Whether you’re looking to up the signal in your home and a few pesky walls are getting in the way, or if you’re hoping to go even further afield, there are a few options when it comes to levelling up your WiFi’s reach.
Here are a few suggestions on how to receive a WiFi signal from a long distance.
Buy a WiFi extender
This is likely one of the first answers you’ll find when doing a Google search – and with good reason. WiFi extenders are a tried-and-tested method and are particularly useful when you’re looking to boost the signal strength in the home. They’re also known as boosters and repeaters, and some work slightly differently to others, so be sure to do your research and figure out what’s best for your situation.
Essentially, extenders work by amplifying the existing WiFi signal and can potentially as much as double its coverage. Like any WiFi signal, things like router location and service provider still need to be considered, but it’s a great solution, especially if you’ll need fast, consistent internet access in multiple areas of the home. They’re easy to set up too, connecting to your original router with an ethernet cable.
That said, extenders don’t necessarily come cheap, so expect to shop around and be sure to read reviews. And remember that these things work best when they have a relatively clear line of sight – concrete walls can slow signals down!
Invest in a WiFi antenna
Let’s say you need internet access a little further afield – a granny flat out in the backyard, for example. An extender could struggle here, given the distance and the lack of a clear line of sight. That’s where something a little more powerful, such as an antenna, comes in.
Depending on your choice of antenna, these can increase the range of your WiFi signal by a significant distance and can also be outdoor-friendly. Of course, with that distance comes a disadvantage; as a general rule, expect slower internet speeds the further away from the original source you go.
The longer-range antennas usually come in either direction or omni-directional variations. Directional focuses on a specific point, covering a smaller breadth of area but reaching further and with, as expected, diminishing returns on the signal the further out it goes. Omni-directional does the opposite, covering a larger, more immediate area, at the expense of that longer reach.
Drop the frequency
A simple solution is to change the frequency of your WiFi, shifting from a 5Ghz to something like 2.4Ghz. This will decrease the speed of your WiFi – likely not ideal if you’re gaming or doing something else speed-dependent – but can help increase its reach.
For tasks that don’t require major speed – replying to emails for example – this could be a quick fix.
DIY a reflector panel
If you’d like to try DIY-ing a solution, look no further than the humble reflector panel! There’s a myriad of how-tos online to explain this one, but at its most basic, all you’ll need is aluminium foil or a soft drink can cut down the middle.
Angle your router in the direction you’d like more signal and place the DIY panel behind the router’s antennas. The general idea is that, like a directional antenna, this will amplify the signal in that specific direction, making it a potential fix for dead zones in a single-level home or office.
That said, it’s not always the most effective – you can expect to gain a few metres if anything at all – but for a practically zero-cost solution, it may well be worth a try.
Those are just a handful of ways you could try to receive a WiFi signal from a long distance. See what works for you and be sure to reach out for expert advice if required.
- Mathew Blake, “How to receive wifi signal from long distance”, Tech Pro Journal
- “Ways To Receive Wifi Signal From Long Distance”, FixYourAndroid
- “How to Catch WiFi Signal From Long Distance?”, Rush Networkings
- “What is a Long-Range WiFi Network and How Does it work?”, Signal Boosters
- “WiFi Boosters, Repeaters and Extenders”, Waveform