How to Boost a Linksys Wireless Router Signal

by Quinn Marshall

Some Linksys wireless routers aren't powerful enough to provide a Wi-Fi signal to all the nooks and crannies of a building, turning parts of the structure into a sort of Bermuda Triangle of Internet connectivity. Boosting the router's signal is an inexpensive way to rectify this issue, and is a suitable alternative to purchasing a new, more powerful router. Though the effectiveness of boosting a router's signal depends on the cause of the poor connectivity, all routers benefit from signal-boosting optimization.

Placement

1

Analyze your Linksys router's placement to determine if its location is dampening the signal. A Wi-Fi signal can pass through glass, but is weakened by walls, filing cabinets, other electronics equipment and floors. A router placed near a window provides weak connectivity since part of the signal is passing outside through the pane. Sandwiching a router between two walls or behind an entertainment system prevents the signal from achieving its advertised range.

2

Determine the most appropriate location in your home, apartment or office for the Linksys router. The central most location in your home or office that is open and relatively unfurnished is ideal, but not always possible. Position the router away from windows and thick walls, and move it to the floor where you're most likely to use Wi-Fi. For example: Don't place the router in the basement if the majority of your computer usage takes place upstairs.

3

Move the router. Purchase a roll of Ethernet cable if your current cable can't reach the router in its new location. Unplug the original cable from the modem and plug the longer cable in its place. Plug the other end into your Linksys wireless router.

Firmware

1

Upgrade your router to the latest Linksys firmware available for your model. Download the latest firmware from the Cisco website and save it to your computer. Plug an Ethernet cable from the back of your Linksys router into your computer. Run the upgraded firmware and wait for an installation confirmation. Unplug the router from your computer and plug it back into the modem if necessary.

2

Download an open-source firmware from a source other than Cisco. All of Cisco's Linksys firmware is open-source, which means other programmers can download and make changes to the original source code. Some open-source Linksys firmware have a signal boosting feature. DD-WRT, Tomato and Open WRT are three free open-source firmwares with support for select Linksys routers. Confirm that your Linksys router's model is supported by the firmware you choose before attempting to install.

3

Reinstall the firmware if your Linksys router doesn't work after upgrading. A failed firmware upgrade will render the router useless until the firmware is properly installed.

Antenna

1

Purchase a high-gain antenna designed for your router model. A high-gain antenna is a removable antenna that screws into your Linksys router and increases its signal strength. Some high-gain antennas are better quality than others; purchase one that achieves sufficient speeds and advertises a range that meets your needs.

2

Unscrew the current antenna from your Linksys router by turning it counterclockwise if the router doesn't have an extra port for a high-gain antenna. Insert the high-gain antenna into the port and turn it clockwise. Point the antenna away from nearby walls and windows.

3

Add a Wi-Fi antenna to your laptop or desktop if the machine has an antenna port. This secondary antenna allows your computer to pick up weak a Wi-Fi signal where it otherwise is unable to. Screw the antenna clockwise into the computer's antenna port.

Tip

  • check Consult your Linksys router's manual for information pertinent to your specific model.

Warning

  • close Increasing your router's signal may make the connection accessible by your neighbors. Password protecting the signal will prevent data theft and connection abuse by a third-party.

About the Author

Based in New England, Quinn Marshall began her writing career in 2004. She was a featured writer for Laptop Logic and contributes to publications such as "Smashing Magazine."

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera Thomas Northcut/Photodisc/Getty Images