Wi-Fi Dead Zones: Avoiding, Finding, Fixing

Router technologies demystifed
Linksys MU-MIMO Router
Linksys MU-MIMO Router
Google Wifi

Put simply, a dead zone is an area in your home that should be covered by Wi-Fi, but isn't. Maybe your Netflix or Hulu cuts out when bringing your laptop to the bedroom, maybe your favorite bands go silent when busting out sweet dance moves in the shower (we won't tell). Dead zones are easily one of the most annoying Wi-Fi problems. Don't panic — there is hope. You can avoid, find and fix pesky dead zones with these simple steps.

Avoid

Sometimes, all it takes is some thoughtful planning to prevent dead zones. Older homes may have thicker plaster walls supported with metal that interfere with Wi-Fi signals. Other large metal objects (shelving, desks, etc.) interfere in the same way. Try and be conscious of potential obstructions when positioning the router. Reorganizing a few pieces of furniture may be all it takes to fix the problem.

Walls and furniture aside, if the Wi-Fi has trouble reaching one side of your home, try moving your router to a central location. Check out our tips for optimal router placement to ensure you're doing everything you can to avoid dead zones.

Find

Chances are you already know where your dead zones are — just follow the frustration. If you want to investigate further, take your phone or laptop to different rooms and try to stream something over Wi-Fi. If the living room is fine but the bedroom drops out, then voilà! You've found your dead zone.

For the more empirically inclined, try out the Wifi Analyzer app for Android to measure the signal strength as you walk from room to room.

Fix

The router is optimized and no obvious obstructions exist, yet the Wi-Fi still drops out. Here are a few options to put a final nail in the proverbial dead-zone coffin.

Powerline Adapter —This two-piece device plugs directly into your router and broadcasts your internet through the powerlines. Plug the second piece into a dead-zone outlet and hardwire in an Ethernet cord or consider adding a second router. We recommend the NETGEAR® 1200 Gigabit Ethernet Adapter.

Wireless Range Extender — Best used if the powerline adapter doesn't do the trick and you simply must use the internet in your dead zone. These work by relaying your Wi-Fi signal in or around hard-to-reach spots. You'll need an Ethernet cord for setup, but can then go wireless by plugging your Wi-Fi extender into a trouble-room outlet. We recommend the LINKSYS® Max-StreamTM AC1900 or the NETGEAR® AC1200 Dual-Band Extender.

Whole Home Wi-Fi Systems — If the above solutions don't seem to cut it, then it may be time to upgrade to a whole home Wi-Fi system. Whole home Wi-Fi systems are new devices that aim to keep things simple and provide greater Wi-Fi range across your entire home – from the attic to the basement. One device plugs into your modem while others plug into standard outlets. It's as simple as that. Depending on the home Wi-Fi system, you can even check the status of each device right on your smartphone.

By this point, dead zones will be a thing of the past and you can continue binge-watching or impromptu shower-dancing. If you've given it your all and still have a problem, contact your internet service provider for a direct consultation.

Best Buy 2016-09-12T09:30:50-05:00

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