Boosting your WiFi Signal … Does Yelling Really Work?

Does Yelling Really Work?

Have you ever installed a wireless router at home or in your office and found that the performance isn’t what you hoped for? Poor signal strength and/or intermittent connectivity or no connectivity is usually the result. Your first action should be to reposition the router in an attempt to circumvent whatever might be blocking the signal. If repositioning doesn’t work you might think that a router with more power will do the trick. Several wireless router manufacturers have seized the opportunity to mislead with terms like “High Power”, “Extended Reach” and a number of other terms meant to entice you to believe that a simple swap of your present router with a higher power unit will solve your problems. My advice is to avoid the temptation to spend the extra cash these higher priced units will cost you. The fact is that higher power won’t solve your problem in most situations.

WiFi routers and devices are built around something called Positive Acknowledgment, which in simple terms means that when data is sent from one WiFi device to another the receiving side must acknowledgment that it received the data. If this acknowledgment doesn’t happen, the sending device retransmits the data. This repeats until the acknowledgment is sent by the receiving device. If the acknowledgment never happens a disconnect takes place.

Picture two people trying to talk to each other at a distance. Because of the distance they find it difficult to hear each other. If no action is taken to improve the conversation, communication cannot take place. So, one of the two decides to get a bull horn so they can be heard more easily. Did anything really improve? The answer is no because while the person with the bull horn can be better heard, the person listening is still using a normal voice to communicate the acknowledgement that they received the message. The person with the bull horn still cannot adequately hear the response so useful communication does not take place. This is what happens if you install a higher power WiFi router and nothing else changes. The router is just talking louder, but your laptop, phone, iPad or whatever doesn’t have the capability of talking louder, so even though you are seeing a stronger signal on your device (the router yelling), your device is unable to yell back because the power output can’t be increased.

There are a number of things that can be done to improve the situation which are beyond the scope of this article, but just keep in mind that if you yell at someone you may not get the result you were hoping for.