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How-tos

Where to put your router for better speeds

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Presented by ExpressVPN

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If you sink a ton of money into a high-performing router, you probably expect it to function perfectly. Though, just buying a good router isn’t enough. To maximize its efficiency, you need to put it in the perfect spot.

When it comes to routers, it’s all about location, location, location. You can buy an excellent gadget, but you need to put it in a place that lets it do its job correctly. By that, we mean you need to think about anything that could obstruct its travels.

Placing your router in the perfect spot can maximize the wireless connection throughout your home. Of course, it can be a bit tricky to suss out the best place if you don’t know much about how routers work. Luckily, we have all the answers ready in this easy guide to placing your router.

1. Pinpoint your central spot

No, this doesn’t mean you should plop your router in the center of your home. You don’t want it in your kitchen or bathroom, for instance. (And you absolutely don’t want it in your basement or attic.)

The ideal router placement depends on where you want to get Wi-Fi coverage. If you spend a lot of time in your home office, you should place your router closer to that room than the kitchen, for instance. Take a minute to think about all the rooms that use the most internet.

Compare how far away they are from one another and pick about the middle point between these spaces. Once you pinpoint this spot, you have a solid starting point. Of course, while you’re choosing this center, consider the many barriers your router has to deal with.

2. Remember how your router works

When trying to pinpoint that perfect spot, you need to think about all the interferences in your router’s way. For some background, your router creates a computer network that lets you connect several devices to the internet. Its main job is to manage the traffic between all the devices in a network.

If that sounds complicated, think of it as a digital mailman. It delivers packets of data from one network to another. It does this through radio waves that transmit the internet to different Wi-Fi devices throughout your house.

Walls, ceilings, furniture and other physical obstacles can weaken these signals. That’s why you should try to map the path of least resistance. Instead of putting your router in a cluttered room full of furniture, try to put it in an open space. Whatever you do, avoid metal, brick and concrete; they can block Wi-Fi signals.

3. Try to put your router as high up as possible

Then, place your router in or near the center of that critical area. Try to put your router somewhere near the center of the room you want to have the fastest Wi-Fi speeds. You should also mount it as high you possibly can.

It’s better to put your router up high because radio waves usually shoot the signal downward. Thus, raising your router helps it give the best signal. For example, if you plop your router on the floor, it is just shooting your Wi-Fi into your floor, and that’s as helpful as wearing a parka in the desert.

You can mount it on the wall or even place it high on a bookshelf. Also, if your router has antennas, make sure they aren’t all pointing in the same direction.

Remember that your router is shooting radio waves to all the devices in your house. Tilt them at different angles so they can reach all sorts of electronics. Of course, this isn’t an exact science; you don’t have to stop and think about exact placements. Just change the position so they aren’t all the same.

4. If you can, keep it away from other electronics

We’ve been harping about radio waves, and for good reason. Different devices shoot out unique waves that might interfere with one another.

Here’s a rule of thumb: Keep your router around three feet away from other devices. Avoid TV sets, baby monitors, car alarms, kitchen appliances, cordless phones and other Bluetooth-enabled devices.

You really need to keep your router far away from the microwave. It emits a powerful 2.4GHz signal — which may be the same as a wireless router. (For reference, routers use either 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz. Some use both.)

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