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Apr 5, 2017
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Since we can’t really rely on our telcos to give us fast Internet connection, here’s a way to make the most of their service. Using math, Jason Cole, a PhD student in physics at Imperial College London, did an experiment to find the best spot to place a wireless router. Using the Helmholtz equation (a calculation used to map electromagnetic fields like the ones your router emits), he successfully expanded and strengthened his Wi-Fi signal for his apartment. And without going through all the math (which, if you want to read, are here), here are his hacks for you to have a stronger, if not, the strongest Wi-Fi signal. Happy surfing!

1) Place it on the center

According to the study, here’s what your Wi-Fi setup is probably like right now:

In the video, you can see how the signal bounces off walls to fill rooms with Internet. Places where the signal doesn’t quite reach, are also visible, and are obviously the ones further from the source. To ensure that signal strength is equally distributed, better move your router over to a more central spot. Preferably, it should be within sight of wherever you sit and use the Internet most. So run those cables and extension wires and find the most central part of your home. The only hassle is that your router will be in plain sight.

2) Avoid obstructions

Walls and other obstacles absorb more signal energy, making the Internet connection weaker, so better refrain from placing it near any obstructions. Also, never put it behind an aquarium as water takes up the signal as well. Metals and mirrors are also a router’s enemy, as both materials reflect radio waves, so putting the router behind a TV is a big no-no.

3) Mount it above head height

The study also suggests that you should mount the router on a wall (preferably above head height) to provide all corners of the house with a good level of Internet connection. If you have two floors, best to put your router on the second floor, because radio waves generally spread out and towards the ground, not up.

4) Avoid the heat

Don’t place your router in areas with prolonged exposure to direct sunlight, such as beside the window, as the rise in temperature weakens your device. Also, the electromagnetic interference (EMI) emitted by products such as microwaves should be avoided as they disrupt the signal given off by your router.

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5) Move the antenna

The antenna on your router is not there for mere design. It’s essential as it’s the one that’s broadcasting and receiving your Wi-Fi connection. If you’re trying to get your signal to spread horizontally, positioning your antenna vertically will give you the best spread. If you’re trying to get the Wi-Fi to broadcast between floors in your home or office, position the antenna horizontally.

On the other hand, if your router has two antennas, take advantage and point one antenna up and the other to the side.

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