What determines a WiFi signal range

Increase WiFi speed - this is how it works

Increase WiFi range: This is how it works for free

After you have analyzed the WLAN with Heatmapper, you should eliminate the dead spots. The first step: Current drivers and firmware for WLAN clients and the WLAN router. For complete PCs and notebooks, Windows Update helps with the driver search or the service page of the system manufacturer. You can obtain the latest router firmware from the manufacturer.

Next, you should change the router's location: Most routers have omnidirectional antennas. They send the radio signal relatively evenly in a slightly flattened spherical shape, at an angle of 90 degrees to the antenna axis. So if you want to reach WLAN clients on the same floor, the antennas should be aligned vertically. With WLAN routers with internal antennas like the Fritzbox, trying it out helps: Depending on the desired direction of radiation, you should set up the router horizontally or vertically. Always helpful: Position the router in the center of the area you want it to illuminate - and place it as high as possible so that the radio waves can propagate unhindered.

The transmission power of the router should be at maximum: With the Fritzbox you can see the transmission strength under "WLAN -> Radio channel -> Maximum transmission power".

You can also tune the WLAN clients: If you set up the WLAN connection on the PC or notebook using a USB stick, use an extension cable: This allows you to adjust the position of the WLAN stick for better signal transmission.

Finally, follow basic WiFi tuning tips: Select a radio channel on which no or few other WLANs are working. Or it is best to switch to the less disturbed 5 GHz frequency with the right clients, provided your router supports both frequencies. You can see the most undisturbed radio channel with a tool like Insider. You can also analyze the WLAN environment with the Fritzbox: It shows interferers in a graphic that you can find under “WLAN -> Radio channel -> WLAN environment”.

New antennas: more range for the router

With older routers, you can make do with a self-made antenna: There are numerous instructions for this on the Internet. However, this does not help with current routers that use multiple antennas. They work according to the Mimo method and transmit via all antennas or, depending on the position of the remote station, only the one with the best signal. In any case, the router firmware takes care of how the antennas are used: A homemade antenna is then bothersome.

Instead, you can start with the WLAN clients and try to increase the signal strength on the notebook or PC. To do this, you need a USB WLAN stick with an extension cable and a self-made reflector antenna. Metal objects shaped like a parabolic antenna, for example a sieve, a pot lid or a lampshade, are suitable for this purpose. If you place the USB stick at the correct distance in front of it, the radio waves are bundled for better reception. You can find the right distance by trying it out or using a formula that you will find together with detailed handicraft instructions.

The popular Fritzbox routers from AVM can also be upgraded with external antennas. At www.frixtender.de you can get omnidirectional rod antennas for certain Fritzbox models. Depending on the model and antenna gain, they cost between 15 and around 45 euros. Before you order antennas, you must have a look at the circuit board of your Fritzbox: There are, for example, three different variants of the Fritzbox 7490. The rod antennas are fixed in brackets, the height of which depends on the housing of the Fritzbox. You plug the antenna cables into the matching IPEX slots on the board and lead them to the outside - either with suitable spacers over a gap between the cover and housing of the router or through the ventilation slots on the underside.