With the National Broadband Plan rolling out infrastructure for high-speed fibre internet across rural Ireland, the days of patchy signals and ‘spinny wheels of death’ are numbered! However, it’s important to note that even with the fastest internet connection, certain factors within the home can impact speeds. Here’s some top tips on how to maximise reach, no matter what kind of broadband you’ve got.

A Wi-Fi router’s appearance can be deceiving – it’s just a little box with a few lights and vents, a bit like a plug adaptor or an air freshener, right? We all assume it can live in some dusty corner without too much trouble for anyone but the occasional spider – but placement is key to freeing the Wi-Fi signals to bounce around our homes: these little boxes are like a bonsai tree in terms of the love and care they need. 

1 Keep Your Eyes on the Prize 

A good rule of thumb is to keep your router visible – don’t hide it behind a sofa or in a cupboard, as this dampens its effectiveness. 

2 Centre Yourself 

Remember that routers broadcast Wi-Fi in a circle, so sitting it on a windowsill or a wall can mean you’re beaming a good chunk of your Wi-Fi into nothing. Instead, place the router in the centre of your house. 

3 Ditch the Kitchen 

Because it tends to be the heart of a home, many of us keep our router in the kitchen – but proximity to large appliances, especially microwaves (which use the same 2.4 GHz channel as Wi-Fi routers), as their use of power can interfere with Wi-Fi and cause overheating. 

4 Pick Yourself Up 

Given some of the other pointers on this list, it’s probably no surprise that keeping your router on the floor is also a bad idea, as the floor absorbs the lion’s share of its signal. For better results try the top of a desk or sideboard. 

5 Go High 

In fact, placing your Wi-Fi hub on a high shelf can help it broadcast further, and over the top of obstacles. This is why you’ll often see Wi-Fi boosters placed on walls in public spaces like libraries or offices. 

6 Stick ‘Em Up 

If your router has the kind of antennas that stick up like bunny ears, point them vertically – this boosts their power to transmit Wi-Fi. 

7 Map Your Home 

Online tools can help you visualise the network coverage in your home – take a look at Ekahau’s Heatmapper or MetaGeek’s inSSIDer

8 Get Away from Glass 

Odd as it may sound, water can limit Wi-Fi signal – in fact, the water content in human bodies is the reason why Wi-Fi tends to be patchy in very busy places like airports. For that reason, steer clear of fish tanks or other vessels – and look out for mirrors, too – they reflect radio waves and can distort your signal. Same goes for any flat, shiny surface.  

9 If All Else Fails… 

Buy a mesh network or range extender; plug-in products that help boost your hub’s signal to other ‘Wi-Fi dead zones’ in your house. Range extenders pick up your router’s signal then send it on to your devices, while mesh networks use multiple ‘nodes’ to blanket your space with Wi-Fi.  Interested in getting superfast fibre but aren’t sure if your town or village is part of our deployment area, you can check out our handy interactive map! If you’re not eligible yet, don’t worry – you can enter your details here to be kept up to date on the rollout.