How to boost WiFi signal through walls, upstairs, and beyond: 10 ways to get better signal

How to boost WiFi signal through walls, upstairs, and beyond: 10 ways to get better signal

Date: 19/09/23

Author: Anthony Harrison

Picture the scenario — you’re on a video call or streaming a movie on your laptop, and you step into another room, only for the connection to suddenly drop. Sound familiar?

When your connection frequently drops in a specific part of your home, chances are you’re dealing with a weak (or blocked) WiFi signal.

It’s an inconvenience most of us have experienced at one time or another and one that doesn’t get any less frustrating with each time it happens.

The question is — how do you fix it?

In this guide, we’ll cover 10 ways to boost your signal that range from quick rearrangements of furniture through to robust hardware solutions for a guaranteed signal boost.

Why is my WiFi signal weak in certain places?

Before we get into the solutions, it’s worth recapping what’s causing the issue in the first place — as understanding this will help to better diagnose and resolve the problem.

In short, your WiFi signal is just like any other signal: it starts off very clear, but gradually gets weaker over time and can be further deteriorated by other factors — like dense materials or interference from other signals.

You know how a local radio station will start to get fuzzy, the further you get from town? The same thing is happening to your WiFi signal with every few metres it travels and every wall it passes through.

2.4 GHz vs 5 GHz WiFi networks

Not all WiFi signals are equal. In fact, many modern home routers come with two, or sometimes even three “bands” of WiFi. The two most common types include:

  • 2.4 GHz - Slower but more robust, meaning it can reach further into parts of your home
  • 5 GHz - Faster but weaker as a result, meaning you’ll have a better download speed over WiFi at a reduced range

So, while there are many reasons a signal may be blocked, it’s worth double-checking whether you’re using your router’s appropriate network for what you’re trying to do.

How to diagnose your signal issues

In order to solve your WiFi signal issues, you need to understand what’s blocking it. Is your problem area a long way away from your router, like the bottom of your garden? Or perhaps it’s at the other side of your apartment and has to pass through 3 walls of decades-old brickwork.

To get a complete understanding of your signal issues, read our guides on the causes of weak WiFi and how to check your WiFi signal.

Does WiFi go through walls?

Generally speaking, yes, WiFi can go through walls.

However, unless your walls are made of paper, the signal will almost always be affected to a degree. So WiFi signals that need to pass through multiple walls will typically experience a fair amount of signal loss.

Of course, each wall and each building is unique, and there are a few factors that may further affect the degree to which a signal is affected:

  • Material — reinforced concrete and other dense brickwork can be difficult for your signal to pass through
  • Wall thickness — by the same logic of the material density, a thicker wall will also create a larger buffer your signal will need to permeate
  • Insulation — while newer builds often have thinner walls, common insulation materials can have a similar effect on your signal
  • Reflective surfaces — believe it or not, metal and mirror surfaces can cause mild reflection of your WiFi signal, dispersing and disseminating the signal on impact

While you can’t exactly knock down a wall, identifying problematic walls can help to find the best signal-boosting method for your own circumstances.

Ten ways to boost your signal

Now that we’ve got a clearer understanding of the problem, we can move on to the solution.

There are many ways a signal can be improved, and which of these techniques works best for you will depend on the cause of your problem, how much time you have, and your budget.

Change your router’s location

If your investigations identified that specific walls or sections of the house cause the biggest issue, think about whether your router can be positioned differently to allow the signal to travel more freely.

Of course, in most cases, we’re stuck with a pre-existing phone line socket in a specific room, so changing rooms may not be possible.

If you’re feeling up to it, you could use a longer ADSL cable (the cable that connects your router to your phone line) to place it in a different room. Though, if doing this, you’ll likely want to do some cable management to ensure nobody’s tripping over that long wire!

If moving rooms isn’t an option, see if you can position the router closer to an open doorway, or a thinner wall.

Change your router channel settings

As outlined earlier in this guide, many modern routers produce multiple bands of WiFi — most commonly 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz.

These will typically appear as two separate WiFi channels in the list of available WiFi connections on your phone, laptop, or any other internet-connected device.

In some cases, you may need to do a little setup first. So it’s worth looking at the owner’s manual for your router model to see whether it has multiple channels and, if required, how to set them up.

Upgrade your router’s firmware

When you upgrade your router’s firmware, you get all the latest efficiencies, error fixes, and security updates they have been developing.

It’s not certain, but there’s a chance the latest firmware could have a positive impact on your signal strength, so it’s worth a shot.

Check your owner’s manual for the exact steps to update your router’s firmware, as they will vary between devices.

Switch out your router antenna

Depending on the model of router that you have, you might be able to unscrew or detach the antennas that transmit the signal.

If so, you could swap the stock antennas for an option with a wider range. Components vary between router models, so you’ll need to refer to your owner’s manual to determine what is compatible with your device.

Move cordless phones and other devices that cause interference

You may be aware that certain devices, such as microwaves and baby monitors, can disrupt WiFi signals — in particular, the 2.4 GHz signal band. While your microwave isn’t transmitting data, it’s emitting a signal with a frequency of 2.4 GHz that can interfere with your WiFi signal.

So, if there are electronic devices directly in the path between your router and the room with poor signal, this may be contributing to the issue.

If possible, try unplugging the device and see if the signal improves. If this proves successful, it might be worth relocating the disruptive device.

Move mirrors and large appliances away from problem walls

Both dense and reflective surfaces can cause signal issues, so it may be beneficial to relocate large items or mirrors to a different wall in the room.

Of course, for most of us, moving a fridge simply isn’t an option. At this point, it may therefore be time to look into additional hardware to solve the problem for good.

Try a WiFi extender

A WiFi extender is a device that picks up your WiFi signal and repeats it as a separate network. This means you can place an extender within range of your router, and it will produce a brand-new WiFi network that reaches the farthest corners of your home.

WiFi extenders do not need to be the same brand as your router, making them fairly easy to get a hold of and set up.

Try powerline adapters

It’s no secret that wired connections are typically faster than their WiFi counterpart, and don’t suffer from the same signal difficulties as the signal is transmitted through an ethernet cable.

While it may not be practical to run an ethernet cable halfway across your house and up the stairs, a powerline adapter might be a suitable middle ground.

Powerline adapters plug into the mains power sockets on your walls and use the copper wiring used in your home’s electrical circuit to transmit the data. Simply plug a powerline adapter into a mains socket close to your router and another in the room with signal issues, then use an ethernet to connect your devices at each end.

Bear in mind: This won’t work for everyone, as the effectiveness depends heavily on the condition and composition of your property’s electrical setup.

Upgrade to a better router

Sometimes, the tired old router your ISP gave you for free 10 years ago simply isn’t able to keep up with the modern requirements of wireless technology.

When you sign up for one of our fibre broadband packages, boasting speeds of up to 3 Gbps, you get a router included with Intelligent Mesh™ technology.

Simply put, they’re one of the best routers on the market, designed to create a flawless, full-strength WiFi experience. What’s more — they’re perfect for building a Mesh WiFi system.

Get a Mesh WiFi system

A Mesh WiFi system works on a similar principle to WiFi signal extenders; only it uses devices to create multiple access points for your broadband signal.

How does this work? With a Mesh WiFi system, your router acts as the main hub for your WiFi signal, but devices around your house are used as “nodes” that capture and rebroadcast the signal once it reaches them.

This means you’re no longer relying on a single device transmitting your WiFi, but instead have created a robust network of devices around your house, all receiving and transmitting the signal between each other for maximum coverage.

Learn more about how Mesh WiFi systems work.

How to get guaranteed, complete coverage in every room: Mesh WiFi

While many of the solutions covered in this guide can help to improve a weak signal, a Mesh WiFi system eliminates the problem entirely.

At Community Fibre, we believe a strong and reliable connection is just as important as download speed. That’s why we offer our customers guaranteed WiFi in the rooms that matter most with our unbeatable Premium WiFi, installed by our expert engineers. 

When you sign up for Premium WiFi as part of your package, we expand your WiFi network with intelligent Mesh technology to deliver the incredible speed and reliability of our 100% full fibre-fuelled WiFi. 

With our full fibre broadband packages and guaranteed Premium WiFi, you get London’s fastest speeds and the strongest connection as part of our 1Gpbs and 3Gpbs service packages. No compromise.  

To get started, check the availability of Community Fibre in your area. 

Check availability