How to Extend Your Wi-Fi Signal

Hannah Rivera
Nov 30, 2023
Icon Time To Read12 min read

When your internet connection gets disturbed, it’s not only annoying for the whole family but can even affect your entire workflow or lifestyle. We know how important a stable network connection is in today’s world, so we’ve compiled a comprehensive list of ways to prevent dead zones (spots where your internet cuts out) in your home.    

It's important to note that none of the items on our list will ever make your Wi-Fi speed faster than what you're paying for or reach farther than your router’s promised range. We’re here to help you get the most out of your service, and ensure that your connection covers every little corner of your home or workspace.

With that in mind, let's dive into our expert tips on how to extend Wi-Fi signal range in your home.  

15 ways to extend your Wi-Fi signal

1. Change or upgrade your internet plan

The first thing you should always look at if you’re struggling with a less-than-stellar connection is your actual internet provider. Does your connection often get interrupted, even if you’re right next to the router? Does your YouTube buffer constantly? Does your Wi-Fi always get significantly worse once all the nine-to-fivers get home and start streaming?

If these situations sound familiar, consider switching your internet service provider (ISP) entirely. We encourage you—especially if you’re out in the boonies—to find the internet providers with the best service in your area.

Enter your zip code below to find all the best internet providers in your area.

If you find that your provider is indeed the best for your location, see if your ISP offers better plans with more data or faster speeds. More often than not, you get what you pay for with network providers, so an upgrade might fix your internet problems. 

2. Try a Wi-Fi range booster

If you’re still getting dead spots in the house and the issue isn’t on your internet provider’s end, invest in a Wi-Fi range booster to bolster your signal strength. Wi-Fi boosters grab your existing Wi-Fi signal and amplify it so it can spread farther into your home. Or, if you dream of streaming Netflix in your backyard, consider an outdoor-specific Wi-Fi booster. 

Special Info
$59.99● Compatible with PC (Windows) only
● Restricted to one computer at a time
● Weather-resistant
● 2.4GHz only
$35.94● Compact size
● Plugs directly into an outlet
● Dual-band frequency
$69.99● Wireless
● Fast (up to 1.8 Gbps speed)

Remember: Wi-Fi range boosters aren’t going to fix a speed issue, pretty much ever. If the best signal you get is still slow, a Wi-Fi booster will just extend the range of your slow signal to more areas. Still, if you ask us, it’s always better to have at least some diluted signal than none at all.   

3. Strategic router placement

Positioning your existing router thoughtfully is a quick way to strengthen your signal. You might be accidentally making your Wi-Fi signal worse by putting your router too close to the ground or walls. Wi-Fi has a hard time reaching you through thick walls, concrete, and multiple home levels. Routers distribute signals in a round but horizontal pattern, so, in most cases, a central and open location will get you the most comprehensive signal coverage across your home or workspace.

However, a central location may not be best if you only want to strengthen your signal in one specific part of your home, like a home office where you do most of your internet tasks. In that case, putting the router directly in that room, even if it’s far from your home’s center, would be the ideal location for you.   

If your home office is in a basement, we recommend relocating your workspace altogether to the upper levels of your home. A basement will always dampen your signal because your router will have to send your Wi-Fi signal through thick concrete on the lowest level of your home. Wherever you choose to place your router, it should be set up where your Wi-Fi can take the path of least resistance. 

4. Elevate your router for an enhanced signal

If your router currently sits on the floor, elevating it can make a significant difference in your signal strength. Minimize interference from your furniture, walls, and floor by placing your router on a high shelf or on top of the furniture.

Routers send out your Wi-Fi signal in a horizontal pattern, so leaving them too low to the ground will actually let the floor (carpet, hardwood, anything) absorb some of the signal. The more signal the ground absorbs, the less there is left for you to use.

5. Keep firmware up to date

It’s an easy thing to forget, but regularly updating your router's firmware will fortify your network's security and help the device run at peak performance. As a result, your Wi-Fi signal will reach as far as your router can possibly send it.

How do you update your router’s firmware?

This won’t look the same for everyone, but here’s the general process for how most routers can be updated:

  • Locate your router’s IP address.

This is typically listed on the back of your router. If you run into any issues finding it, give your internet provider a call.

  • Type the IP address into Google.

You will be prompted to log in. Check the back of the router or your router’s manual for the username and password.

  • Look for an Updates or Firmware tab

This step won’t look the same for every router, so try browsing around the page a bit for words like Advanced or Manage if you don’t find it immediately.

  • Download your update

If there is an update available for your router, it will typically show either a firmware version number or a date. Look for the most recent update possible and select download. Follow your specific router’s prompts from there. 

6. Get seamless coverage with mesh Wi-Fi

If you’re at your wit’s end struggling with your Wi-Fi’s speed and signal, and prepared to invest some time and money into resolving the problem, you might consider installing a mesh Wi-Fi system.

Mesh Wi-Fi Devices
Find it on Amazon

Mesh Wi-Fi uses multiple access points (called nodes) to provide seamless connectivity throughout your space. Instead of relying on just one router, these nodes each act like their own little routers, working together to pass the internet signal back and forth to each other. The nodes can be installed in any area of your home, and can even be wall-mounted to avoid cluttering up your furniture. 

7. Try a powerline adapter

While the process is kind of complicated, you can extend your network manually by setting up powerline adapters. They’re a lot like ethernet cables, but without the chaos of cables all over the floor that totally clash with your new rug. 

How do powerline adapters work, and how do I use them?

Powerline adapters use a two-adapter system to travel through your home's electrical wiring and upgrade your Wi-Fi signal.

Here’s how it works (in real-life terms)

  • One adapter plugs directly into your wall outlet.
  • An Ethernet cable connects the first adapter to your router.
  • A second adapter plugs directly into a separate wall outlet
  • Plug whatever device you want to connect into the adapter.

After they’re connected to your router, the power source, and then your device, the adapters then work together to use your home’s electrical wiring to amplify your Wi-Fi signal.      

The trade-off with this option is convenience. Powerline adapters are amazing at signal amplification, but setting this system up is time-consuming and could get costly, depending on the adapter you decide to purchase and how many devices you want to be able to connect at one time. 

8. Select the least crowded Wi-Fi channel

To keep it simple, think of a Wi-Fi channel like the mail carrier that your Wi-Fi sends its mail (data) through. The best mail carrier will get the mail there faster and without any disturbance. So, just like when you send something through the mail, you want to pick the least busy carrier—or channel—to do so.

Your router will come already set with default Wi-Fi channels. Usually, these are the channels its internal tech thinks will be the best for the average user.

However, your router isn’t policing what’s going on outside your home, so it doesn’t know if your entire neighborhood has the same network service and you’re all fighting for a piece of the bandwidth. In this case, manually tinkering with your Wi-Fi channel settings may be the answer to your slow internet woes.

Here’s a general guide on how to do just that:

  • Type your router’s IP address into Google
  • Log in using the username and password given on the back of your router
  • Look for “settings” and “Wi-Fi channel”
  • Disable automatic settings and set to specific channel numbers

Different frequency bands will change what channels we recommend to you. Based on the information from Intel’s expert support page, we recommend channels 1, 6, and 11 to you if you’re using 2.4GHz. If you’re browsing on 5GHz, we recommend setting your channels to 36, 40, 44, and 48. 

9. Know which frequency band to connect to

Use our breakdown below to decide which Wi-Fi network to connect to, depending on where you are or what you need it for. Connecting to the right frequency will help you extend your signal to the right devices in your home.

2.4 GHz
5 GHz
Wider signal range Smaller signal range
Slower speedsFaster speeds
Ability to pass through obstaclesNo ability to pass through obstacles
More signal interferenceLess signal interference

We recommend you use 2.4 Ghz for your devices that travel the farthest from your router, like your phone and laptop, because its signal reaches farther. Whatever devices you use in the same central location that you place your router (like your TV) will perform much better on 5 Ghz so you can enjoy the frequency’s speed.

10. Use a Wi-Fi analysis tools

Wi-Fi analyzer apps are like a three-in-one tool for getting rid of dead zones in your home or office. They can help you identify where the dead zones in your home are so you know where exactly your router should be, show you the traffic volume on specific Wi-Fi channels, and even show your signal strength versus those around you. We recommend Wifi Analyzer Lite as a free option to those on PC (not Mac compatible).

11. Upgrade to a modern router

You might think buying the latest and greatest router technology can be a waste of money, but if your Wi-Fi is underperforming, you’d be surprised how much a new model of router will make a difference. Consider upgrading your router if your current one is outdated and secure a more potent signal range for your household. 

12. Optimize router settings

You may not be aware, but you can actually set your router to prioritize specific devices or applications and make sure what you care about is getting the most bandwidth.

For example, you can fine-tune your router settings, such as Quality of Service (QoS), to extend the most energy to streaming and let file downloads be the last priority. When movie night rolls around, you can enjoy your Netflix stream with no interruptions and let your game download later, all without even thinking about it.  

13. Fortify your network security

You can set up security measures to prevent unauthorized users (like that pesky neighbor) from consuming your bandwidth and making your signal worse. A password-protected and secure network will allow you to get the most out of your Wi-Fi signal. 

According to the Federal Trade Commission, resetting your router and administrative passwords is a great preventative security measure in general; and a bonus side-effect is that anyone who might have found your password without your permission will suddenly lose it. If you’re paying for your Wi-Fi, you don’t want random freeloaders using up all your precious bandwidth.

14. Unexpected interference

We know it sounds totally absurd, but your microwave might be disturbing your Wi-Fi signal.

If you’re connected to your 2.4GHz network, your microwave and your Wi-Fi are operating at the same frequency. Minimize interference by relocating your router away from the kitchen or the direct path of the microwave, and you should be good to go again.

15. Clean your devices and accessories

A dust-free router is less likely to overheat, ensuring you’ll get consistent performance, your full Wi-Fi range back, and a longer lifespan for the device. It also ensures that your antennas aren’t blocked, reduces signal interference, and contributes to a stable and reliable Wi-Fi connection.

Remember, expanding your Wi-Fi signal may involve a combination of our fifteen strategies listed above. The most suitable approach depends on the layout of your space and the specific signal challenges you encounter.

Now that we’ve covered the practical steps you can take to extend your signal, let’s dive deeper into some devices that can make a really big difference. We call them the superheroes of weak Wi-Fi signals: Wi-Fi extenders.  

What is a Wi-Fi extender?

A Wi-Fi extender (also known as a Wi-Fi repeater or range extender) is a device designed to enhance the coverage of your wireless network. Essentially, it acts as a bridge between your router and areas of your home or office where the Wi-Fi signal is weak or non-existent.

The primary goal of a Wi-Fi extender is to grab onto your existing Wi-Fi signal, amplify it, and then send it back out to previously unreachable corners of your home or office so you can stream, with no issues, everywhere.  

A common misconception we find people have about Wi-Fi extenders is that they deliver the same top speeds in all areas of your home, but in reality, they usually slow it down. That’s to be expected. And while they might not provide the full speed you get close to the main router, they bridge the gap and enable connectivity where it was once completely absent.

Wi-Fi extenders vs. boosters: What’s the difference?

Confusing terminology aside, Wi-Fi extenders, boosters, and repeaters all do the same job of extending your Wi-Fi’s signal range, but in different ways. Let’s get into the specifics.

A Wi-Fi booster is the umbrella term for the general technology itself, any device that extends the range of your Wi-Fi signal. Because this technology comes in two versions, the terms “extender” and “repeater” are under this umbrella, and exist to differentiate what method (wired or wireless) the device uses to get the job done.

Wi-Fi extenders use a wired connection to extend your network. Even in our modern age, wired connections reign supreme, so your extended network will be at its strongest when using a wired method.  

Wi-Fi repeaters establish a wireless connection to your network and rebroadcast the signal, which amplifies your Wi-Fi range. While wireless technology is the most convenient, keep in mind you may have to sacrifice some speed using this method.

So, whether you grab Wi-Fi boosters, extenders, or repeaters, their mission stays the same: make your Wi-Fi signal cover more space, so you can connect to the internet easily all around your home or workspace and get rid of dead zones.

Light Bulb

Important note: To make the confusion even more fun, some companies use whatever term or combination of terms they think makes their product sound the coolest, so make sure to identify whether the booster you want is wired or wireless before you buy.

Indoor and outdoor Wi-Fi extenders

Indoor Wi-Fi boosters are intended for home or office spaces, and designed to enhance signals within walls and confined areas. They prioritize a sleek design and seamlessly blend into the background so your interior decor isn’t interrupted by an eyesore.

Outdoor Wi-Fi boosters, on the other hand, are built to withstand the elements. Their weatherproof features (water resistance, UV-proof coating, even lightning protection) ensure reliable performance outside your home, like in your backyard, garden, or poolside. While indoor boosters focus on aesthetics, outdoor boosters are constructed for durability to keep you connected, rain or shine—so they’re not so easy on the eyes.

Choosing between them boils down to whether you need to extend your router’s range within your living or working space (indoor) or extend coverage to outdoor areas (outdoor). Or if you’re feeling fancy, snag one of each and barely ever lose connection!

Enter your zip code below to find the best internet to pair with your Wi-Fi extender.

How to set up a Wi-Fi extender

Every Wi-Fi booster will have a slightly different installation and set-up process, and many come with their own physical instruction manual when you order your booster. We’ll cover the three options we recommended earlier.

Bearifi BearExtender

The Bearifi Wi-Fi extender is super easy to use. The setup process is simple:

  1. Plug the device into the USB port of any Windows computer
  2. Voilà, you’re ready to roll.   

NetGear EX6120

To use this extender wirelessly…

  1. Plug the device directly into a wall outlet.
  2. Press and hold the WPS button, and the EX6120 will automatically connect to your router.
  3. Connect whatever devices you use to your network.
  4. Done!

Alternatively, if you want to use this same device in a wired setup…

  1. Plug the device directly into a wall outlet.
  2. Plug an ethernet cable into the device’s ethernet port.
  3. Plug the other end of your ethernet cable into the device you wish to connect (laptop, PC, TV).
  4. Done!

TP-Link AX1800

This booster is unique in that TP-Link offers its very own app to aid you in the installation process. They have two app options, one for Apple users and another for Android users. As advertised in their Amazon infographic, the setup process will only take minutes and the app will display easy-to-follow, step-by-step instructions for you.

The verdict

If you’re struggling with seriously slow speeds, or if the majority of your home or office is a dead zone, consider changing your internet service provider altogether or upgrading your plan. The tips we provided in this article are helpful to get the most out of your Wi-Fi signal’s range, but getting the most out of your poor internet service still isn’t as good as getting a great signal with a great provider.

Enter your zip code to see all the best internet plans available in your area.

Once you know you have the best internet service possible for your area, we recommend filling out your signal gaps with a Wi-Fi booster. Our top recommendation for indoor household use is the NETGEAR EX6120. Beyond purchasing a Wi-Fi booster, we definitely recommend a Wi-Fi analyzer as an accessory tool for diagnosing your signal needs.          


We take pride in being our own tech experts. Our methodology includes direct hands-on testing, weighing real customer reviews, aggregating insights from our ongoing Rural Internet Survey, and tallying our proprietary data. You’ll get reliable, heavily researched, and up-to-date information as part of our commitment to providing the best service and product evaluations.

How to extend your Wi-Fi signal FAQ

How do I find my Wi-Fi’s frequency band?

Before you do anything too complicated, start by checking your network name. A lot of the time, the frequency band will be tacked onto the end of your Wi-Fi name (ex: MyWifiNetwork2.4G). If it’s not, try this:

On a Mac, click on your Wi-Fi symbol in the top right while holding the option key. This will display all your Wi-Fi details, including your frequency band under Channel.

On a PC, while connected to your network, open your network panel, then select the underlined Properties.

This will open a list of your network’s details, including the frequency band under Network band.

What Wi-Fi analyzer tool should I use if I have Apple products?

Apple actually doesn’t support third-party Wi-Fi analyzers for any of its mobile devices, like the iPhone and iPad. Apple only supports Wi-Fi analyzer apps for its Mac devices; we recommend WiFi Explorer for all your Mac networking needs. You’ll have to cough up $19.99 to access this application, but the features are well worth it for our Mac-loyal readers.   

Hannah Rivera
Written by
Hannah Rivera
Hannah is new to freelancing, but not to the tech world. She grew up with the internet at her fingertips and has been following along with tech trends since the dawn of Facebook. She is dedicated to making tech information more digestible and accessible to the general public, and she writes for anyone who needs it.