Why does my Wi-Fi signal keep dropping in my home?
Answer: If your laptop is having trouble maintaining a Wi-Fi connection in your home, it's often due to signal interference. The two most common causes of interference are physical barriers that block or degrade the signal, and interference from other wireless signals.
All physical barriers reduce the strength of a wireless signal, but they don't always have a noticeable impact. For example, a Wi-Fi signal can pass through a wooden door, glass window, or drywall with minimal impact. However, dense materials, such as concrete walls and floors, will significantly decrease the signal strength. Some materials, such as brick and steel, may block a wireless signal completely.
- Move the router to a more central location in your house, away from thick walls.
- Move your computer to a new location. Shifting your computer a few feet might avoid a "nodal point" where the Wi-Fi signal is especially weak.
- Use Wi-Fi repeaters or extenders to create a mesh network around your house. These are especially helpful in large houses with multiple floors.
Signal InterferenceMany wireless devices operate on the same 2.4 GHz band as wireless routers. Examples include wireless handsets for landline phones, baby monitors, and walkie-talkies. Nearby Wi-Fi networks can also impede your router's signal. If two nearby networks use the same channel, they will constantly compete for the same limited radio spectrum.
▶ While older Wi-Fi equipment exclusively uses the 2.4 GHz band, devices that use 802.11n and newer technology can use both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands. 5 GHz supports faster data transfer rates and uses a less-crowded frequency. However, the higher frequency is more affected by physical barriers and is best suited for shorter distances. The 2.4 GHz frequency band is often better for crowded areas and has longer range.
- Log in to your router and select a different wireless channel. You may also try "auto-select" if that option is available.
- Try switching from 2.4 GHz to 5 GHz or vice versa. In some cases, 5 GHz is best, while in others, 2.4 GHz will provide a more reliable connection.
- Use a wired connection (instead of Wi-Fi) if an Ethernet connection is available.
Important: Some routers offer "Smart Connect," a feature that selects the optimal frequency band for each device. It usually helps, but in some cases, the smart feature may alternate between frequencies, causing the signal to drop. If Smart Connect is enabled and your signal frequently cuts out, turning the feature off may provide a more reliable connection.