You’ve had the joy of having a neighbor who loves to explode downstairs Taylor Swift at deafeningly high decibels? Or maybe it warms your heart when you think of a family upstairs that refused to keep them 5 years old from running from room to room incessantly while wearing tap shoes? Well, maybe he wasn’t wearing shoes. But you get the picture. ah apartment living.
Then, there’s the disappointment work from home while dealing with spotted Wi-Fi. You know the pain points: Your audio lags during Zoom meetings, you can’t download that YouTube video, and Netflix keeps freezing. To make matters worse, your roommate has no problems in his room, but you struggle to communicate.
When it comes to getting a clear Wi-Fi signal, apartments are protected from multiple devices, heavy beams, metal obstacles, and more many devices it also requires air space. It can make you feel powerless. But there are a few steps you can take to improve your signal and get a better Wi-Fi connection in your apartment.
Oh, one more thing. All things being equal, your first step should be to investigate whether you have options to use differently internet service provider. However, when it comes to living in an apartment, you often don’t have a choice about your ISP. Many apartment complexes have apartment contracts with specific ISPs, even if there are several providers available in your areaYou may be connected to a rental for a stay that you have.
Okay, enough of that introduction. Let’s jump into it.
Protect your Wi-Fi signal
Keystrokes to your network security It’s an important first step no matter where you live, but it’s especially important if you rent your apartment and use the equipment that comes with the place. You can start by changing your router’s network name and password. If you are using a device provided by your ISP, you should be able to use their software to change the information very easily.
From your ISP’s software (or you have your own router), you can easily access your router settings to change your Wi-Fi password. It doesn’t need to be intimidating, and my colleague Ry Crist does a great job of breaking it down for you and keeping it simple. However, when it comes to your new password, make sure it’s simple. Yes, it’s tempting to keep it simple so it’s easy to remember, but you want to make it harder for others to crack (and use a password manager to remember).
Go channel surfing
Your router uses two bands — 2.4GHz and 5GHz — and each of these bands has channels to send and receive your Wi-Fi signal. Your Wi-Fi problems may be caused by using the same channel as many of your neighbors. So you’re all clogging the same lanes.
The solution is to ditch that crowded channel and find one with a little less traffic. There are 11 available channels in the 2.4GHz band and 24 available in the 5GHz band. Use your router’s Wi-Fi utilities (either via software or the web) to scan for the least used channel available and set your router to that channel.
When doing this, it’s a good idea to use a internet speed test Comparing how Wi-Fi works on different channels. In fact, it’s a good idea to run a speed test before changing any settings. That way, you get an initial idea of how Wi-Fi works, and then you can see how these new channels compare.
Ideally, you don’t want to do this channel check daily, but if it’s effective in solving your problems, you can rely on it when you run into trouble.
Move your router
Sometimes the simplest solution is the best solution. Maybe the reason for your shaky Wi-Fi poor placement of your router. Is it hidden in the bookcase? Is it next to or blocked by a large piece of furniture or appliance? Try giving your router some space. While you may be tempted to tuck it away for aesthetic reasons, you may inadvertently be interfering with your router’s ability to send a clear signal.
Speaking of location, location, location: Don’t put your router in your kitchen. Not only will your router struggle with the signal around all the big metal devices, but microwaves in particular will also interfere with the router. The two operate on similar frequencies, so your Wi-Fi connection will be disrupted if you are near a microwave oven. Finally, all of these important things aside, you’ll want to avoid the kitchen area, so you’ll reduce the chance of coffee, water, spills, and other food debris ruining your router.
Also, remember the scenario I mentioned above where your roommate gets good Wi-Fi and you’re left with scraps? They are likely to be closer to the router than you are. Try to move the router more to the center of the apartment. Not only is there a fairer distribution of the Wi-Fi wealth, but in theory, your router should also perform better.
Finally, keep it away from other high-demand Wi-Fi devices like yours smart tv or Game station. Again, having all these devices close together will interfere with your router’s functionality.
Buy a Wi-Fi extender
Can’t move your router? This is not unusual in apartments. Your equipment is often fixed in place with wires. But all is not lost in this scenario. you can apply to Wi-Fi extender. It doesn’t have to be a huge investment or commitment—decent options can range from $30 to $100—but it can pay big dividends in improving your Wi-Fi signal.
Depending on the size of your location, you may only need one Wi-Fi extender. Be sure to place it in the “dead spot” of your apartment and see if you can bring that area to connected life. One thing to note: Getting a Wi-Fi extender doesn’t mean you have to skip the previous steps. For example, you still want to research the best channel to use. If you and everyone else in the building are on channel 11 or 144, you’ll likely have problems, even if you use a Wi-Fi extender.
Invest in a mesh system
Have high streaming or gaming demands and outgrown the router your ISP gave you for “free”? If all else fails, or you live in a larger apartment, you may need to explore a more expensive but still affordable option. Invest in good quality mesh router.
This option gives you range extender satellites that can help extend your signal beyond 100 feet. If you want to integrate your router with your computer smart homelook for ones that work specifically with your devices (Google, Alexa, HomeKit, etc.).
Worth considering when considering your purchase: If you envision your apartment as a temporary living arrangement, buy the system. Wi-Fi 6 and other forward thinking abilities. For example, you may want to prioritize the router’s ability to handle multi-gigabit speeds. Or make sure you can add more satellites to your system if the size of your home or the number of devices you have increases.
One last word
Maybe I should have started with this, but I’ll go ahead and finish with this. If you’re having problems with your Wi-Fi router in your apartment, and you’re experiencing much lower speeds than your ISP promises, I have to ask: Have you tried restarting it? I know. I don’t like hearing this question either. Makes me feel like an idiot. But sometimes it can be that simple. Just try restarting your router. But if that doesn’t work, now you have a roadmap of other options to try.
Get Stronger Wi-Fi in Your Apartment Frequently Asked Questions
Will my Wi-Fi speed always be bad because I live in an apartment?
Not necessarily. Of course, living in an apartment means you’ll have problems with your Wi-Fi connection. Namely, the proximity of other neighbors and the potential interference of all their devices and signals. But that doesn’t mean you have bad Wi-Fi. This means you may have to work a little to optimize your Wi-Fi experience.
Is there a way to upgrade my apartment’s Wi-Fi network?
Yes. Perhaps the fastest way to upgrade your Wi-Fi is to get a faster speed plan from your ISP. However, this may not be financially feasible for many. So the next best option is to try moving your router to a more central location in your apartment. This should provide better Wi-Fi to more areas of your location. But if this fails, you can try to buy a Wi-Fi extender to extend your Wi-Fi connection in the apartment.
Can I get free Wi-Fi in my apartment?
It depends. Although some apartment complexes advertise “free Wi-Fi,” this usually means that there is free Wi-Fi in common areas such as lobbies, gyms, and clubhouses. This usually does not apply to your apartment. However, if you qualify for the government’s Affordable Connection Program, which is designed to help low-income families get high-speed internet, you can actually get free internet, plus free Wi-Fi.