also update the Wi-Fi adapters in older laptops and desktops to take advantage of the features of the newer router learn more


2. Adding Wi-Fi Access Point(s) in poor coverage zones

This is slightly more difficult than simply replacing the primary router because of configuration required to create additional wireless networks routed through the primary network. It is cheaper than upgrading the primary router because the wireless access points do not need to have all the bells and whistles of the primary router.


3. Repositioning your Wi-Fi router

Sometimes all it takes is to relocate your Wi-Fi router to obtain better coverage. For example, remote the router from an equipment closet or next to another 2.4 GHz radiator. You may also change the orientation of the antennas (particularly for newer Wi-Fi technologies). Unfornately it is often not possible to relocate your router to the room that has coverage problems, for example, because need to have the router close to the connection hub (particularly where the router also needs to serve LAN devices in addition to Wi-Fi connected devices). If it is not possible to relocate your router, consider adding an external antenna as discussed in option#5 below.


4. Replacing existing Wi-Fi antenna(s)

In some cases, you can replace the existing Wi-Fi antenna for a higher gain (or higher performance) Wi-Fi antenna. This is a simple solution often requiring just screwing off the existing antenna and screwing on the new higher performance antenna. For example, you could replace a 4 dBi antenna with a 9 dBi antenna (recall dB is a logarithmic scale so 5 dB is a big difference). However, this may not always be possible (please consult the router specification on what antenna gain is allowed to comply with FCC and device requirements) and the effectiveness may be limited depending on how bad the signal coverage issue is.


Search Wi-Fi replacment antennas for specific Wi-Fi devices in our Wireless Device Database


5. Adding external Wi-Fi antenna(s)

This is a very attractive option as it is both low cost and highly effective. The idea here is to replace the existing external detachable antenna (or override the internal antenna) with a Wi-Fi antenna that can be placed away from the router or access point. An appropriate pigtail hooks up the Wi-Fi device to a low-loss cable attached to a wall-mounted, ceiling-mounted, or table-top antenna. Different types of antennas may be selected with variable gain based on extent of coverage problem (and length of cable run required). For example, you can pick a highly directional antenna to focus the signal to a device in a particular direction (which also avoids interference from devices in other directions also operating on the same unlicensed frequency band).


Search external Wi-Fi antennas compatible with your Wi-Fi device in our Wireless Device Database


6. Add Wi-Fi amplifier in addition to external Wi-Fi antenna

Sometimes the cable run from the Wi-Fi device (router, accesspoint) is too far resulting in severe signal attenuation. In these cases it may be necessary to add Wi-Fi RF bidirectional amplifiers (not to be confused with signal extenders or repeaters) learn more


7. Ronfigure your existing WiFi device

Sometimes you can fix your coverage problem simply by reconfiguring the settings of your Wi-Fi router or access point. For example, changing the frequency channel (or setting it up for automatic channel selection), changing the frequency band (e.g., from using 2.4 GHz to using 5 GHz), or changing the transmitter power (particularly where there are multiple access points) is all you need. You could also setup quality of service (QOS) to provide certain devices preferential treatment or configure custom firmware with improved performance. Remember also to configure adequate security to avoid your router being shared by other unauthorized users. Although this is a cost-free option, it is the most difficult as it generally requires advanced knowledge of WLAN networking. Changing configurations settings without knowing what you are doing could aggravate the coverage issues.



8. Adding a broaband over powerline adapter

If you cannot relocate your Wi-Fi router as suggested in option #3 above, you could attach a broadband-over-powerline (BPL) device to run the LAN network through the powerline. This option is often not ideal.



9. Adding a Wi-Fi range extender

You could also attach a Wi-Fi range extender (also called a repeater or signal booster) although we typically do not recommend this option because of limitations on performance improvement.