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Whether you’re trying to speed up your Wi-Fi or make it so you can access it when in your garage, yard, or shed, the methods to extending your Wi-Fi are generally the same:

  • Change your router’s current location and/or settings
  • Use a mesh network or Wi-Fi extending device
  • Use an ethernet cable
  • Use an old router

Knowing which methods to use and when will help you understand how to extend your Wi-Fi range hopefully without spending too much money on upgrading your plan or external devices.

How to Extend Wi-Fi in the House

There are a few steps you can take to extend your Wi-Fi signal inside your home and to your garage:

  1. Move your router: The first step to extending Wi-Fi range within a home is to place your router in a central location. Wi-Fi signal is sent in all directions from your router, so be sure the area you choose is free from clutter and not near any walls. Having items, especially those with metal (like the sheet behind drywall), around your router can impede your signal.
  2. Change your frequency: Most routers these days are dual-band routers; they offer 2.4 GHz band and 5 GHz. Using the 2.4 GHz band will give you almost two times the range (410 ft.) the 5 GHz band can (230 ft.). You can tell which band is which by looking at the name of the network you’re connected to. Most 5 GHz connections have ‘_5G’ at the end of the network name.
  3. Use a mesh network or Wi-Fi extending device: These devices will pick up and carry your Wi-Fi signal to further ranges. It’s ideal to use these types of devices if you’re unable to get Wi-Fi in your garage or yard, or if you have slow or ‘dead zones’ around your house. These devices are especially helpful if you have multiple-stories, an attic and/or basement.

How to Extend Wi-Fi Range Outdoors

Extending your Wi-Fi range outdoors may require an outdoor access point depending on how far you need to extend your range. The average Wi-Fi range is 150 feet indoors and 300 feet outdoors. Taking your router outside is not recommended. Unlike an outdoor access point, some of which can cover 800 sq.ft., most routers are not built to withstand inclement weather.

Be mindful when purchasing an outdoor access point. Each will have its own maximum speed that it can transfer. If you have a gigabit plan and purchase an access point with a 300 Mbps maximum speed, you will only be able to get speeds up to 300 Mbps when connecting to that access point. This could be useful if you want to make sure that devices in your home are able to get the fastest speeds first.

You could also use a mesh network, but mesh networks can cost more than outdoor access points. Like routers, most mesh networks are also not built to withstand harsh weather.

How to Extend Wi-Fi to Another Building

While it may seem opposite of the point, another way to extend your Wi-Fi range is to use an ethernet cable. An ethernet cable is more reliable than a wireless signal, but you will need to make sure it’s properly protected.

Use wire covering and other materials to protect your cable(s). It’s best to go with a more durable and flexible material like PVC.

How to Extend Wi-Fi Range with Another Router

Using an additional router is a popular option to extend and/or boost Wi-Fi signal, especially if you need Wi-Fi in your garage or another building. In these cases, what you’re really doing is turning a router into an access point, or wireless bridge — it’s a way to save money and cluttering your home with new devices.

You’ll need to assign your old router a new IP address that’s within the range of your current router’s IP, and also turn off or change its DHCP settings, to make it an access point. You can find out what your router’s IP is by:

Windows

  • The fastest way is to use Command Prompt.
  • Search ‘cmd’ or ‘command prompt’ in the windows bar and double-click to open it
  • Type ‘ipconfig’ and hit enter
  • Your router IP address will be next to ‘Default Gateway’

Mac

  • Click the Apple in the top left corner
  • Go to System Preferences
  • Click ‘Network’
  • Highlight Wi-Fi by clicking on it if it’s not already highlighted
  • Click on Advanced, it’s near the bottom right
  • Go to TCP/IP
  • Your router IP address will be next to ‘Router:’

Chrome OS

  • Go to your command center by clicking on the time in the bottom right of your screen
  • Click on the network you’re using to open settings
  • Click Network
  • Your router IP address with be under ‘Gateway’

To access and change your old router’s settings, visit the manufacturer’s support page. Each router has different steps to follow when changing it to an access point, so be sure to follow the steps properly.

Recap

If you’re trying to extend Wi-Fi inside and/or outside your home, the first thing you should do is make sure your router is in a central, decluttered location and that it’s using the 2.4GHz band. Extending your Wi-Fi range is necessary if you have dead zones around your home or areas you frequent, but don’t confuse extending your range with increasing your speed. If you experience slower speeds in one area of your home than another, using devices like a mesh network, old router or Wi-Fi extender can give you a stronger, sometimes faster connection.

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