How to improve your home fibre broadband’s Wi-Fi signal
Internet down? Try these fibre broadband tricks!
Not getting ideal Wi-Fi connections on your home’s fibre broadband network? Or struggling with Wi-Fi Bermuda triangles and “dead zones” in your home? It helps to first understand that a wireless signal is easily affected by many factors in its surroundings. They can be anything from wall thickness to the angle of your router antennas. Any combination of these elements is always influencing your fibre broadband’s wireless signal and everyday enjoyment.
But before you go buy new routers, Wi-Fi extenders or completely upgrade your fibre broadband network… STOP. For we have some tricks you can try, to coax a little more joy out of your connection. And it all starts with your router!
1. Reboot Your Router & Modem
It’s the simplest thing, but also the easiest to overlook. Rebooting allows your router to re-sync its connections and believe it or not, that sometimes does the trick. And there’s a proper way to reboot. Try the 30 - 60 - 120 rule:
- First, unplug both your router and your modem (it should be your Optical Network Terminal) from the power outlet.
- Wait at least 30 seconds before you plug in only the modem and power it on.
- Now wait at least 60 seconds before doing the same for your router.
- Once your router’s on, wait at least 120 seconds (2 minutes) before you retest the wireless fibre broadband connection with your phone or device.
2. Find Your Centre, Then Get High
With routers, placement is everything. Think of your router’s Wi-Fi signals as a giant donut. To ensure you get the widest fibre broadband coverage, you should place this donut as close to the centre of your home as possible. Also, Wi-Fi signals don’t travel up. Rather, they spread out and “drop” to the ground. So, never place it on the floor! In fact, it’s best at a height above your average table. Get as high as possible to maximise your home coverage!
If your home has 2 floors, place the router on the 2nd level. It is best for multi-storey dwellers to place a router on each of their floors using the same method. You can also try mounting your router in a corner near the ceiling or on a wall. If you’re stuck with a less than ideal spot for your router, don’t fret. There’s more you can do…
3. Get a Direct Line Of Sight
Walls are the biggest contributor to frustrating Wi-Fi dead zones. Fact: the more walls you have and the thicker they are, the weaker your signal! With the way most HDB flats are laid out and with routers in the living room, master bedrooms tend to suffer the most.
If possible, find a direct line of sight from your router to the furthest end in your home or wherever you’re experiencing Wi-Fi troubles. It may mean shifting your router slightly so it can “see” your furthest room door. The path that passes through the least walls, is the one of least resistance and can lead to Wi-Fi improvement.
4. Learn to Hate Fish (And Other Objects)
Besides brick and concrete, there’s a sizeable list of objects in your home that can really mess up and dilute your Wi-Fi signal. Think mirrors, anything with metal, even giant fish tanks! Water bodies are bad news. (It may be good for feng shui but less so for Netflix). Also, microwaves, cordless phones, baby monitors and Bluetooth devices all operate on the same wave spectrum of 2.4GHz as Wi-Fi routers. Next time that loading wheel interrupts your Terrace House binge, don’t be surprised that someone’s microwaving soup. So keep these offenders (or just about anything) far, far away from your router. Clear any and all obstructions.
Which Should You Connect to: 2.4GHz or 5GHz?
With dual-band routers, you will see 2 bands or Wi-Fi “names” when you’re trying to connect. In short: 2.4GHz has a further range but lower data transfer speeds than 5GHz. For heavy downloading/streaming, get closer to your router and use 5GHz. If you need range, go with 2.4GHz. If things feel slow, too many devices at home may be “clogging up” the band you’re on. So try switching to the other band!
5. Angle Your Antennas (If Your Router Has Any)
Say your router’s antennas are now positioned vertically. If you look at your antenna’s tip from the top, imagine the signal spread should look like the top of a circle.
While Wi-Fi signals broadcast in a radius, they are also directional. Remember the donut analogy? Imagine the end of your antenna shooting out a giant donut. If you want your signal to reach better between a first and second floor, position your antennas horizontally. If you want to cover further across the same floor, leave your antennas dead vertical!
Try to angle all your router’s antennas so the combined “donut patterns” cover the most, if not all the areas in your home, especially the harder to reach rooms.
6. Protect Your Wi-Fi Network
One common culprit of poor Wi-Fi connection is that of too many devices at home fighting for shared bandwidth. All that’s needed is one or two users on your network to be torrenting (downloading/uploading huge files) for everyone to experience significant lags.
And if you haven’t set a Wi-Fi password, sometimes it may be a neighbour instead of a family member who’s leeching off your fibre broadband network and causing your speed to drop. It’s wiser and more secure to protect your Wi-Fi network. (You can always show neighbourly love in other ways.)
How to Set or Change Your Wi-Fi Password & Network Name
Kindly understand that we're not affiliated to the brands above. But if any of the above links are outdated, try searching "<your router brand> router change wifi password" on YouTube! You can quickly find (unofficial but nevertheless useful) resources to guide you through the process.
7. Give Your Router A Superhero Metal Cape
It’s not for everyone, but here's a creative DIY solution (if your fibre broadband router has antennas). Cut open an empty soft-drink can. Then fan it out like a sail around the antenna of your router. This can help focus your Wi-Fi signal and squeeze out a little more distance. If it’s just a small corner in your home suffering from slightly slower speeds or minor drop-offs, it may be enough. You can read about it in more detail here. But be careful not to hurt yourself!
Now, if the above (free) steps aren’t enough to improve your Wi-Fi woes, fret not. Here’s a quick look at more extensive ways to boost your signal, or even overhaul your home Wi-Fi network:
Wireless Range Extenders / Repeaters / Signal Boosters
A common home option, a wireless extender picks up your router’s Wi-Fi signal and repeats it. You plug it into a socket and “pair” it with your router. It then pushes your original signal further, so you can connect to it. Extenders boost range, but usually halve your signal’s strength.
An increasingly popular Wi-Fi solution is a mesh network. They operate by connecting multiple “nodes” in a space. Unlike an extender which repeats one router’s original signal, each node acts as an individual router, with its own dedicated Wi-Fi signal. By spreading nodes across your home, it “enlarges” your Wi-Fi network, giving you more Wi-Fi points to access. An example is Google Wi-Fi, which you can get with StarHub Fibre Broadband. It’s easy to set up, flexible and can service a range of home sizes up to 251 square metres. Check out Google Wi-Fi with StarHub Fibre Broadband.
We hope the fibre broadband tips here have helped improve some of your home Wi-Fi woes without needing you to spend. If you go online, you can discover a lot more tricks and hacks (configuring your router’s Quality of Service features; buying Powerline adapters, replacing your router’s antennas, etc.).
But if you need a more drastic fix, read the article below for a detailed comparison between Wi-Fi extenders and mesh networks like Google Wifi. We’ll talk about their differences and the pros and cons of each solution so you can decide which suits your home better!
Note: This article focuses on how to get better home wireless connections with your current router. It does not take into account structured network cabling. That’s when data points are installed in other rooms so one can use an additional router, or plug an Ethernet cable from the data point directly into their TV or laptop for high-bandwidth needs of Fibre TV or online gaming. In addition, not every solution stated above caters to all needs. If you have a more customised set-up, do head on over to our Community page to ask our friendly experts!