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I've BT Home Hub in the upper flat (2-3 walls behind) and I'm using WPS Wireless-N Wifi Range Router Repeater Extender in my flat where I'm using my laptop. These are antenna-less devices.

Are there any life-hack tricks to increase signal/range of my repeater without buying the new more powerful repeater?

I've tried already to move my repeater closer to the ceiling or putting the aluminium foil underneath, but it didn't help. Are there any methods, specific plates or materials which can boost the signal?

Specification:

Model: WN518W2
Frequency range:    2.4-2.4835GHz
Wireless transmit power:    14 ~17 dBm (Typical)
Wireless Signal Rates With Automatic Fallback:  11n: Up to 300Mbps(dynamic), 11g: Up to 54Mbps(dynamic), 11b: Up to 11Mbps(dynamic)
Modulation Technology:  DBPSK, DQPSK, CCK, OFDM, 16-QAM, 64-QAM
Receiver Sensitivity:   300M: -68dBm@10% PER / 150M: -68dBm@10% PER / 108M: -68dBm@10% PER / 54M: -68dBm@10% PER / 11M: -85dBm@8% PER / 6M: -88dBm@10% PER / 1M: -90dBm@8% PER
Product dimensions: 11 * 6 * 7cm
  • maybe try to move the access point to a different room? – Sverre Aug 21 '14 at 9:31
  • The studio flats are fixed, it's like from one studio flat to another. – kenorb Aug 21 '14 at 9:36
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Are there any methods, specific plates or materials which can boost the signal?

You're likely to succeed only to degrade the signal or its strength - fine-tuning radio transmission requires special equipment and intimate knowledge (as in schematics and calculations) of the actual gear used.

There is no "magic" tin-foil trick that can be used. If your device has a connector for an external antenna that is your only option - but may well turn out to be of little gain, depending on the antenna you choose.

The actual construction of the walls may be relevant; i.e. if there is a lot of iron bars inside concrete walls, or if there is sun-protection film on sheets of glass... - these would attenuate any radio signals.

Note: there are WiFi devices that operate at 5GHz - as these are quite new, you might get less disturbance (few neighbours have them) on such a device - the reach might not be as long though; higher base frequency also implies less reach.

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Few tips about improving WiFi reception of your repeater:

  • Put large furniture along the exterior walls of your home. Signals that don't have to travel through large, cumbersome furniture will make reception better.
  • Minimize mirrors. All metallic surfaces reflect WiFi signals, including the thin metal layer found in most mirrors.

    As electromagnetic waves, and in this case, wireless signals travel, they interact with objects and the media in which they travel. As they do this the radio signals can be reflected, refracted or diffracted. These interactions cause the radio signals to change direction, and to reach areas which would not be possible if the radio signals travelled in a direct line.

  • Place your repeater to maximize effectiveness. Where you place your repeater has a lot to do with how it performs. When placing a repeater, consider putting it:

    • Near the center of the house, on a top floor. Radio waves best travel down and laterally.
    • Off the floor, ideally on a wall mount or high shelf.
    • As far as possible from your neighbor's WiFi router (which, of course, you've made sure is using a different channel).
    • Away from cordless phones and microwaves, which operate on the same 2.4-Ghz frequency. (There are some cordless phones that are WiFi friendly).

    • Away from power cords, computer wires, microwaves, baby monitors, and halogen lamps. These wires and waves can interfere with radio reception.

      Experts recommend placing wireless network components far from other devices in the house that can cause interference, like cordless phones, microwave ovens, baby monitors or halogen lamps. Of course, people living in crowded urban areas face a greater risk of outside interference from neighbors' wireless networks and devices.

  • Place your repeater halfway between your access point and your computer for an instant boost.

  • Aluminium Can Signal Booster.

    • Using kitchen foil:

      1. Use aluminum foil. This will reflect the wireless signals from your router.
      2. Check your speed/Mbps and keep note of the number that is displayed (I.E. 72.2 Mbps).
      3. Tear off a sheet of foil that is around the size of normal printing/copying paper (8.5 x 11 in.).
      4. Curve the sheet of foil. If you want to make it easier/quicker, just wrap the sheet around the label area of a 2 liter soda bottle, and hold it there for about 5 seconds. Unwrap it and it should be curved.
      5. Place the curved sheet of foil on its side (where it's standing up horizontally) behind your repeater/router.
      6. Check the Mbps/speed. It should be faster than the original speed before you placed the foil behind your router.
    • Using beer can. Read more: How to boost your WiFi signal with a beer can (7 Photos)

    • And other. E.g. Boost Your Wireless Signal With a Parabolic Reflector, Ez-12 Parabolic Reflector Template (video).

Links:

  • Kitchen foil: That is likely to not be easy to actually get any gain from. You might just as well throw the tuning of the radio out of spec, causing it to fail and eventually break (due to reflected radio waves into the device). – Hannu Aug 21 '14 at 9:49
  • I think if you compare and test your speeds before placing the aluminium foil, it could make some difference. It's recommended on few sites, e.g. at Low Budget Solutions - Aluminium Can Signal Booster. – kenorb Aug 21 '14 at 9:53
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    From experience in the telecom industry (actually tuning radio in the 350 to 2100 MHz range ) I know that any metal objects withing close vicinity of the receiver/transmitter antenna is likely to cause trouble rather than help. If you get a 'boost' then you might cause other problems that may break the gear eventually. Also: Note: mbps is milli-bits-per-second if anything - change that to Mbps for Mega-bits-per-second. – Hannu Aug 21 '14 at 9:58
  • How can I attach a tin can to an antenna-less router? – Shimmy Nov 14 '16 at 1:09
  • @Shimmy I think they're using blue tacks. Otherwise follow the link for the instruction, or ask another question, e.g. at lifehacks. – kenorb Nov 14 '16 at 11:01

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