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: 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.
Step 3: 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 4: 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 5: 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 6: Expand your wired and wireless broadband network
The BT Mini Hub (£69.99) is an incredibly useful gadget which can turn any power socket into an extra wi-fi hotspot and provide an Ethernet connection for wired devices.
It uses powerline adaptor, which 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 that stream HD - such as a games console, HD TV or laptop - in rooms away from the router.
The BT Mini Hub works straight out of the box, plug into a socket in the room where you want wi-fi, and it creates its own wi-fi hotspot. It includes two Ethernet ports, if you’d rather connect a device – such as a smart TV or games console – 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.
Step 7: Try Whole Home Wi-Fi
Whole Home Wi-Fi is a new system from BT that helps you get complete wi-fi coverage throughout your home – even in previous blackspots.
The kit includes three sleek repeater discs which you place throughout your home to create an intelligent network. Each includes four dual-band routers, so as you move through your house, the network automatically swaps your wireless connection over to the disc with the strongest signal. This is done so seamlessly that you can even stream video as you move through the house without losing your connection.
The system comes with a companion app to help you get started which offers advice on where to put each disc. Once up and running it tells you which devices are connected to each disc, and you can even use it pause the internet on certain devices, for instance if you want your children to concentrate on homework. Whole Home Wi-Fi is available now for £189.99 from the BT Shop.
*Compared to routers from other broadband providers in the UK