Your Wi-Fi router is almost definitely in the wrong place

This story is part of Tips for the homeCNET’s collection of how-to tips for getting the most out of your home, inside and out.

A slow internet connection at home can make even the simplest Google search super frustrating. If you find your Wi-Fi is always unstable, no matter what internet service provider do you have or how many devices do you have connected, what do you do? sometimes have your router professionally installed may not even solve the huge problem of slow and weak internet connection. That’s a huge headache if you work from home, if you’re trying to install smart home gadgetsor if you just want kick back with some Netflix at the end of the day.

The good news is that there is an easy way to optimize your Wi-Fi network and fix these problems, and it only takes a few minutes.

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exist many factors determine internet speed and while there is a some tricks or guidelines that you can follow To improve overall wireless speeds and coverage in your home, one of the most crucial factors is the location of your router. And the best place is not always where the technician installed it. So read on for the best place in your home for your router and other tricks for faster Wi-Fi. You can also check out our picks for the best wifi routersthe best mesh routers and the best wifi extenders. (And if you have a mesh router, be sure to check out our guide on where and how to set it up the right waytoo.)

Choose the right router for your space

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First things first: It all starts with choose the right router or other equipment. Not all routers are created equal, and the size and layout of your home will determine what type of wireless network you need.

For most apartments and smaller houses (less than 1500 square feet), a single wireless access point should suffice. That being said, if your router is several years old, you may want to consider upgrading to a newer model with support for 802.11axeither Wi-Fi 6. That’s the latest generation of Wi-Fi technology and it will give you the fastest possible wireless speeds and the best overall coverage.

For larger multi-level homes, it is worth considering making the upgrade to a mesh network to provide even coverage throughout the home. Once the main access point is installed, if you find a remote corner of your home that doesn’t have strong wireless coverage, simply add another node to that area. Problem solved.

For more information, see our list of the best mesh routers of the year (our best choice is the TP Link Deco W7200) and if you’re not sure where to start choosing your next router, check out our router buying guide.

Regardless of whether you have a single access point or a mesh network, where you place your main access point is still important.

Where is the best place to put the router?

TP Link router on a blue background

See all the different routers available to you: Wi-Fi routers, mesh networks, and more.

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When you first move into a new house or apartment, the modem is usually installed along the wall in one of the far corners of the house. This is simply because that’s where the line enters the house and the technician’s job is to set up the connection, not optimize your network. That part is yours.

It’s tempting to leave everything where the technician installed it. But this is unlikely to be an optimal location to have your router.

Choose a central location

Routers send the signal in all directions, so if it’s left in the corner of your home, a significant percentage of your wireless coverage is sent outside of your home. That’s why your best bet is to move the router to a central location to optimize the signal.

Installing a router on the other side of the house from the modem can be problematic. It may require manually running an especially long CAT5 or CAT6 Ethernet cable under the floor or along the bottom of walls, or enlist the help of powerline network adapters, which use your home’s electrical wiring to pass a signal Internet from one point to another. But the improved wireless coverage will be worth it.

pick up the router

Routers tend to spread their strongest signals downward, so it’s best to mount your router as high up as possible to maximize coverage. Try placing it on top of a bookshelf or mounting it on the wall in an inconspicuous place.

Search online and you’ll find many custom wall mounts created for specific routers, such as this self-adhesive mount For him Eero Pro 6 mesh router If you’re struggling to find a good elevated spot, something like this could be a great solution.

Avoid other electronic devices

Try to choose a location that is away from other electronics and large metal objects. The more walls, large obstructions, and electronic devices near your router, the greater the chance that something is interfering with the signal.

One type of electronic device to especially avoid is microwaves, which emit a strong signal on the 2.4 GHz band, the same wireless band your router operates on. You’ll also want to be careful not to place your router behind a large TV, which can cause electronic interference while also physically blocking or disrupting the signal.

Along with electronics, keep an eye out for bulky furniture that could be limiting signal range. Wi-Fi doesn’t travel well through water, for example, so if you have an aquarium in your home, try to avoid situations where you’re between your router and the device you need to connect to.

Those Weird Antennas Really Matter

Some routers have no antenna at all, but some have as many as eight. These antennas help direct the signal. If there are two or more antennas on your router, do not point them all in the same direction.

Instead, make them perpendicular to each other: place one horizontally and the other vertically. Or slightly change the position of all the antennas to cover a wide range of angles. You may have to experiment a bit to find the most effective setting.

The signal from each of those antennas will come out as a wave that travels in all directions, and that wave will be perpendicular to the antenna itself, so a vertical antenna will be more useful in single-story houses, while a horizontal antenna or at an angle will emit a signal that travels upward, which might be more useful in a multi-story home.


Wi-Fi mapping software like NetSpot can help you visualize the strength of your network, making it easier to address weak spots.

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

map your signal

In the worst case, it can be helpful to map the signal in your home to see where there may be gaps or problem areas in your coverage. Several years ago, we used netspotsoftware to map signal strength throughout CNET’s smart home — In the end, we got a really good look at the weak points in our Wi-Fi network, which helped us shore things up by moving our hardware to more optimal locations.

If you are considering upgrading your router, be sure to check out CNET’s picks for the best routers. For households with children, be sure to explore parental controls on your routertoo.

Taylor Martin contributed to this story.

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