A wireless network lets you get online from your laptop, tablet or smartphone anywhere within your home, without connecting to a mass of cables.
You can use it to send photos from computer to computer, to send documents to a printer wirelessly, or to play games online on a smartphone.
But, on occasion, your home wi-fi signal may seem weak or you may struggle to pick it up in certain rooms.
Here are some tips for boosting your home wi-fi:
Step 1: The right router location
Thick walls are the enemy of wi-fi. They simply block the signal. Position your wi-fi router in a central location, so its signal has as few obstructions as possible. Ideally, it needs to have plenty of clear space around it.
Try putting it on a shelf at around waist height or on a desk. Avoid putting it on the floor or close to a TV, as metal objects scatter your signal.
Read more in our article: Improve your wi-fi signal: is your router in the right place?
Step 2: Change channel
As increasing numbers of people use wi-fi, your network can become more congested, this can lead to interference.
Changing the wi-fi channel of your router can help. BT’s routers such as the new BT Smart Hub (below) include Smart Wireless technology which automatically scans the channels, selecting the one with least interference, so you get the best signal.
The new BT Smart Hub, along with Home Hub 5 and Home Hub 4, are dual-band routers that scan the 2.5 Ghz and 5 Ghz bands.
BT doesn’t recommend you change the channel manually, but you can make the router perform a refresh, so it will re-scan and select the best channel. Discover how to do this for your BT Home Hub.
If you aren’t a BT customer and want to change the channel manually, check out the manufacturer’s website for instructions and advice.
Step 3: Upgrade your router
A faster form of wi-fi can offer significant improvements, but older hardware will hold it back. So consider buying a new router.
The BT Smart Hub has the UK’s most powerful wi-fi signal, which means the signal can go much further throughout your house, so you get faster speeds in rooms that are further away, and fewer dropped connections.
Seven antennas – more than any other router from a major broadband provider – give it a wider range, while the latest AC technology means you can use more than one device on a fast connection at the same time.
The first Smart Hubs will be available for existing BT customers, sign up at the pre-registration page here.
Step 4: Update your software
Manufacturers often introduce software updates for devices - including routers - to improve security and stability.
BT Home Hub owners receive updates automatically overnight over their broadband line.
If you are not a BT customer, find the router details on the unit or check the details of your broadband package if it came from your provider. The 'support' section of the manufacturer's website should include instructions. It can be quite technical, so may not be the right solution for everyone.
Step 5: Give your devices a break
Make sure you turn your smartphone or tablet off regularly. If they are connected all the time, the connection can become ‘tired.’ Turning off wi-fi or restarting can help.
Step 6: Watch what’s connected to your wi-fi
If you’ve got multiple devices connected to your router, you might notice your broadband slows down.
This is because they are sharing the same signal - the more devices connected and running, the more the speed is shared.
Step 7: Boost your wi-fi
If you’ve tried the above and your wireless network still doesn’t reach every room, consider a wi-fi range extender, also called a repeater.
The BT Dual-Band Wi-Fi Extender 610 (£29.99) boosts your wi-fi signal so it can be used in otherwise out-of-range places in your home.
Connecting to your router with just one button push, dual-band support means faster downloading and streaming because there are two wi-fi signals your devices can connect to.
If you are a not a BT customer you need to choose a wi-fi extender that supports the same standard as your wireless router. The BT Dual Band Wi-Fi Extender 610 supports B, G and N, which means it will work with the majority of non-BT routers. It is also compatible with all BT’s Home Hubs.
If you are looking for a more portable solution – such as for a laptop - opt for a wi-fi dongle. These plug into a USB port, adding wi-fi connectivity. Prices start from £29.99 at Connected Home.
Step 8: Using home hotspots to expand your wireless and wired network
Another way of extending your home internet connection is to use a powerline adaptor, such as the BT Home Hotspot Plus 600 Kit (£44.99), which can turn any power socket into a wi-fi hotspot.
Powerline technology uses the existing electrical circuit that runs around your home to extend your broadband network, bringing network access to any room with a plug.
This is a particularly good way to connect devices - such as a games console, HD TV or laptop - in rooms away from the router.
Kits are incredibly easy to use. They typically consist of two parts, one which connects to your router and you plug in nearby.
The other you plug into a socket in the room where you want wi-fi, where it creates its own wi-fi hotspot. It also includes two Ethernet ports, if you’d rather connect a device – such as a smart TV – using a cable.
It works with other BT Broadband Extender products and uses AV600 Powerline technology, which means it can be integrated into existing powerline networks, even if you aren't a BT customer.
The BT Home Hotspot Plus 600 Kit now costs £44.99 for BT customers - a fantastic 50% saving off the £89.99 retail price.
The BT Home Hotspot Plus 600 Kit and BT Dual-Band Wi-Fi Extender 610 are available here.