Today, more devices use the internet for everything from work to play, entertainment to security, and more. However, the performance of our internet service is typically not something we worry about until there’s a problem. If your internet is slow or you can’t connect in certain areas of your home, the likely issue is with your Wi-Fi router.
Perhaps it’s not fast or powerful enough for the size of your home – or the number of devices drawing on its signal. Maybe it’s not well-placed in your home, which can create barriers to connectivity.
Whatever the case, there is a router solution for your home that will be unique to your particular space and the number of devices you and your family (and guests) may wish to connect to your Wi-Fi signal.
First, you want to look for a strong signal from your Wi-Fi router – which will indicate that your internet is fast. Most devices will indicate a level of connectivity by how many bars of the Wi-Fi symbol are bolded or lit up.
Check out our guide for finding the best Wi-Fi router setup for your home.Know the Number of Devices in Use Throughout the Home
It may be surprising how many devices in your home draw on your Wi-Fi. It may help to make a list or have a rough count of connected devices.
It’s important to be mindful of what may have worked in your home a few years ago may now be strained. With more new smart devices becoming available and affordable, boosting your Wi-Fi strength and coverage may be necessary to keep them all working as intended, according to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)i .
Remember to consider the devices that may need a signal outdoors, such as a security camera, speakers, or lights. If any of these devices are far away from your router, or if the signal must go through multiple walls, including concrete, you may need a more powerful router or what’s known as a range extender.Consider All Devices, All at Once
Your Wi-Fi router needs the capacity to accommodate many, if not all, devices in your home operating at the same time, which helps to ensure that family members and guests can use the internet without interruption – such as a freezing screen on a video-conference or interrupted movie viewing.The Size (and Shape) of Your Home
The structure and layout of your home matter when choosing a router. If the router signal needs to penetrate walls and floors to reach certain devices, and if you have a larger home, then you’ll need a more powerful router.
Range extenders are also available, which are add-on devices that help stretch your router’s signal farther from its source (and give it a boost). These relatively inexpensive devices can be useful on floors or in areas of your home that are not near the optimal placement of your main router.
To get the best possible strength, quality, and speed of a Wi-Fi signal from your main router, try to place it as near to the center of your home as possible. If you have three floors, for instance, placing the router on the second floor and nearest to the middle of the floor’s layout as possible – will likely be best.
Finding the optimal setup for your home may take some trial and error, especially to discover “Wi-Fi dead zones” – where the internet signal is weak or nonexistent. These areas are good candidates for range extenders.Routers for Homes with 1,500 Square Feet or Less
For most homes with less than 1,500 square feet, a single router with good placement and few obstructions will likely provide a strong signal for your devices to operate at adequate speeds.
A good candidate to consider is the Linksys® MR7350 Max-Stream Mesh Wi-Fi 6 Router*, which offers consistent coverage – with full-speed Wi-Fi coverage up to 1,700 square feet – while handling more than 20 devices at a time.
The router can provide speeds up to 1.8 Gbps, which would allow for concurrent streaming, gaming, and other needs.
The router can also provide two kinds of wireless signals at once: 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz. A lower-frequency signal (2.4 GHz) can be picked up by devices farther away from the router, while a higher-frequency signal (5 GHz) will not go as far but will be faster, according to the FCC. You will be able to choose which one best suit each device.
Another option is the Google Nest Wi-Fi Router*, which uses multiple “Points” around a home – instead of feeding on a central router – to provide a consistent signal. Each Point can cover 1,500 square feet, and up to three can be combined to provide a strong enough signal to triple the amount of space – which is ideal if you anticipate adding coverage areas in the future. Also, an added benefit of the Nest Wi-Fi Points is that they function as a smart speaker with Google Assistant.Routers for Homes with 1,500 to 2,500 Square Feet
Homes of up to 2,500 square feet may require a high-performance router and a range extender (or more) to reach all nooks and crannies (and any outdoor needs).
For your range extender needs, consider the Linksys® Dual-Band AX1800 Wi-Fi 6 Range Extender RE7350*, if you have a Linksys router. This device comes with technology that helps you locate the best spot for its placement in your home and automatically switches to the strongest Wi-Fi signal depending on where you are.
If you use a Google Nest Wi-Fi Router, then adding another Point to your system will help you tailor your coverage to your specific needs, similar to a range extender.
A single Google Nest Wi-Fi Router and Point* will provide a signal strong enough to deliver up to 3,800 square feet of total coverage to up to 200 devices. Plus, there is the added advantage of seamlessly integrating a Google Nest Wi-Fi Router with other Google smart products around your home.Routers for Homes with 2,500 to 4,000 Square Feet
To provide consistent, strong Wi-Fi coverage for a home larger than 2,500 square feet, a high-performance router with multiple extenders may be necessary.
Two options from Linksys should offer a solution.
The Linksys® MR9600 Dual-Band Mesh Wi-Fi 6 Router* offers 6 Gbps of speed and is four times faster than the previous generation (Wi-Fi 5) of routers.
For even more router power, consider the Linksys® Hydra Pro 6E Tri-Band Mesh Wi-Fi 6E Router MR7500*, which can support more than 50 devices at a time. This router provides connections that are needed for virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) devices, as well as streaming in HD and hosting videoconference calls.
Both routers are simple to set up and customize – including parental controls – with the Linksys app.Routers for Larger Homes with Multiple Stories or Brick Walls
A mesh Wi-Fi system ties together multiple signal sources to provide seamless, consistent coverage across a home. These systems are useful for large, multistory homes with brick or concrete walls (which can prove tricky for signals provided by a single router). Mesh systems can also tie together multiple buildings on a property, such as a garage or guest cottage.
That said, most average-sized homes and properties are unlikely to need the strength of signal and coverage offered by mesh systems. Still, many newer-generation routers offer mesh options, in case your needs change and you need to add additional Wi-Fi capabilities later.Conclusion
The ability to rely on a strong Wi-Fi signal, no matter where you are at home, helps us stay in touch, get work done, enjoy entertainment with family and stay safe. Ensuring Wi-Fi signals are steady and can support our increasing use of smart devices is a matter of choosing a router that’s the right fit and strength for your home’s size and composition.
Taking into consideration just a few factors about your home and Wi-Fi needs will help you find the right home network setup.