How to Get Wireless Internet in Every Room of Your Home
Expert advice for whole-home Wi-Fi
Nothing’s worse than a Wi-Fi dead zone. If you have issues with spotty Wi-Fi, there are tons of options for boosting your signals, including mesh routers, Wi-Fi extenders, access points, and powerline network adapters.
Our home networking experts compiled this simple list of solutions to make sure you stay connected in every nook and cranny of your home.
Optimize your wireless router
Your Wi-Fi router is the heart of your home network. It manages all the data and makes sure everything gets to the right devices. It also creates your Wi-Fi network.
Different routers have different Wi-Fi ranges depending on their hardware and the tech used to direct signals to specific devices—like beamforming, MU-MIMO, and OFDMA. Most routers are good for an apartment or home under 2,000 square feet. And some long range routers can boost Wi-Fi signals even further.
How to get the most out of your router’s Wi-Fi signal
- Put your router in a central location.
- Position your antennas up and down to get wide coverage and sideways to get vertical coverage.
- Periodically reset and update your router to keep it running efficiently.
- Make sure it has up to date technology—anything older than AC1200 Wi-Fi is old tech.
- Keep it away from electronics that can interrupt Wi-Fi signals—like Bluetooth speakers, cordless phones, or microwaves.
An old, out-of-date router can cause poor Wi-Fi performance—especially at the edges of your network. If you’ve had the same router for more than five years and notice issues like your network going down frequently, it’s time for an upgrade. Check out our list of the best Wi-Fi 6 routers to get your network up to date.
Mesh routers and Wi-Fi systems are specifically designed to cover your whole home with a consistent Wi-Fi signal. A mesh system is made up of one primary router and one or more mesh extenders. All the mesh devices in the network communicate to create one cohesive Wi-Fi network with customizable coverage.
Mesh routers work in any situation, but they work best in certain situations:
- Covering very large homes
- Customizing coverage for homes with complex layouts
- Extending Wi-Fi to a garage or patio area
Another factor in favor of mesh Wi-Fi is that most mesh systems—particularly the Google Nest Wi-Fi system—are really easy to set up and manage via app.
If you don’t want to upgrade to a mesh system because you have only one or two weak Wi-Fi spots, a network extender is a good option. These come in two forms:
- Wi-Fi extenders
- Powerline extenders
Wi-Fi extenders capture your existing Wi-Fi signals and rebroadcast them to extend your Wi-Fi range. Buying a Wi-Fi extender is way cheaper than getting a whole new mesh system—but still stretches your network to cover dead zones. However, Wi-Fi extenders can use only the signal you already have, so there’s a chance that you’ll just end up extending a weak Wi-Fi signal.
Powerline extenders use your home’s electrical wiring to carry internet signals from one adapter near your router to another in a different part of your home. Not all powerline adapters have native Wi-Fi compatibility, but many do—like the inexpensive TP-Link AV600.
Wired internet connections are inherently faster and more reliable than Wi-Fi, so using wired connections can improve your internet experience—especially for high-traffic devices like PCs, gaming consoles, or smart TVs.
If you’re looking for some hardcore internet coverage in your home, you can run Ethernet cables through your walls. Then you’ll have Ethernet jacks throughout your home so you can plug in computers, gaming consoles, Wi-Fi access points, or whatever else into a wired connection.
When purchasing Ethernet cables, you should look at the category, especially for distances longer than 150 feet. Anything labeled Cat 3 through Cat 5 are obsolete at this point.
Cat 6 Ethernet cables are relatively inexpensive and can handle internet speeds up to 10 Gbps. So that’s what we’d recommend for most people—although, Etherent categories now go up to Cat 8, which can transfer speeds up to 40 Gbps.
Author - Rebecca Lee Armstrong
Rebecca Lee Armstrong has more than six years of experience writing about tech and the internet, with a specialty in hands-on testing. She started writing tech product and service reviews while finishing her BFA in creative writing at the University of Evansville and has found her niche writing about home networking, routers, and internet access at HighSpeedInternet.com. Her work has also been featured on Top Ten Reviews, MacSources, Windows Central, Android Central, Best Company, TechnoFAQ, and iMore.
Editor - Aaron Gates